Combinant la Universitat Utilitària amb la Universitat Utòpica

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El New York Times ha publicat un article de K.A. Appiah titulat What Is the Point of College? on s’hi fa una reflexió molt interessant sobre el que suposa per a un jove anar a la Universitat. També aporta alguna llum als beneficis de l’educació en un marc d’interacció amb professorat i amb altres estudiants, en un entorn de preparació professional i personal.

L’article parla de al menys dos tipus d’unviersitats: la utilitària, i la utòpica:

One vision focuses on how college can be useful — to its graduates, to employers and to a globally competitive America. When presidential candidates talk about making college more affordable, they often mention those benefits, and they measure them largely in dollars and cents. How is it helping postgraduate earnings, or increasing G.D.P.? As college grows more expensive, plenty of people want to know whether they’re getting a good return on their investment. They believe in Utility U.

Another vision of college centers on what John Stuart Mill called ‘‘experiments in living,’’ aimed at getting students ready for life as free men and women. (This was not an entirely new thought: the ‘‘liberal’’ in ‘‘liberal education’’ comes from the Latin liberalis, which means ‘‘befitting a free person.’’) Here, college is about building your soul as much as your skills. Students want to think critically about the values that guide them, and they will inevitably want to test out their ideas and ideals in the campus community. (Though more and more students are taking degrees online, most undergraduates will be on campus a lot of the time.) College, in this view, is where you hone the tools for the foundational American project, the pursuit of happiness. Welcome to Utopia U.

L’article esmenta com el número de professors estables a les universitats americanes ha baixat molt en els darrers anys, i com això afecta la missió de la Universitat. Entre d’altres idees que explora, m’agradat aquesta:

Like most of the students I’ve had since, they learned that what you can do and who you can be — the qualities of your skills and of your soul — are two separate questions that aren’t quite separable. And that college was a pretty good place to work out some answers to both.

És a dir, la barreja d’universitat utilitària i d’universitat utòpica: el que pot aprendre a fer, i el que pots aprendre a ser.

Un article per analitzar i discutir, segur.