This thread made me wonder what the purpose of higher education is. Is it to prepare to economic, social, and political leaders of tomorrow for their future or is to develop ideas and technologies that define our society?
To this pt. I had never questioned it was the latter, for example today I read a letter to the nytimes that read "Rats or Academics?
To the Editor:
Re "Why Industrious Rats Put Up With Lazy Ones” (April 11): Researchers have found "a caste of lazy-bones" or "infrequent workers," in a population of Damaraland mole rats. "These slothful mole rats can make up as much as 40 percent of a colony yet do only about 5 percent of the work."
I've wondered for 40 years why a normally aggressive capitalist society would put up with the work ethic of the American academic culture. This study sheds light on a heretofore baffling question.
"Most of the time the lazy animals did little besides eat," the article adds. I'll bet that further study will show that the moles have devised a system of federally financed grants to pay for the food.
Kirk S. Nevin
Corvallis, Ore. "
and was like this person doesn't understand the role professors play putting out ideas that shape our law, social institutions, popular culture, and on the science side make the theoritically breakthroughs that allow industry to develop those breakthroughs for profit. But that sounds very vague. I still believe all that, but after reading this post, maybe a large role of academia is to train students for their future, you'd never know by professor's attitude, they obviously want to focus on the ideas and such, but its clear from this history that schools started out to train students to be future leaders, and that was why the emphasis on manliness and WASP'ness. I think things have changed from the 1960's and before and now the emphasis actually is on ideas, but all universities still have to deal with both goals, and AA seems to be an effort at the latter, training tomorrows future leaders-while strict by the numbers only admission would focus the former (or do I mean the latter, I confused myself when referring to the former's and the latter's) getting together the smartest people to develop ideas.