Why Universities Matter

A conversation about values, means and directions

Edited by Tony Coady
AUD $27.95
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Availability: Out of print

An angry response to attacks on universities by governments and their lackeys within universities.

On 13 July 1998, the collection of essays which is the core of this book was endorsed for publication within the 'Ethics and Public Life' series by the publications committee of Melbourne University Press. On 27 July, the Board of the Press, chaired by the chief executive of the new Melbourne University Private, rejected this recommendation. Why? Why create a controversy which continues to this day?

The essays in Why Universities Matter are contributions to a conversation made necessary by the far-reaching changes to universities provoked by a decade and a half of federal government 'initiatives'. The voices raised in the book are disputatious, sceptical, passionate and analytical. The reader will find variety in approach, in intent and in the experience brought to bear in each essay. The contributors, drawn from the sciences, humanities and social sciences, are well-versed in issues of 'university management': most are professors, many have served as head of department, one has been a vice-chancellor.

Together, the essays do not present any 'line'. The meeting ground is a common concern about the ideals and values embodied in universities and the purposes universities have served, are now forced to serve, and should serve. In light of this concern, they cast a sharp eye upon the policies, values and rhetoric that drive developments in contemporary Australian universities.

Perhaps this is why the University of Melbourne, through the Board of its Press, chose to reject Why Universities Matter.

Author bio:

Professor Tony Coady's Centre for Philosophy and Public Issues at the University of Melbourne specialises in examining the role of ethics when applied to practical circumstances. He's the editor of the 'Ethics and Public Life' series. Contributors are Judith Brett, Morag Fraser, Raimond Gaita, Peter Karmel, Tony Klein, Bruce Langtry , Stuart Macintyre, Jane Marceau, Simon Marginson, Janet McCalman, Seumas Miller, and John Molony.

Category: Current Affairs & Politics
ISBN: 9781865080383
Table Of Contents: Contributors



1 Universities and the ideals of inquiry - Tony Coady

2 Truth and the university - Raimond Gaita

3 The university and its public - Stuart Macintyre + Simon Marginson

4 Australian universities today - John Molony

5 Ends and means in university policy decisions - Bruce Langtry


6 The value of fundamental inquiry: the view from physics - Tony Klein

7 Academic autonomy - Seumas Miller

8 Blurred visions - Janet McCalman

9 Competition and collegiality - Judith Brett


10 Funding universities - Peter Karmel

11 Research as a managed economy: the costs - Simon Marginson

12 Australian universities: a contestable future - Jane Marceau

Afterword: The body in question - Morag Fraser

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: February 2000
Page Extent: 272
Format: Book
Subject: Social issues & processes

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