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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2002

The Creation of the Future: The Role of the American University

Frank H.T. Rhodes. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2001; 265 pp; hardcover $29.95US.
Is the university a dinosaur: huge, lumbering, endearing in its own way, yet unsuited to today's world? Is it a thing of the past, unnecessary in an age of the Internet and online learning? In a book likely to provoke people who are loyal to the ideal of the university as well as those who foresee its demise, Frank H.T. Rhodes acknowledges the university is an imperfect institution but argues it plays an essential role in modern society. In the process, he articulates strong opinions on a range of difficult issues. The Creation of the Future is no defense or promotion of the status quo. Focusing on American research universities, Rhodes makes the case that they are an irreplaceable resource, whose value must be preserved through judicious renewal and reform, beginning with a rededication to teaching as a moral vocation. Rhodes discusses where the research university is today and how it got here, as well as where it must go in the future.

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