Some very interesting questions are being raised by Ferdinand von Prondzynski in his University Blog about how we might define a 'university'. The questions he is posing are similar to the questions we posed in our Galway Symposium last June. Ferdinand was unable to make it to that event due to his back problems (which he subsequently blogged about), but we are looking forward to hearing him speak at our upcoming event on 12 June 2009.
At the heart of his questions are fundamental issues about the core values to which universities might make some claim. Other, more eloquent commentators than me have written long monographs on the importance of these core values. A few quotes stand out for me: if anyone knows the authors or has some pithy quotes of their own, please chip in:
'The idea of an idea of a university is important'
'A university is one of those precious things which can be destroyed'.