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Knowledge Matters: The Public Mission of the Research University (A Columbia / SSRC Book) Hardcover – February 21, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


An impressive array of international scholars who, individually and collectively, marshal a wide range of evidence around the very large puzzle of university transformation in the early twenty-first century. The transnational breadth of this project is its greatest intellectual strength.

(Mitchell L. Stevens, Stanford University)

An unusually broad analysis of the changing public mission and purpose of the contemporary university. Its comparison of the challenges, responsibilities, and opportunities characterizing public universities around the world is particularly valuable. This book serves as an important scholarly resource and as a thoughtful analysis of key higher education policy issues.

(James J. Duderstadt, University of Michigan)

Knowledge Matters problematizes the concept of the public good and the public university and analyzes multiple challenges faced by universities. Several timely issues, such as the commodification of knowledge, are addressed from different theoretical perspectives and with different research objectives. Many chapters situate ongoing debates regarding the public character of the research university within a framework that emphasizes globalization dynamics, such as the pressure to adapt to transnational university rankings and national quality assurance schemes. Taken as a whole, this book offers theoretically provocative essays and a wealth of empirical material. An engaged and engaging scholarly effort.

(Francisco O. Ramirez, Stanford University)

Contains up-to-the-minute facts and interpretations of the great transformation of public research universities in the era of neoliberalism. Did these institutions sacrifice their public purposes or did they change to serve public purposes more effectively and in new ways? Contributors provide well-informed analyses and fresh perspectives on this important question.

(Steven Brint, University of California, Riverside)

A substantial contribution to our understanding of university purposes across national contexts. The editors draw together some of the best original thinking among the field's most prominent thinkers, offering conceptual foundations certain to inspire much-needed dialogue and further research.

(Patricia J. Gumport, Stanford University)

About the Author

Diana Rhoten is the founder and director of the Knowledge Institutions program and the Digital Media and Learning project at the Social Science Research Council. She has published in a range of academic journals and advises cultural, scientific, and educational institutions on issues of organizational design, creative collaboration, and adaptive change.

Craig Calhoun is president of the Social Science Research Council and University Professor of the Social Sciences at New York University. He has served in a variety of academic leadership positions, including as a dean, and has conducted research in many international settings. His most recent book is an edited collection, Robert K. Merton: Sociology of Science and Sociology as Science.


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