From Multi-versity and Mega-versity, Back to Uni-versity: The impossible Dream of Changing “Incentive Structures” and “Business Model(s)”?


  • Harvey J. Graff



Abstract: Higher education dailies lead with “The Return of College as a Common Good,” never asking what or when it was or defining either “good” or “for whom.” Slogans, myths, and isolated anecdotes substitute inadequately for documented history and contextual understanding. Seldom acknowledged is 1) how long it has been going on—at least from the 1960s; and 2) universities’ own complicitness in this long, complicated, and contradictory process. Myths intertwine inseparably with slogans to echo yet another “lost cause.” Our collective, as well as individual pasts, provide essential lessons if we know how to read and learn from them. More complicated is imagining a plausible better future for universities. Prompted in part by retirement after almost 50 years as a professor, I strive to learn the best and the worst, and much in between--in other words, the lessons of the crucible in which our dissatisfaction forms.

Author Biography

Harvey J. Graff

Author and Affiliation
Dr. Harvey J. Graff
Professor Emeritus of English and History, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Literacy Studies, and Academy Professor
Ohio State University