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14 November 2018  


Press Release - The Kantian University: Worldwide triumph and growing insecurity

07.11.2018

The Kantian University:
Worldwide triumph and growing insecurity

7th November 2018,
College of Anaesthetists Lecture Theatre,
22 Merrion Square, Dublin 2

Speaking in Dublin on 7th November at a lecture hosted by the National University of Ireland (NUI), Professor Simon Marginson, Professor of International Higher Education at the University of Oxford claimed that today’s universities are dealing with insecurities that arise from a desire to be multiversities, delivering on an ever-expanding range of fronts for society. In his view there is a risk of inefficiency in this model, and a concern that the multiversity may lose command of its own destiny as it becomes accountable to a growing number and range of stakeholders.

Professor Marginson is world-renowned scholar of Higher Education, now based at the University of Oxford and he continues to direct the Centre for Global Higher Education at University College London.

Worldwide Triumph and Growing Insecurity Banner

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Professor Marginson delivered his lecture, entitled The Kantian University: Worldwide triumph and growing insecurity to an invited audience of leaders and staff of Ireland’s universities and colleges and policy-makers in the Irish education sector.

To understand the inner motors of universities – what holds them together – Marginson argued that one must go back to the work of German philosophers Kant and Von Humboldt in the eighteenth century and to Cardinal John Henry Newman’s 1852 Idea of a University, a century later.  Given the remarkable global spread of universities, Professor Marginson suggested that society must acknowledge them to be one of the most successful and enduring social forms created by humanity. In his view, Newman’s intellectual ideas – formed in Dublin- and Kant’s idea of enlightenment continue to be responsible for shaping universities today.

Describing how universities hang together, Professor Marginson said:

there are three elements which combine in powerful ways: the corporate university – part of local and national communities and often part of global networks; the self-forming student and the knowledge-bearing, knowledge-creating faculty….these three elements have proven to be universalisable – or nearly so – on a world scale so that there is often a remarkable extent of similarity between universities everywhere

Introducing Professor Marginson, Chancellor of the National University, Dr Maurice Manning said:

The National University of Ireland is honoured to have Professor Simon Marginson here in Dublin today, to discuss with us his research, and his views, on how the modern-day university has evolved, the role it is now playing in our society and where it may be headed next.
International scholars in the study of Higher Education are few and far between and Simon has been a leading light in this space for some years. We in Ireland hear much today about the challenges facing our universities and colleges as student numbers grow, research becomes ever more competitive on a word-scale and public monies ever more scarce. It is important therefore to take time to reflect on the bigger picture globally and from an historic perspective. Simon’s contribution supports us in doing that.


"there are three elements which combine in
powerful ways: the corporate university – part of
local and national communities and often part of
global networks; the self-forming student and the
knowledge-bearing, knowledge-creating faculty….
these three elements have proven to be universalisable – or nearly so – on a world scale so that there is often a remarkable extent of similarity between universities everywhere"


Professor Simon Marginson
University of Oxford

Professor Aidan Mulkeen, Registrar and Deputy President at Maynooth University, responded to Professor Marginson’s lecture, highlighting the phenomenal transformation of the Irish university sector, and the impact this has had on our economy, our society and our ways of thinking. 

Professor Mulkeen argued that while universities have been very successful, they can often be misunderstood. However, a university education has a profound and beneficial impact on the student, and this is consistently recognised by employers and by society in general.  As a result, the university as an institution is not under immediate threat.



Further information from:
The Registrar
National University of Ireland
49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.
E-mail registrar@nui.ie
T:    353 (0)1 4392424  
Twitter: @NUIMerrionSq
Facebook: National University of Ireland

 

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