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Damn. Man. Man. Man. Man. Man for a hundred years Western societies of turn to universities for the teaching discovery and preservation of advanced knowledge from small beginnings in Bologna and Paris men of built giant educational complexes to serve not only students but governments industries and the general public as well. The huge American Multiversity these are the subject for this series. The programs were produced in the studios of WY L.L. the University of Illinois Broadcasting Service. Dennis Corrigan is your host for today's program about what's going on inside the multiverse city today.
In June of 1965 Nicholas von Hoffman wrote a long article about the University of Illinois students faculty and employees. Well the Chicago Daily News and later this article was expanded and published as a book under the title the multi-verse city. A few months ago we came across the book in the library. Perhaps it was the weather it was a warm fall day but we dropped what we were supposed to be doing and refreshed our memory of what one journalist had to say about those of us who work in our particular Multiversity what Bob Hoffman had to say started this thank you. The more we thought about it the more we thought you would be interested in what's happening inside these educational Giants you're paying for. Of course it's not an easy task to sit back and take an object a view of the institution your work for. All sorts of things get in the way of a coffeepot that won't work. But letter from a grateful listener. The unexplained hundred dollar deduction on your computer processed paycheck. The inspiring lecture you heard this morning from the general
reluctance of a lot of people in a large institution to say anything that anybody might by some remote chance object to. Well I think you see what I mean. It's a matter of not being able to see the institution or the incidents. But we thought the series would be worth the effort. So today hand for the next 10 weeks at this time we'll be talking about various aspects of Multiversity life. We'll be hearing from students professors alumni administrators firemen security officers educators and many other people who live and work inside our giant institutions of higher education. With. Are going. To get. Multiverse a days are not of course the only places where research is done and the arts explored or
students taught. But multiverse cities have the resources and facilities to take on a lion's share of these jobs. For instance nuclear research demands more funds in research facilities and most smaller schools can provide. At the University of Illinois. The Nuclear Research has a long history. The first beta Tron was built here. Today and not only does the University of Illinois have nuclear research projects but its health center is equipped to aid radioactive patients individuals who would not be welcome in regular hospital facilities. This is but one example of the problems in developing a research environment. Research does not involve only the actual experimental apparatus. It also involves personnel safety and access to information and other factors. Even in the fine and liberal arts Multiversity is can operate opportunities and accessible to small schools students in large schools can look forward to a larger library more visual and
physical resources better equipment more prominent instructors at the University of Illinois. Again the new credit Center for the Performing Arts will operate a nearly unparalleled opportunities for learning stage craft while at the same time attracting citizens and outstanding professional performers to the university. Indiana University has long been noted for its music school. It sizes allow them to set up outstanding programs especially in voice Indiana's frequent full scale opera productions attract many aspiring been who lives in secret. It's saying all this however does not give us a very clear picture of what a Multiversity is how it operates or even where it came from. Then what is a Multiversity. It is first of all an organization of individuals individuals engaged in the search for and the dissemination of knowledge and knowledge of all sorts of practical theoretical obscure
vital. It is there for a university to which because of its large size and scattered campuses we apply Clark Curry's term multi versity. Yer sure. Where did Multiversity come from. Like other universities Multiversity these can trace their development back at least eight hundred years to the first university. We asked Mr Henry Johnson assistant professor of education at Illinois State University. How did universities first come into existence. Well it depends on what you mean by university to some extent. It's been popular to trace their development to early Greek culture which is possible to do but not in the form that we know them today. In the case of. Institutionalized higher learning. I think you could say that.
The Academy you know I see and I was with Plato and Aristotle you get there. I kind of rudimentary university but it shouldn't be confused with what we call University today or even what they call the university the Middle Ages. Again the whole community of Alexandria was a scholarly community very early in the Western tradition but it didn't bear the organized marks or the curricular marks of what we call higher learning today. For that you have to go to the medieval university but even there the correspondence with our present university is very very slight and anything but name as Professor Johnson notes media able universities had little in common with modern Multiversity as some of the organizational characteristics are very similar. However such things as curriculum were vastly different. In medieval universities there were usually two major divisions of study. The student first spent four or five years studying the trivium. Grammar rhetoric
and logic or dialectic. If he passed the examinations for these studies. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree which brought him no outstanding distinction. To obtain a place in professional life. He had to go on and study the quadrivium arithmetic geometry astronomy and music. These subjects differed considerably from their modern counterparts. For example. Arithmetic involved the study of the theory of numbers and music was primarily a study of the properties of sound. Passage of the examinations for the quadrivium earned a master's degree. Further study was required for a doctorate degree. While we can discuss studies in individual schools we don't know which university was the first university or even when the first university was found it Messer Johnson explained. We don't really know even then when the medieval universities started that is in any
precise way we know that they may appear and that they have been there for a while in some form or another. And largely they are the result of opportunity in the first place. They come about because at the end of the Dark Ages there is a renewed interest in culture and particularly in renewed possibility of interest in culture I think. We often fall to so-called dark ages for the fact that they weren't very much alive culturally but I want has to understand the enormous social problems the absolute inability to cope with a culture when you're forced as people were forced in those days to defend themselves and to just simply to survive. You can't have a higher learning or a university until you have some freedom from this. And also there is a chorus of another event that's connected rather than that is the rise of the city. As And as a place which is capable of supporting a considerably varied population and which can supply its needs and so on and so forth.
Before this learning has to be done in existing communities such as monastic communities our cathedral communities in the sense that these are the important towns but they're not designed for the purpose of either maintaining or supporting a widely varying body of people engaged in intellectual activity. So we can see this suddenly arising largely in the certain main areas such as Paris or Milan you know which may be the fairest. And primarily you have each of the universities being born in it and the earliest age is probably a group of unusually talented teachers who begin to lecture publicly and it's as simple as that. They're they're known to have something to say on these matters and people are becoming interested in these matters so they go where they are to hear them. You can't do it by radio or by any graph bullet on her or anything like that you have to go there. So they attract an enormous international constituency.
If we know a little about when universities were first founded we know a lot more about why they were organized. Professor Johnson. But their function is the is the original thing and the organization comes later in a difference a good deal from one to the other. It is in full on you have for example the two fundamental groups which comprise the university at the beginning which is of course the students and the faculty. The fact we are originally not particularly organized but the students have to organize for self protection of course as is pointed out by most historians the students represent a foreign element in the town and in order to protect themselves and supply their wants they organize and the real love the real source of the of the university is in the organization of the students the faculty also organized and most of this was unparalleled to the guilds and the other clubs organizations social organizations which existed which allowed them some control
over who was and who was not to be a count of either a student or a faculty member. But they differ a good deal now and below and it grows from the grass roots. By eleven fifty eight students were an important enough group in Italy to receive a formal grant of rights and privileges from Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Though there was no mention of a particular town or university. However Banja had attracted hundreds of students not only from Italy but from Central and Western Europe as well. Once in the town individual students faced high prices for rooms food and other necessities. And so they formed a kind of guild or pressure group. They called it a universe a toss Souci a toss might be a storeroom distributer room qué. Or
society of all masters and students. Because this is science he had no buildings they were able to threaten to move. The citizens of bologna and thought it over and then back down. They felt it was better to rent their rooms and sell their goods at lower prices than not at all. And thus the student organization gained the power to fix prices for rooms and books to their representatives. Next the students turned their attention to their other enemies the professors. The students threatened to boycott the Masters. And since At first the Masters lived wholly from the fees paid by the students. This threat was very effective. Professors agreed to live up to a detailed set of regulations. For instance a professor was not allowed to skip a chapter in his commentary or postpone a difficult point to the end of the class period. And there were rules against spending a whole year on introduction and bibliography.
A lecturer would be fined if he failed to appear. And if fewer than five students showed up for a regular lecture the professor was fined as though he were after. Each school was organized differently. Professor Johnson discussed Paris and Oxford Paris was a cathedral city of great importance and had had a school in fact a number of schools in connection with it and therefore there was a kind of organized intellectual life there already I which began to dominate on a kind of college basis the development in England the English universities. We know less about how to than any of the others because both Oxford and Cambridge. We know of there being in existence at certain dates but there were age and it's still pretty well lost
to sight although more is being recovered of course but still there's nothing like a complete picture of how Oxford happened to be chosen is very unusual because of that which is the oldest of course the English universities but Oxford was not a cathedral city it was not a diocese. It was not an important city in any sense of the word it was a perhaps strategically located between certain geographical areas which in which to travel normally passed in its city. But other than that is re difficult to know why Oxford became such a place. Universities have changed tremendously since the middle ages. It is don't fall that alone as early professors would feel comfortable in our modern Multiversity as their uneasiness would not come so much from expanding knowledge. Modern buildings or electronic teaching aids rather they would find the
fundamental aims of education change significantly. Most modern universities spend little effort in trying to tell people who they are or why they're here. They spend a great deal of time on the things we can do now that we are here. Henry Johnson explained the change this way. The. Older education the older higher learning was centrally concerned with two things. First of all and always necessarily a kind of training that is technique. How to I handle the world in one society in the way it was being had at the time. Which would be roughly comparable to our vocational emphasis I mean. Purists such as I suppose myself would like to ignore the fact that the universe has always had this kind of pedestrian function but it has it's just changed a bit in the early
days. The important thing is to learn how to do literature and that was just as vocational it is to learn how to do business today. It just depends on what the society is doing as its chief. Kind of a sophisticated function. But the other thing that university did was to because the culture did it of course was to concentrate heavily on the interpretation of the world. That is what the world meant. What is the nature of reality. And to us but particularly where does man find his place in it. And I think and sometimes consciously sometimes unconsciously the student received from his higher education a fairly clear grasp of who he was and what he was and where it was going. Now our present culture is as a culture rather unconcerned with this as it may be. I'm fairly sensitive state about the results of this happening but as a culture I can't say it seems to me that we're terribly concerned about it. And correspondingly university is not either.
We are very much more concerned about how to get something done how to advance the projects that we are engaged in as a people and we expect universe to take a hand in this and to see that these things are done. And that's a fundamentally novel kind of function I think which has no no parallel in the ancient past at least so that we can't. We're going to have to develop a totally new approach to this and see what it means in the United States that change from a classical and literary education to a more practical and technical education game during the eighteen hundreds. Ordinary citizens but less and less faith in Latin and literature and managed an education in farming and industrial subjects bore a land grant act was a reply action of this concern. It passed the Congress and was sent to President Buchanan in 1861. The president refused to
sign the act however he believed it to be unconstitutional. The people then turned to the candidates for the presidency. Both Lincoln and Douglas promise to approve the bill. So on July 2nd 1862 President Lincoln signed the moral land grant act. Henry Johnson suggested several reasons for the importance of this legislation. I see the moral act as. As a part of a general cultural concern and in the mid-1980s there is the general desire to increase the higher learning which nobody who is responsible for the moral act is particularly interested in. I mean it's the federal government should support education this has been true for a long time of course it's not the first federal participation in education I mean the early. Northwest Territory ordnances and so on had provided this kind of thing. But the point is that the moral act schools of the land grant colleges were to were to take a
hand in areas of technology and agriculture because the society had all of their cultural of course but it was not going to be agricultural in the name of the new idea which was science. This is the new cultural ideal is the new intellectual ideal which is already as I say had been present in the United States for a number of years actually because William and Mary in the 18th century is dealing fairly strongly in science jail had already done a good deal of science Harvard was rather slow on this. But nonetheless what the society wanted now was the fruits of science to be available to everybody and to be applied to its tasks. And so it created I think a wholly new kind of institution whose concern would be with very directly with very specifically with in terms of the of the proposal itself with the jobs that the society is doing and it will bring to bear on them the enlightenment that science can provide in the area of technology engineering and so on in the area of agriculture. At the same time they're allowed to to
carry on the old tradition but the terms are ambiguous. This of course led to a good deal of hard feeling here at the University of Illinois for example which was a land grant college of course but. People are very suspicious of the fact that the Classics were still present here because the common man really felt that education was no longer relevant. A new kind was needed in this was an expression of that desire I think in the decades after the moral act. Higher education in the United States became more and more concerned with technology. The practical problems we face in coping with our environment and ourselves areas of inquiry that would have been scoffed out of universities in 1900 were sought in 1900 agriculture was but one of the new disciplines the innovators of the late 1800s would probably be shocked that some of today's university courses forestry television production only economics lore culture public speaking sociology just to name a few.
How does the Multiversity fit into our technically oriented educational system. And Ray Johnson suggests that multiverse cities are what they are because that's what society demands. It's seems to me that they simply remove the large so-called multi-unit Multiversity simply again reflects this essentially task oriented education. And it's multi now because the task itself is infinitely more complex than it was originally. You simply have to have a kind of physical institution which is just absolutely enormously increased in its size and complexity over what you had to have for meeting comparable cultural demands in the same period in the 19th century say. Now you've got to have machines. And the equivalent of large corporations and the tasks are as specific as this. They grow more
specific each day. And if the university continues to follow this orientation it eventually breaks itself into a number of highly discrete functions. And this is what has happened. Now what the effect of this is upon an educated function of course is an extremely difficult matter and one with which we have not taken full account I think yet because we don't really know what the consequences of this are. If we agree that our large Multiversity zer answering or at least doing their best to answer the technical needs of our nation we are still lapped with another important question Are Multiversity these turning out people who have in addition to their technical capacities they wisdom and background to constructively use the technology. Some experts suggest that we are not providing enough education in such things as history literature philosophy the arts that we should in short spend more time educating a human being. Henry Johnson is
concerned about this. The question it seems to me is this. Is the contemporary university as it is arrived now. The best place for the process of education perhaps it can be defended as the best place because it's alive and intellectually and so on. But if it is the best place how are we going to develop educative centers within it so that the educated function is not lost in the light of the others. I'm not saying that the others are bad because obviously they're good there and they're necessary. One couldn't turn them back if one wanted to. The point is that in the midst of this weather we will recover the fundamental concern for the educated prices which the earlier college and university possessed and of course this is essential because the culture can exist without it. As you cannot exist a culture cannot exist without a characteristic education which which creates its members which gives them the common values the common knowledge of which they must have in order to be a culture. And if the educational situation is so fractured and it is unified
and no longer presents that in any coherent way it's doubtful that you're going to get any kind of coherent man who is a man of the culture so to speak and we simply haven't tackled this in any kind of a realistic way. Dr. Norton long Professor of Politics at Brandeis University suggests that universities are overlooking their major responsibility during the symposium ban on the multitude held on the University of Illinois campus in 1967. Dr. long stated that universities should be concerned with producing adults. Sames to me that it's terribly important the universities of this country showed some deep concern. With producing adults. With producing south directing individuals who have reached the stage hopefully of intellectual takeoff and self sustained intellectual growth model. And you will never get it as long as we play Mickey Mouse games with the students. They
have got to be treated as adults come what may. And we have to persuade the lords and masters in the legislature and everywhere else to do we're going to have free citizens in the United States. They've got to learn to free up students and begin making them. Some fiber some intellectual courage and the capacity to have you exercise some discretion. One of the worst things that can happen to us. Is if we fail. There's not been as students a discriminating capacity to run their own lives. This is what it takes to have a free society that is free. As opposed to a public relation image ridden manipulated Madison Avenue substitute. And it seems to me it's high time that we in the universities had the courage. To practice what we preach and to stand up and be counted for.
Margaret little. Despite controversy about educational goals teaching methods costs operations and more people are asking that higher education become the birth right of every child. Our multiverse cities are working to answer this need. The result is today's giant educational complexes. Institutions that are almost impossible to describe in every day turn. They are too large and too varied to be easily stereotyped. Each has its own environment mood and quality. Yet all such institutions share certain characteristics. They are places where the noise of a cement mixer is as much a part of life as struggling with an empty ball point pen on jumping at an unexpected class about. Multiverse cities are skyscraper buildings and chicken coops sprawling laboratories a dusty library stacks fraternity houses and dormitories a plate of
cars a case of mousetraps but most of all multiverse of these are people bearded and bald fat and thin black and white. Old man young. They come from cities and farms ghettos in mansions. They come to a multi-verse city for a multitude of reasons and once there they all in varying degrees play a part in the growth of our technology and in the growth of our culture. The ever. Argue. During the past hour you have heard the first program in a series about what's going on inside the Multiversity today next week at this time. We'll discuss the physical needs of a Multiversity on its own city. Your host for today's program was Denis Corrigan.
The multiversity today
Where Did It Come From?
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University of Illinois
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series about today's large university and its complexities and problems as seen by students, faculty, alumni and employees. This prog.: Where Did It Come From? Highlighting the first universities and how they developed in the U.S., and their current goals
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Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Producing Organization: WILL Illinois Public Media
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-38-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:30:09
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Chicago: “The multiversity today; Where Did It Come From?,” 1968-09-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 17, 2022,
MLA: “The multiversity today; Where Did It Come From?.” 1968-09-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 17, 2022. <>.
APA: The multiversity today; Where Did It Come From?. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from