A brief overview of the university, as it may be or has been in times past.
The university is an elite institution. It was created to serve as the centerpiece of the region’s public education system, following Thomas Jefferson’s vision for Virginia’s public school system. The university’s buildings must be distinguished architecturally. In the main building, a replica of Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Jefferson should be displayed. Also, a copy of the Nashville statue of Athena (the Goddess of Wisdom) should also grace the entrance hall.
Admission into the university depends on your achievement in the three subject areas you have chosen. People with criminal convictions may be expelled. University departments will annually create tests to assess applicants’ knowledge of the books, scientific and mathematical principles and history and techniques of music and arts. At the beginning of every school year, a booklet with these syllabi will be sent out to all parents and teachers in each region. Public libraries will be able to offer free copies of the syllabi, while efforts are made to make them available at a lower cost.
In general, “presentism” shall be avoided, in favor of books published at least 25 years earlier. Avoiding political bias is also a good idea. Multiple choice examinations are possible to facilitate administration. No preferences in grading shall be given on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, alumni ancestry, or athletic prowess; a 10 percent bonus may be given to applicants from the university’s catchment area. Interviews, high school grades and letters of recommendation will not be considered. However, the admissions team shall make every effort to reach mature applicants, such as military personnel, retired housewives and members of the public service.
In keeping with the university’s limited enrollment, tuition will be completely free. The university will encourage graduates to give a tithe, but they are not required. This applies to both income planning and estate planning. If the endowment is not sufficient to pay heating and cooling costs, or for naming rights, donations will not be accepted. Freely offered and subsidised opportunities for research assistants in library and health services, and other relevant vocational work will be available.
Residence halls will be one-sex and include basic libraries, refectories and computers. The expectation is that they will be occupied continuously during college, with students finding most of their buddies in the hall. This eliminates the need to have fraternities or sororities. No freshman dorms will be allowed. Students can eat their lunch and special evening meals outside of their residence hall, even if they are in residence halls that have been designated for the other sexe.
There will be special dormitories with limited capacity for students who are physically handicapped, students recovering from addiction, or mature women with children. Affinity houses will not be available for students of any race or ethnicity. However, those who are studying to become ministers may have access to specialized housing.
Each student shall receive a card containing the address and phone number of the officer who is handling sexual-assault cases at the closest police station. It shall not have any sexual-assault officer or victim advocate. The university’s medical services will be offered on the same terms as other hospitals or physicians’ offices. They shall not act as an adjunct to law enforcement.
The so-called Chicago Principles, derived from Kalven Report of University of Chicago, shall be given to applicants and students and to their parents. They also apply to visiting speakers, disruptions of class discussions, and to visitors. For any documented disruption, the usual penalty is immediate suspension of the remainder of the term. Events featuring speakers or other threats to disruption shall be recorded and filmed by the university.
Students found to be drunk or using drugs or who have revoked their university privileges shall immediately be suspended from the University for the remainder of the term.
Departments shall recruit Faculty based on demonstrated accomplishment. Faculty shall evaluate the classroom performance of junior faculty members, and not students. This is to ensure that students are able to focus on what they need, rather than what their peers like. It is important to not allow “bonus babies”, who are chosen solely on academic merit, into the classrooms of junior faculty. It is possible to lateral enter senior positions, and recruit individuals performing significant work at smaller universities.
A limited number of appointments, perhaps 15 percent, can be extended to persons not having academic doctorates who have distinguished themselves in business or the professions. Academic doctorates must be presented by persons who are proficient in at least one language. Although mandatory retirement is illegal, it should be possible to fill faculty vacancies through the appointment of senior administrative members such as admissions officers and bursars. This will also help to prevent the appointment professional college administrators. Forsworn statements should not be made about political bias.
All students should have a curriculum similar to the one at Columbia University and University of Chicago that is based on intellectual history. A minimum of one week should be spent instructing students in studying skills. This includes the importance and benefits of working with others. Independent learning should not be overlooked. Comprehensive or final examinations that are set by outside examiners and graded accordingly, may also be important.
Each student should study one foreign language during his studies. Credits should not be granted for courses in foreign languages unless they are completed. Students should be required to write at least one term paper in courses outside of science. As an incentive to conciseness, style and incisiveness, students should submit their initial draft together with a reduced copy that omits none of the ideas.
The placement of graduates shouldn’t be dependent upon a placement office scheduling interviews with employers who request it. It should be done by all faculty members, even those from outside academia. Every student should have the opportunity to choose a faculty member as a placement adviser.
Get weekly emails in your inbox
The university should resist any regulatory requirements that are not relevant to safety of the public, such as those in science and technology. A plaque should be erected at its driveway entrance displaying the four essential freedoms of the university as set out at the entrance of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa to protest the apartheid regime, and as replicated in Justice Frankfurter’s concurring opinion in Sweezy v. New Hampshire.
Government questions should be answered with detailed computer printsouts. Obligating government agents or private accrediting agencies should not be accepted, publicly opposed or challenged.
Lest the above description seem unrealistic or utopian it represents the situation of leading British universities before the reckless expansion of British higher-education during the Thatcher government and Major governments.