The origins of higher education

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College may look and feel similar to high school, and, for the most part, you already know how to perform your student role within this setting. However, there are some fundamental differences. The most obvious ones, you can check over here, are that high school is mandatory (to a certain point), freely available, and a legal right. They have to offer you the opportunity, regardless of your grades. College is optional, costly, and performance-based. Most institutions will dismiss you if your grades don’t meet a certain minimum. But college is different in more subtle ways as well, and those differences reflect the evolution of the university.

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In their original ancient and medieval forms, universities were centers for scholarship, existing at the pleasure of the crown, church, or state. While centers of study go at least back to ancient Mesopotamia 2500 years BCE, the Islamic and European universities of the first and second millennium CE are usually considered the first of the modern model. Highly privileged people went to these universities as students, but they didn’t really attend classes. If you don’t want to be as interactive, but you want to make good money, you’re better off seeking training in a skilled building trade like plumbing or electrical work. Frankly, a lot of plumbers make more money than a lot of your professors!

 

Hart Research Associates, It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success. write papers, and take exams like college students today. Instead, they acted as independent, though novice, scholars: they read everything they could find in their areas of interest, attended lectures that expert scholars gave, and, if they were lucky (and perhaps charming), got some feedback from those scholars on their own work or assisted scholars in theirs. Students were simply the most junior of scholars at a university, enjoying the extraordinary privilege of interacting with the revered academic superstars of their day.

 

 

Obviously, colleges and universities today are much more student-centered and most higher education faculties spend most of their time carefully crafting educational experiences for students. But the notion of the university as a center for scholarship and exchange still shapes how colleges and universities operate today.

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