Werner Z. Hirsch and Luc E. Weber (eds)
American Council on Education/Oryx Press and International Association of Universities/Pergamon, 1999
In Western Europe and North America, higher education, while highly valued and acclaimed by all, faces great challenges at the millennium. Therefore, the academic community and its leaders must take stock of its present status, explore the challenges of the future, and evaluate promising initiatives to meet these challenges. Recognition of these needs was the motivating force for the colloquium that convened at Glion, Switzerland, in May 1998. Two fundamental views define the overall nature of the challenges. One view, held by David Saxon, president emeritus of the University of California, is that universities benefit greatly from stability and by and large can follow a deliberate evolutionary path in making adjustments in their academic enterprise.
Unlike industry, which made major changes in virtually all its activities and in many cases has even reinvented itself, universities are too precious an institution to take risks in possibly following the wrong beacon. A second view, which informed most of the discussion at the Glion Colloquium and is expressed in the papers of this volume, is much more activist. It considers higher education to be in need of taking major affirmative steps so that it can effectively pursue teaching and research and significantly contribute public service in a rapidly changing world.