History of European research universities


History of European research universities

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By the 18th century, universities published their own research journals, and by the 19th century, the German and the French university models had arisen. The German, or Humboldtian model, was conceived by Wilhelm von Humboldt and based on Friedrich Schleiermacher’s liberal ideas pertaining to the importance of freedom, seminars, and laboratories in universities. The French university model involved strict discipline and control over every aspect of the university.

Universities concentrated on science in the 19th and 20th centuries, and they started to become accessible to the masses after 1914. Until the 19th century, religion played a significant role in university curricula; however, the role of religion in research universities decreased in the 19th century, and by the end of the 19th century, the German university model had spread around the world. The British also established universities worldwide, and higher education became available to the masses not only in Europe. In a general sense, the basic structure and aims of universities have remained constant over the years.

The first European universities

The first European university is often considered to be the University of Bologna, founded in 1088, although some dispute this statement based on the intangibility of the definition of “university.” In addition, the concept of the University of Bologna as the “mother of European Universities” was created as a symbol for Italy’s national unity, which detracts from the legitimacy of its being considered the first. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. I, p. 5] If the term "university" requires that a single corporate body be made up of students and professors of different disciplines, rather than that a corporate body simply exists, the University of Paris, founded in 1208, can be considered the first university [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. I, p. 6] ; however, the University at Magnaura Palace was founded much earlier, in the 9th century. The University of Magnaura can be defined as a university because it brought prominent scholars together to create a “focal point of medieval Greek science and culture”. [Ostrogorsky, "The Byzantine Background of the Moravian Mission," p. 15] The first universities in Europe were influenced in many ways by the Madrasah institutions in Islamic Spain, the Emirate of Sicily, and the Crusader states.citation|last=Makdisi|first=George|title=Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West|journal=Journal of the American Oriental Society|volume=109|issue=2|date=April-June 1989|pages=175-182 [175-77] ]

Traditional medieval universities are thought to have arisen from schools in churches, which began to require more structure as a result of their increasing popularity. This need, along with the advancing complexity of society, which required specialized training for administrators, lawyers, doctors, notaries, and ecclesiastics, and the rediscovery of ancient knowledge, such as new translations of Aristotle and Roman law, led to the development of student guilds, or universitates, and eventually the definitive university. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 15-16] Early universities, according to Professor of sociology and general editor of "A History of the University in Europe" Walter Rüegg, were meant to allow people to develop “knowledge for the sake of knowledge;” however, around the 16th century, knowledge was seen to be valuable as a part of the civil community. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. II", p.30] Universities at this time aimed to train clergymen, lawyers, government officials, and doctors. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 40] At the same time, according to Rüegg, people studied in order to further scientific investigation and attend to the demands of society. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. II, p. 7] Science during the 16th century was an essential part of university curriculum, incorporating “openness to novelty” and the search for the means to control nature into the course of study. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. II, p. 15]

The structure and spread of early European universities

The European University proliferated in part because groups decided to secede from the original universities to promote their own ideals; the University of Paris fostered many universities in Northern Europe, while the University of Bologna fostered many in the South. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 27] Some leaders also created universities in order to use them to increase their political power and popularity. For example, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor founded the University of Naples in 1224 to train lawyers and administrators who could rival the University of Bologna's influence, which served the hostile Lombard League. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 27-28]

The structure of these early classes involved a master reading from texts and commenting on the readings, as well as students learning by teaching other students. Masters also offered disputed questions to their classes for discussion. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 33] Moving into the 18th century, professors became less focused on simply training university teachers and more focused on “forming the minds of the elite” of a larger society. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. II", p.8]

Philosophical and external influences on universities

While humanistic ideas of the 14th-16th century Renaissance were slow to catch on, they eventually spread from France, to Germany, to England during the 16th century Reformation. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 50-52] Under the influence of the increasingly popular humanist mode of thought, university education began to include the preparation of students for lives of civility, civilization, and culture, along with a response to social concerns. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. II", p.24] Important to the medieval university curriculum were the trivium and quadrivium, two classifications of the liberal arts intended to prepare students for further learning, usually in the areas of theology, law, or medicine. Trivium included the three verbal disciplines: grammar, rhetoric, and logic, while Quadrivium included the four mathematical disciplines: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. [Leff, "The Trivium and the Three Philosophies," "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. I," p.308] The discovery of the New World in 1492 prompted additions to the European University curriculum, as subjects such as human rights and international law became relevant to current times (Rüegg v.2, 22). Newly conquered Spanish territories raised questions about aboriginals’ rights, and discussion stemmed from the Bible, medieval natural law theories, and humanistic ideas of toleration. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. II", p.22] Rüegg links the idea of the ‘New’ World to the idea of ‘new’ knowledge as opposed to the old works of the ancients. In the mid-16th century, scholarly and scientific journals became a popular way to “spread innovations among the learned,” and by the 18th century, universities were publishing their own research journals. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. II", p.16-17] Enlightenment in the 18th century also encouraged the transition from the “preservation and transmission of accepted knowledge” to the “discovery and advancement of new knowledge,” although newer universities more quickly adapted ideas of Enlightenment and Absolutism than older ones. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p.99;82]

European university models in the 19th and 20th centuries

Moving into the 19th century, the objective of universities evolved from teaching the “regurgitation of knowledge” to “encourag [ing] productive thinking.” [Röhrs, "The Classical Idea of the University," "Tradition and Reform of the University under an International Perspective" p.20] Two main university models, the German and the French, arose and gave rise to other models such as the British and Russian. The German model, conceived by Wilhelm von Humboldt, was also known as the Humboldtian model. In 1810, Humboldt convinced the King of Prussia to build a university in Berlin based on Friedrich Schleiermacher’s liberal ideas; the goal was to demonstrate the process of the discovery of knowledge and to teach students to “take account of fundamental laws of science in all their thinking, ” thus, seminars and laboratories started to evolve. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.5-6] Humboldt envisioned the university education as a student-centered activity of research:

"Just as primary instruction makes the teacher possible, so he renders himself dispensable through schooling at the secondary level. The university teacher is thus no longer a teacher and the student is no longer a pupil. Instead the student conducts research on his own behalf and the professor supervises his research and supports him in it." [Quoted in Christopher Clark, "Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947", p. 333]

Freedom was an important concept in the German university model, and the system of professors was based on competition and freedom: although professors served as state functionaries, they had the freedom to choose between several states, and their identity and prestige arose from the specialization of scientific disciplines. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.5-8]

The French University model lacked the freedom of the German model, consisting of severe discipline and control over the curriculum, awarding of degrees, conformity of views, and personal habits (for example, there was a ban on beards in 1852). [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.4-5] French university professors trained at the École Normale Supérieure, and much of their prestige depended on their schools’ reputations. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.9] By 1866, though, the German model had begun to influence the strict French model. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.5]

The German university model was also used in Russian universities, which hired lecturers trained in Germany and which dedicated themselves to science. At the same time, Russian universities were meant to train the bureaucracy in the same way as the French grandes écoles. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Russian universities underwent much variation in their degrees of strictness and control. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.10]

British universities also modeled themselves after the German university. They enjoyed a great deal of freedom because the state granted them an autonomy that allowed them initiative and flexibility. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge emphasized the importance of research, arguably more authentically implementing Humboldt’s idea of a university than even German universities, which were subject to state authority. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.12]

Overall, science became the focus of universities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Students could conduct research in seminars or laboratories and began to produce doctoral theses with more scientific content. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.13] According to Humboldt, the mission of the University of Berlin was to pursue scientific knowledge. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.16] The German university system fostered professional, bureaucratically regulated scientific research performed in well-equipped laboratories, instead of the kind of research done by private and individual scholars in Great Britain and France. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.17-18] In fact, Rüegg asserts that the German system is responsible for the development of the modern research university because it focused on the idea of “freedom of scientific research, teaching and study.” [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.31]

Professors and Students

University professors, according to Schleiermacher in 1956, had to “reproduce [their] own realization [s] ” so that students could observe the “act of creation” of knowledge. [Röhrs, "The Classical Idea of the University," "Tradition and Reform of the University under an International Perspective" p.20] He asserted that professors served as models of how to “intelligently produce knowledge.” [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.21] Appointment to professorship was awarded to distinguished scholars who were only relieved of their positions if guilty of serious crimes. [McCain, "Professors and Students in European Universities," p.204] From Kansas State University president emeritus James McCain’s point of view, professors in 20th century Europe were more prestigious and well respected than those in the United States. [McCain, "Professors and Students in European Universities," p.200] They had a great deal of freedom while keeping to formal relationships with their students. [McCain, "Professors and Students in European Universities," p.204-206] In addition, professors shifted from being mainly lecturers, and research became "an integral part of the professor's task. [Bockstaele, "The mathematical and the exact sciences," "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III," p.512]

The accessibility of higher education slowly began to expand to the masses after 1914. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 117] A remaining obstacle to students was the high cost of a university education. Great Britain continued to offer only a costly education to aristocrats for most of the 19th century, and it was not until the early 20th century that new universities such as the University of London opened higher education to the masses. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 118-119] Universities first accepted women after the middle of the 19th century; however, women faced considerate difficulties. Lacking basic civil rights and facing strong prejudices against their capacity and right to be a part of the higher education system, women only slowly became a part of the university system. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 121-124] The influx of non-elite, non-aristocratic students into European universities presented challenges to the German model, because suddenly there existed a variety of students from different backgrounds and with different expectations, resulting in a less concretely Humboldtian university. [Charle, "Patterns," "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III," p.59] European university students in the 19th and 20th centuries were largely responsible for their own educations (McCain, 206). Professors did not take attendance, the only exams occurred at the end of courses, and students chose their own courses of study. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.22] Rüegg suggests that students’ propensity to develop student movements based on current political situations echoed their attitude of freedom and responsibility. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.24]

With new educational and political philosophies came changes in the role of religion in European universities. During the 18th century, most universities had a strong connection to the church, and both the appointment of teachers and the admission of students took into account the religious orientations of students. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.6] In the 19th century, religion ceased to be part of the “compulsory curriculum.” New universities like the University of London were non-denominational, and chapel attendance decreased at Oxford and Cambridge [Rothblatt, "The Writing of University History at the End of Another Century," p.158] In France, specifically, Napoleon’s secular Université de France troubled Catholics. The"Loi Falloux" of 1850 attempted to give some power back to the church, but the Université de France essentially controlled higher education. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 113] At the same time, in Great Britain, the Oxford Act of 1854 passed, getting rid of religious requirements at Oxford and Cambridge, and from that time on, the role of religion in universities declined. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 114]

The legacy of European universities

European research universities ultimately developed lasting traditions of university education that spread around the world. By the end of the 19th century, the German university model had spread throughout Europe, to the United States, and to Japan. [Rüegg, "Themes", "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III", p.6] In America, the Spanish, and then the English and French, founded universities in lands that they conquered in the early 16th century. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 135] These universities aimed to fulfill the needs of colonists, spread religion, provide professional training to colonists, and help overseas rulers with effective administration. By the 19th century, the British had established institutes of higher learning in Canada, Australia, and the Cape Colony, all of which were modeled after European universities. Japan, the Near East, and Africa all had universities based on European models in the 19th century. These universities disseminated Western European science and technology and trained natives to develop resources. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p.136] . Entering into the 20th century, higher education became available to the masses of the world as a result of urbanization and industrialization. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 136-137] Some of these universities promoted the aims of rulers, while others had a revolutionary impact on the power structure of the countries in which they were located. [Rudy, "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914", p. 138] Generally speaking, the most basic structure and aims of research universities have remained constant over the years; according to author Clark Kerr, universities “are among the least changed of institutions.” [Trow, "The University at the End of the Twentieth Century," "Tradition and Reform of the University under an International Perspective" p.323]

ee also

*History of education
*History of Europe
*University

Notes

References

*Bockstaele, Paul. “The mathematical and the exact sciences.” "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III: Universities In the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries". Ed. Walter Rüegg. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 493-518.

*Charle, Christophe. “Patterns.” "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III: Universities In the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries". Ed. Walter Rüegg. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 35-80.

*Leff, Gordon. “The Trivium and the Three Philosophies.” "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. I: Universities in the Middle Ages". Ed. Hilde de Ridder-Symoens. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 307-336.

*McCain, James. “Professors and Students in European Universities: Observations of an American College President.” "The Journal of Higher Education", Vol. 31, No.4. (Apr. 1960), pp. 200-207.

*Ostrogorsky, George. “The Byzantine Background of the Moravian Mission.” "Dumbarton Oaks Papers", Vol. 19. (1965), pp. 1-18.

*Röhrs, Hermann. “The Classical idea of the University- Its Origin and Significance as Conceived by Humboldt.” "Tradition and Reform of the University under an International Perspective". Ed. Hermann Röhrs. New York: Berlag Peter Lang, 1987. 13-27.

*Rothblatt, Sheldon. “The Writing of University History at the End of Another Century.” "Oxford Review of Education", Vol. 23, No.2, “Writing University History.” (Jun. 1997), pp. 151-167.

*Rudy, Willis. "The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914". Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1984.

*Rüegg, Walter. “Themes.” "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. I: Universities in the Middle Ages". Ed. Hilde de Ridder-Symoens. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 3-34.

*Rüegg, Walter. “Themes.” "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. II: Universities in Early Modern Europe". Ed. Hilde de Ridder-Symoens. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 3-42.

*Rüegg, Walter. “Themes.” "A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III: Universities In the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries". Ed. Walter Rüegg. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 3-31.

*Trow, Martin. “The University at the End of the Twentieth Century and Trends Toward Continued Development.” "Tradition and Reform of the University under an International Perspective". Ed. Hermann Röhrs. New York: Berlag Peter Lang, 1987. 323-337.

External links

* [http://www.eua.be European University Association]
* [http://www.ox.ac.uk/aboutoxford/history.shtml History of Oxford University]
* [http://www.cam.ac.uk/cambuniv/pubs/history/index.html History of Cambridge University]
* [http://www.eng.unibo.it/PortaleEn/University/Our+History/default.htm History of the University of Bologna]


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