Universities: Renaissance or Decay?

“Europe’s universities, taken as a group, are failing to provide the intellectual and creative energy that is required to improve the continent’s poor economic performance.” This dramatic statement introduces a new pamphlet whose subtitle, “Renaissance or Decay,” I have borrowed for this reflection.

The pamphlet’s two authors, Richard Lambert, a former editor of the Financial Times and future Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, and Nick Butler, the Group Vice President for Strategy and Policy Development at British Petroleum do not represent vested academic interests. What they say about Europe probably applies to most other parts of the world as well, though not to the United States.

Lambert and Butler identify four main weaknesses of European universities that must be addressed. They call for:

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