Universities for the 21st century: new challenges for a changing world
Many themes have been touched upon in this section ‘Editor’s Note’ over the five volumes. In reviewing previous ‘Notes’ it is clear that most themes have implications, if not directly, certainly indirectly, to the role of universities in contemporary society. Thus the theme chosen for this issue of the Rangsit Journal of Arts and Science is universities. Are universities meeting the present needs of their societies? Does the mission of universities need an overhaul? Specifically, why international analysts appear to be urging a serious re-examination of their mission. But, first, a closer look at the meaning of ‘defining institutional mission’. According to Philip Seznick, sociologist, and author of a seminal work on leadership commented:
“In defining the mission of an organization, leaders must take account of (1) the internal state of the polity: the internal strivings, inhibitions, and competences that exist within the organization; and (2) the external expectations that determine what must be sought or achieved if the institution is to survive” (1957, pp. 67, 68).
What Selznick is pointing out is that any attempt to redefine an institution’s mission needs to take into account the tension that he believes always exists between the actual capabilities of institutions, such as universities, and the needs of the societies which support them.
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