Even in the darkest days of heathenish warrior society or compulsory and corporate ecclesiastical servitude, Medieval culture sustained much beauty and intellectual vigor, so much that a Renaissance seems to have been a necessary inevitability and even a kind of continuity. Whatever characterizes our condition today at UNI, the vibrant and varied works of this issue of UNIversitas give witness to much that is intelligent and good, like that of the best of Medieval times.
Those who do not know or value the academic life and its central role in an advanced, civilized society have been taking a keen interest in destroying American academe, for at least a couple of decades. Even the most limited, impoverished and baroquely reviewed, evaluated, and assessed of academic organizations seems too bright, expensive and free for these people, and certainly there is not enough in the way of inquisitorial punishment, to gratify them. In this context, we have extended and good faith explorations of what the faculty of an advanced academy can do, to counter draconian assaults on the society and to promote the values and humane benefits of the various ways of living intellectually and ethically. In one of our two fora, we have Eugene Rice explore his “third way” to conceptualize faculty excellence, a third way that can grow organically from two dominant twentieth-century models. Such a third way best suits a university like UNI, for several reasons, and the other participants of this Forum explore why and how, with good attention to some of the challenges of pursuing something like this third way at UNI. Most significantly, it seems, UNI would need to continue to have the collegial, positive and uplifting environment it has benefited from for decades, for anything like Rice’s third way to be able to lead UNI into productive and admirably distinctive accomplishments in the 21st century. Rice feels that we are well-situated, not least because of our good history.
Complementing the discussion of the organic development of the conception of faculty excellence, our Reviews and Responses section engages Anna Neumann’s smart and ethically alert proposals for benefitting from tenure in the next several decades, particularly at universities with any sort of research pretentions, aspirations, or missions. The respondents address matters of especial pertinence to UNI.
Concentrating on disciplines and humane intellectual activity, our other Forum and one of our contributions to the Essays, Studies, and Works section show the way to collaborative, cross-disciplinary work. Arts and sciences and drama and music complement one another in these contributions to UNIversitas, and they do so in lively, documentary as well as forward looking ways.
The other contributions to Essays, Studies, and Works engage in contemporary and global humanities endeavors, especially imaginative and creative, to bring readers and teachers experiences and possibilities that might otherwise be closed to them. “Post-négritude” French Congolese experience is a global phenomenon some at UNI may be innocent of, as are some of the possibilities of additive manufacturing in teaching the realization of rudimentary as well as advanced design concepts. In both of these accomplished works, the transmission of individual and imagined creativity and beauty, a general and foundational endeavor of the humanities, western as much as global, is of prime concern and achievement.
Finally, committed readers of UNIversitas will notice a new design format for the journal. The UNI Production House, under the leadership of Brandon Neil, and with the extensive work of the resourceful assistant editor of UNIversitas, Megan Gallagher, spearheaded, figuratively and not medievally, the redesign. There are many features that enhance the production, presentation, and reading of the journal in this new format. We hope this and the issue as a whole effects an edification.
Professor and Editor