Palinurus Rationale

This pilot site was built by higher-education humanities scholars who have awakened to the combined practical and intellectual challenge to higher education posed by business in the era of "knowledge work," "learning organizations," and "information society."  
Pedagogue -- from Greek, paidagogos, slave who escorted children to school
Since the 1970's, business has moved toward a "postindustrial" model whose principles of decentralization, flexibility, lifelong-learning, just-in-time, diversity management, and so on realize on the bottom line what humanists have in the same time period speculated upon in their idiom of "postmodernism," "episteme," "interdisciplinary studies," "multiculturalism," etc. Conceptually, "knowledge work" in business and "knowledge" in academia are now in some (if not all) respects parallel.
Meanwhile, a combination of demographic and economic factors has ensured that business knowledge work and academic knowledge are not just parallel. Increasingly they merge. Whether told by a university administrator, a state legislature, or, at a further remove, the "general public," the message to the academy has been: downsize and restructure, or else. Considerations of "cost" and "productivity" have never pressed more closely upon academics than now, when such considerations are escorted by the philosophy that business is itself all about knowledge.  
Cybernetics -- Greek, kybernetes, pilot, governor (from kybernan, to steer, govern)
Meanwhile, too, information technology in both the business world and the academy has created a shared medium that makes inevitable the evaluation of education by the standards of business. Granted that it took an unexpectedly long time for business investment in IT to boost productivity (one of the puzzles about IT in the past two decades), but now it seems the "new economy" has arrived. Why should not the academy follow exactly the same model of IT-enabled restructuring?
Palinurus--through its bibliography of Suggested Readings, its Featured Controversies, and its intended future linking of resources and courses from around the world relevant to the role of higher education in contemporary society--is a place to reflect on these issues. The site provides an interface through which educators can learn about the new world of business, and business reciprocally about contemporary higher education. Historical resources flank the "new" for both business and academia in order to provide some perspective on the current rush to "obsolete" or "throwaway" the past in favor of "workplace 2000." Palinurus will also include resources with a distinctly critical "edge." Whether polemical or philosophical in tone and whether from one or the other side of the academe/business divide, such resources show how passionately people ruled by "information economy" care about what it means to "know" and "learn." Reflect -- from Latin, reflectere, to bend back; archaic: to turn into or away from a course

Critic -- Latin, criticus, from Greek, kritikos, from kritikos, able to discern or judge
 ? Palinurus is under construction. At present it consists primarily of the Featured Controversies section, a hypertext analytical bibliography of Suggested Readings, and the bibliography's accompanying Discussion Topics and Gallery of Quotes. Other content is planned for the future. There are several automated ways for visitors to add to the site. E-mail is also welcome.
For the origin of Palinurus from the heated discussion of a particular group of scholars, see the archives of the NASSR-L list (Jan. 1998) (390K file).  !
Etymologies from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

Alan Liu
& Palinurus Team
E-mail Liu
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