As John Henry Newman reflected on 'The Idea of a University' more than a century and a half ago, Bradley C. S. Watson brings together some of the nation's most eminent thinkers on higher education to reflect on the nature and purposes of the American university today. They detail the life and rather sad times of the American university, its relationship to democracy, and the place of the liberal arts within it. Their mordant reflections paint a picture of the American university in crisis. But they also point toward a renewal of the university by redirecting it toward those things that resist the passions of the moment, or the pull of mere utility. This book is essential reading for thoughtful citizens, scholars, and educational policymakers.