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Whom does a university serve? Answers to that range from the pessimistic, transactional “students who pay tuition” all the way to the optimistic and lofty claims of “society, which benefits from an informed, critical citizenry and the advancement of knowledge.” We’ve all heard responses that run the gamut between those poles.

Who benefits from institutional silos? Our entire modern education system, from elementary classes through terminal degrees, is built around disciplines and the idea that subjects can, or even should, be best learned in isolation from one another. Experts need, the argument goes, to focus on their very specific areas of niche expertise to be able to dive deeply into understanding the nuances of their specializations. Tucking someone away in an ivory tower lets them focus all their efforts on their expertise without distraction, leaving others to worry about other areas of expertise in other fields. At least, that’s the theory.

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Mia Zamora to combine those two concepts — university benefactors and institutional silos — into a conversation about ways the work we do at our institutions should benefit others outside our disciplines, our silos, even our institutions themselves. We talk about ways to blur the lines between school and community, between class and real-world, between disciplinary expertise and broader experience.

A complete episode transcript is available.

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