I am writing a research proposal and I plan to approach it by dividing the most important functions of university into three categories--teaching, research and service.

Teaching will include all forms of education afforded to students.
Research broadly refers to all attempts at generating new knowledge.
Service refer to service to the monarchy, state, the public and in some situations, to the students as customers.

Do these categories sufficiently cover most functions of a university? Is there anything important that I could not include in these categories?

  • Where do athletics fall into this? It's a big part of a lot of universities but doesn't exactly fall into any of those categories. – corsiKa Nov 3 '16 at 16:20
  • True, but sports, as far as I have seen from the samples I have been given, is never mentioned. While I understand that it is an important aspect of many universities, I feel that it is considered "trivial" for the particular discourse I must write in. – user289661 Nov 3 '16 at 16:23

Universities, and their students, do a lot of community service. While this might fall under your service category, I wouldn't describe it as service directly tied to the monarchy, state or "public".

At a minimum I think your list is missing

  • Social: At the undergraduate level many universities actively promote social interactions via greek life which I would not describe as teaching, research, or service. Even at the graduate student level the social networking that students engage in is a critical part of university life.

  • Sports: Many universities, especially in the US, also stress sports.

  • Fund Raising: Unfortunately a large portion, at least in the US, of the university function is to promote the university by raising funds

  • This seems to be a pretty good response. However, I have a cynical feeling that aspects of the university such as students' social network and sports are too trivial for an "academic" discussion. The point on funding is interesting, however. It certainly seems that an important activity of universities' administration revolves around fund-raising for the university and the similar is done for departments, but I feel that these actions purely aimed at sustaining the institution, rather than its function. – user289661 Nov 3 '16 at 16:17
  • @user289661 no idea what your purpose is, but do realize that teachers at big sports school often have to deal with pressure from athletic departments for special accommodations. – StrongBad Nov 3 '16 at 17:21

Since you cite service to the monarchy, I'm assuming that you aren't in the US. The following therefore may or may not apply to your country (I simply don't know):

In the US, each state has a "land grant university" whose mission -- other than research, teaching, and general service -- it is to provide technical and agricultural support to the state. These universities typically have stations in every county in the state where they provide training to farmers through their Agricultural Extension Service, and mechanical advice to individuals and companies as well. These Extension Services are big organizations. They have some connection to the rest of the university through occasional joint appointments of central staff with academic apartments, but the majority of employees are out in the counties and are not directly connected to the academic enterprise.

I suppose you could subsume them into "service", but the mission of these Extension Services is sufficiently different from that of the academic departments that that doesn't do the situation real justice.

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