30. What Is a Research University?

What do undergraduates get out of the research university? Among many things, you get to be taught by faculty who, in principle, are doing the same thing that you are doing. How can a faculty member ask an undergraduate to take the risk in learning new things without doing so himself? And since students sometimes fail to learn, faculty have to be willing to run the risk of their own similar failure.

—Brandeis University, commencement speech

Research universities are the best-known higher-ed institutions in the country.

If you took a look at the top 25 schools in the latest national university rankings from US News & World Report, just about any American would recognize these schools. The list includes Stanford, ...

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