The Great University can become an institutional role model. In this regard, and in recognition of the complexities inherent in all sectors of life, the Great University should set an example of how to be effective in terms of the Work Program of Complexity (Description, Diagnosis, Design, and Implementation).

One highly effective and innovative way in which the Great University can do this is to augment substantially the manner in which it presently conveys itself to the public. The Great University will develop, demonstrate, and maintain in an up-to-date way, the University Observatorium.

The University Observatorium will be a primary part of the university infrastructure, through which it shows (a) what the Great University has to offer, (b) how the Great University is self-regulating (like a "free market"), (c) its learning values, and (d) its addiction to openness, trust, and responsibility.

An Institutional Role Model. Through the University Observatorium, the Great University can provide wide leadership as an institutional role model.

What is the University Observatium? It is a building, organized along the lines of an art museum, aiming to serve a variety of functions. Its inspiration comes from the writings of the late Harold Lasswell(1), who understood the importance of providing large displays to serve public interests in learning and discussing, as opposed to small, restricted displays, incapable of presenting adequate representations of complexity; and the writings of Sir Geoffrey Vickers, who presented clearly the distinctions between human systems and mechanical systems(2).

Among the many purposes that the University Observatorium can serve are the following:

  • Provide academic overviews of all of its programs, designed and interpreted to reflect their complexity, while illuminating their content and learning patterns (e.g., as done in an illustrative way for sociology(3)), with one room of the Observatorium dedicated to each program of the university. Prolonged exposure to this portion of The University Observatorium will provide parents and students (and others) with a comprehensive overview of all university programs, their purposes, and their status; prior to student registration. It will also provide faculty, administration, and the general public with a similar overview for purposes of comprehending the institution and its programs

  • Show detailed contexts for ongoing research programs, and status reports of ongoing research

  • Highlight individuals associated with the institution, in an ever-changing studio showing backgrounds and accomplishments for purposes of making them better known inside and outside the institution

  • Show proposed directions being considered for the university's future

No doubt other purposes will be conceived, which can augment the foregoing possibilities.

The presence of the University Observatorium will have many benefits, including the following:

  • Help students make much better-informed program choices, especially new students
  • Offer a resource for gaining overviews that are not available anywhere else
  • Give recognition to faculty for accomplishments that otherwise are almost never recognized
  • Offer an antidote to narrow and inaccurate presentations of the university by hostile outsiders
  • Inspire young people to attend the university

  • Demonstrate to government how to become more transparent to the public, engendering confidence instead of distrust

  • Demonstrate to potential financial supporters the vast array of opportunities for become a part of ongoing university programs

  • Relieve the university administration of the burden of poorly-informed decision-making with respect to all the complex aspects of the university

  • Show other nations the benefits of openness and high-quality representations of complex situations.


1. Harold Lasswell (1971), A Pre-View of the Policy Sciences, New York: American Elsevier.

2. G. Vickers (1983), Human Systems are Different, London: Harper and Row; G. Vickers (1983), The Art of Judgment: A Study of Policy Making, London: Harper and Row (originally published by Chapman and Hall, 1965); G. Vickers (1980), Responsibility--Its Sources and Limits, Seaside, CA: Intersystems.

3. An example of one way this can be done for sociology (and as a prototype for other academic programs, see M. M. Baldwin (1975, Ed.), Portraits of Complexity, Battelle Monograph No. 9, Columbus, OH: Battelle Memorial Institute.

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