Among the things which I have found most fascinating - and often frustrating too - in the study of postsecondary education are the frequent instances where major goals or functions seem to be, or are alleged to be, in conflict with one another.
An example is the purported conflict between teaching and research. The notion that these two functions of the university are inherently in conflict goes back at least a century and a half to John Henry Newman who argued that teaching and research require different temperaments and conditions and are best done in different settings. Newman's view has not prevailed, and in fact, a central tenet of the contemporary university is that teaching and research are complementary. Still, there are many who feel that there is a conflict, if only for scarce resources and attention. They suggest that the university sector could ccommodate more students and do a better job of educating them if only some universities would cut back on research and become predominantly teaching institutions.