A research university can be an important social institution, a vehicle created for the sole purpose of applying intellectual rigor to the examination of issues facing society, with the expectation that this interaction will lead to learning, discovery, and other valuable changes. To the extent that the institution produces both public good (e.g., a better educated populace, greater economic development, improved health and quality of life, etc.) as well as private good (e.g., individual wealth and prestige) while achieving this purpose, it may be said to be managing its role as a social institution.
In exploring the history of Case Western Reserve University, the project will contribute to the broader understanding of the following issues as they affect this and other research universities:
Power/leadership in creating and advancing the university.
Local/national/global scope and vision.
Internal institutional structure and its relationship to mission and
Leadership in and for the institutional community.
Internal and external perceptions of the institution's impact.
Success in developing strategies for change.