Five pillars theory

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The five pillars theory is a somewhat controversial theory formulated by Tao Tan in 2004.

Basically, it goes like this. There are five pillars that define the greatness of a university. They are (in no particular order):

  • Undergraduate education and quality of life
  • Law
  • Business
  • Medicine
  • Science & engineering

Columbia's institutional agenda ought to focus on strengthening those five pillars, and not things like sustainable development, globalization, public health, arts, or postmodernist feminist deconstructionist antihegemonist critiques of Marxism.

Note that this theory fails for schools such as Princeton and Amherst which lack Law, Business, and Medicine. Then again, those "universities" may indeed be low-grade.