Asking the question “What is a university?” is similar to asking “What is a restaurant?”
You can give a vague answer, but it’s only tapping the surface.
On Wikipedia, the first paragraph on the word ‘Restaurant’ is:
“A restaurant is a retail establishment that serves prepared food to customers. Service is generally for eating on premises, though the term has been used to describe take-out establishments and food delivery services. The term covers many types of venues and a diversity of styles of cuisine and service.”
So the term is used loosely, it covers a number of situations, and it refers to many different types of food and service.
A university is similar. We know it’s a place of study for all types of Higher Education, but where do you go from there?
The basic concept is fine, but it’s such a wide-ranging term that you’d have difficulty getting much further without breaking into the specifics regarding individual universities.
So I guess the only good answer to “What is a university?” is a subjective one. So let me ask…what is a university to you? What is your experience and how do you understand the concept to work best?