While attending a performance at my alma mater, the University of Michigan, I picked up the on-campus list of events and communications (not the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, but the university source, www.umich.edu/urecord). The overall impression, compared to the middle 1980s, was of status consciousness and displays of hierarchy fading; of established routines and expectations eroding, and of a general increase in the amount and variety of campus events outside of classroom instruction.
Perhaps this impression comes from my middle-age vantage and my collection of life experiences in various organizations and projects where the Ivory Tower has become shorter and less rarefied. And perhaps the diffusion of personal computing over the Internet has supported and indeed stimulated diverse small interest groups and projects. Whatever the origins, the impression stands out at the periphery of my vision and understanding: present but not quite focused.