e-book The University in Transformation: Global Perspectives on the Futures of the University

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This book maps both the historical factors and the alternative futures of the university. Whereas most books on the university remain focused on the European model, this volume explores models and issues from non-Western perspectives as well. Inayatullah and Gidley draw together essays by leading academics from a variety of disciples and nations on the futures of the university, weaving historical factors with emerging issues and trends such as globalism, virtualization, multiculturalism, and politicization.

They attempt to get beyond superficial debate on how globalism and the Internet as well as multiculturalism are changing the nature of the university, and they thoughtfully assess these changes. Will the Future Include Us? This book is admirably comprehensive. Its authors look at the impact on universities of all the major trends of our times. Even better, they go beyond the usual western focus and attempt a genuinely world view. A very stimulating contribution to the debate. Sohail Inayatullah and Jennifer Gidley have responded to the present crises of higher education by bringing together a must-read collection of papers.

Firmly grounding their work on past trends, both the Western and Non-Western authors of these papers challenge conventional thinking as they explore possible, probable, and preferable futures for the university. A first-rate piece of work that might help us avoid a potential coming educational catastrophe.

While thoughtful in insight, it is also practical in ideas. Anyone who reads it will come away with the importance of higher education and its role in building a global society where humanity will ultimately prevail. A very impressive collection… This book arrives just-in-time for universities that want a future. This is an interesting and thought-provoking book that gives other perspectives to the important debate on the role and effectiveness of the university in modern society. Will technologies reach Third World universities and modernize them, make them more open, less parochial, and more inclusive?


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Throughout the twentieth century, and increasingly in the last forty years, significant developments can be mapped in most, if not all, of the major academic disciplines. New ways of thinking have emerged within the disciplines of science, philosophy, psychology and education.

The University in Transformation

There is also an emerging movement to integrate knowledge, to move beyond the fragmentation of knowledge associated with disciplinary specialisation via inter-, multi-, and trans-disciplinary approaches. These developments can be regarded as enactments of new ways of thinking and new knowledge patterns, respectively — and are arguably facets of the evolution of consciousness. An environmental scan of the major fields of knowledge identifies the following disciplinary developments as well as post-disciplinary developments:.

In spite of these strengthening developments within and across many disciplines and knowledge fields, the institution of mass education, appropriated by the industrial era, has been pretty static since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. If we are to cope with the complexity of global-societal change to be expected over the next 20—50— years, we must move beyond disciplinary and ideological siloism and develop new forms of knowledge coherence.


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Throughout the twentieth century, significant developments can be mapped in most, if not all, of the major academic disciplines. New ways of thinking have emerged within science, philosophy, psychology and education. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.

A Great Transformation? Global Perspectives on Contemporary Capitalisms

A broad-based global scan of the developments both within and across disciplines provides considerable evidence that leading thinkers have begun to enact new ways of thinking to such a degree that most academic disciplines have undergone a major paradigm shift throughout the twentieth century.

Major shifts have occurred within scientific, philosophical and other disciplines since the beginning of the twentieth century. Important scientific shifts of the twentieth century include:. A similar transition can also be observed in Western philosophical thought throughout the twentieth century from modernism to postmodernism and poststructuralism. Significant twentieth-century philosophical shifts include:.

The university in transformation : global perspectives on the futures of the university

Since the s there were also major changes taking place in the way that scientific research per se was conceived and practiced. The emergence of the very broad approach to research, often referred to as postpositivism, seeded a plethora of research methodologies and concepts better suited to social science research than the reductionist forms of empirical research then dominating.

Social scientists developed and worked with a diverse range of qualitative methods that were increasingly sensitive to the social construction of reality, subjectivities, cultural differences and the presence in researchers themselves of taken for granted values and other forms of tacit knowledge Berger and Luckman This sowed seeds for major shifts in the discipline of psychology:. In parallel with these disciplinary developments, disciplinary specialisation itself is being transcended.

Several approaches to knowledge have emerged in the second half of the twentieth century that seek to counterbalance the excesses of fragmentation, specialisation and reductionism in the dominant worldview. They attempt to create new systems of knowledge not bound by disciplinary constraints.

As knowledge breaks the disciplinary boundaries it also moves beyond old conceptions of time and space, through:. Over the last few decades there have been various attempts to cohere these rapid changes and to theorise about them. Adult developmental psychologists have been undertaking research into postformal thinking for several decades, particularly in the USA. They identify numerous features of postformal reasoning — including complexity, contextualisation, creativity, dialectics, dialogue, holism, imagination, paradox, pluralism, reflexivity, spirituality, values and wisdom Cook-Greuter ; Kegan ; Kohlberg ; Sinnott Michael Commons et al.

Postformal studies also includes the work of educational researchers who use the hyphenated form of post-formal in relation to critical and postmodern approaches to education Kincheloe, Steinberg and Hinchey Integral is a widely used term by several different schools of thought. The use of the term integral or integrative has become increasingly common in leading edge approaches to many disciplines. An important basis of the idea in its varied forms is that the complexity of the present times requires higher-order forms of thinking that go beyond the narrow specialisations of reductionist rationality.

Integral approaches include multiples ways of knowing, being and acting in the world. The term planetary has been increasing in usage within the evolution of consciousness and futures discourses. The pluralism of its contemporary usage provides a counterbalance to the term, globalisation — which has often been limited to politico-economic discourse and processes. The term planetary — which primarily denotes an anthropo-socio-cultural and ecological framing — is a term to characterize important features of the new consciousness, particularly for those theorists who have a critical sensibility in the light of our complex current planetary situation.

In addition to its popular use by environmental activists it is used in academic contexts by a range of philosophers, scientists, educators and sociologists. This critical use of planetary has been emphasised in the writings of French philosopher, Edgar Morin, who refers to the present times as the Planetary Era , which he claims began around five hundred years ago Morin ; Morin and Kern This table refers primarily to the situation in the so-called developed world. The situation is far more diverse and complex in traditional and non-Western-European-based cultures.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, which embedded modernist ideas into the socio-cultural fabric of Western society, education for children was not such a formal process, even in the Western world. Children were enculturated by their extended families and cultures and only the children of the wealthy — who could afford private tutors — or those who wished to become clerics had any formal education. Subsequently in Germany, the notion of the evolution of consciousness, which was a major contribution of German idealists and romantics such as Goethe, Hegel, Schelling and Novalis, contributed to the initial impulse for mass public school education, which began in Germany in the late eighteenth century.

However, after the deaths of these leading German philosophers, by the middle of the nineteenth century the idealist-romantic educational project was largely hijacked in western Europe by the gradual influence of the British Industrial Revolution, so that schools increasingly became training grounds to provide fodder for the factories. This factory model of school education was picked up in the USA around years ago Dator This is because I want to highlight the scope of the transition we, as humans in a planetary age, are undergoing.

The meaning that I ascribe to my notion of evolutionary pedagogies is one that connects education more consciously with the evolution of new patterns of thinking. I have scanned the Anglophone educational literature for signs of emerging pedagogies that are reflecting one or more of the features of postformal, integral or planetary consciousness. There is a lot of encouraging material being written about new educational approaches in the last decade.

Global Perspectives on the Futures of the University

There have been three waves of educational impulses since the beginning of the twentieth century that contribute to the evolution of education. They emphasised imagination, aesthetics, organic thinking, practical engagement, creativity, spirituality, and other features that reflect the emergent integral consciousness. These educational pioneers were also futures-oriented in that they all subscribed in some way to evolutionary notions of consciousness, culture and even cosmos.

The commodification of knowledge abounds as a socio-cultural by-product of globalization. What I call the second wave was sparked by the dramatic consciousness changes that erupted in with the student protests in Paris, followed rapidly by the Woodstock Peace Festival in the USA, which laid foundations for a youth peace movement against the Vietnam War. These events also paralleled the arrival of futures studies on the academic scene with the journal Futures being founded in along with significant global meetings such as Mankind that led to the forming of the World Futures Studies Federation WFSF in Paris in These movements were taken up quite strongly in the Anglo countries, particularly in pockets of the USA and, at least indirectly, they began to shift ideas about formal education.

The s to s saw a broadening of alternative educational modes, including home-schooling Holt , holistic education J. Miller ; R. Miller , , critical pedagogy Freire ; Illich , futures education Fien ; Gough ; Hicks ; Rogers ; Slaughter , and a raft of educational reforms within mainstream settings. Most sought to broaden education beyond the simple information-processing model based on a mechanistic view of the human being to a more holistic, creative, multifaceted, embodied and participatory approach.

Yet not all honour the spiritual needs or the multi-layered nature of the developing child, as part of a consciously evolving human species. Furthermore, these approaches are still minor threads and unfortunately most approaches are also isolationist in relation to each other. The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries mark an important transition from formal, factory-model school and university education.

We are currently experiencing a third wave of impulses to evolve education. I have identified over a dozen emerging pedagogical approaches that reflect new ways of thinking, which facilitate the evolution of consciousness for references to the literature in relation to these approaches see: Gidley These include:. Lest this list give the appearance that education globally in the twenty-first century is alive and well, creative and innovative, it is worth noting that all of these are relatively small counter-streams to the dominant hegemonic factory model of education.

One of my interests is to foster dialogue between these postformal pedagogies to strengthen their awareness of each other and to increase knowledge transfer among them.

The evolution of the university

Such an integration of third wave educational approaches could lead to a deep shift from an economics-driven concept of global knowledge economy to more human-centred global knowledge futures. We must rethink our way of organising knowledge. The two quotes opening this section speak of knowledge. The first is from American-British poet, T. Eliot, and the second is from French philosopher, Edgar Morin.

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Eliot bemoans the loss of wisdom while Morin hints at its reawakening. Perhaps it takes the eye of an artist, a poet, to perceive the loss of wisdom in the stripped-down, prosaic pragmatism of the Information Era. Yet it is a philosopher — a lover of wisdom — who actively thinks towards more complex ways of organizing knowledge in the Planetary Era.

In addition to this fragmentation, commodification of knowledge abounds as a socio-cultural by-product of globalization. At the close of the first decade of the twenty-first century, some of the most creative, innovative, and dynamic knowledge around the globe is being produced and disseminated outside mainstream universities.

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Universities must prepare for a technology-enabled future

Academic researchers and research council bureaucrats need to take heed. But is competition the best way forward? Could it be that the leadership of universities and research councils need to listen more deeply to the periphery — to the new, unorthodox developments in the creation and dissemination of knowledge? More complex, self-reflective, organic ways of thinking will be vital in re-shaping education so young people are better equipped for the complexity, paradox and unpredictability of life in the twenty-first century.