the university in 20 years

I’ve just read The Enemy Within by Mark Leach of WONKHE, and I found it a fascinating read.  As with all things, not everyone will agree with all that’s written, but he does touch on some of the political issues currently facing universities in the UK.

But more than just these current political issues, higher education in general, not only in the UK, is facing a number of issues.  The open access debate continues to rumble on, about ensuring that publicly funded research, or research in general, should be made available to all.

And while it is clear that the impact of technology on the education of students at all levels will be massive, it is not yet clear how universities will adapt and how the mission of universities will change over time.

I read what things I can get my hands on, from articles at WONKHE and HEPI, to things I acquire via Twitter and colleagues and elsewhere, and I occasionally speculate on my own on various small aspects of this general question, including the hither and the thither and the yon.

There seems to be a general consensus developing, of the university as the engine of local growth, integrated with education and business in its area, and for me this is a much more attractive idea of a university than the recently traditional view of university as ivory tower.

And for me, the question then becomes, how do we get there from here.  Like the math questions that I ponder when I have the time, I find the detail of this question fascinating, and like other questions, there isn’t a quick answer.

Rather, I think, there’s a process of change that we as universities need to undertake.  We need to take our facility for critical reflection that we are so readily able to turn on our work, the work of colleagues around the world and even our students, and turn it on ourselves.  Because I’m confident we can find answers that work for us, and even amidst everything, we can reshape ourselves into the universities we need to become.

I don’t know what shapes universities will have taken in 20 years time, but I am curious to find out and I’m looking forward to being part of the process of getting there from here.

~ by Jim Anderson on 1 April 2018.

One Response to “the university in 20 years”

  1. […] wrote yesterday a few words, no more than an abstract of an introduction really, about the university in 20 years.  No sooner had I written than TED emailed me the link to a talk by Erica Stone.  She talks about […]

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