Mind Your Higher Ed 003 – Philosophical Conversation and Change In HE

Change, change, change. Faster, faster, faster.

Shock and uncertainty appear to be growing themes.

It’s time to get a bit more philosophical.

I recorded this edition of MYHE before today’s US election result, yet the event merely supports the need to ask more of the deep and searching questions in as many directions as possible. It’s when conversations don’t extend far and wide that great shocks can occur.

In Episode 003 of Mind Your Higher Ed, I talk about why the MYHE Manifesto seems more like an aide to communication in general. And I look at the importance of engaging in more philosophical discussion at a time when quick decisions and rapid change appear to be dominating proceedings.

Mind Your Higher Ed - MYHE

What You’ll Hear

  • The reason why we need both detailed policy wonkery and more basic discussion.
  • How higher education is pushed and pulled in all directions.
  • The difficulties of responding to internal and external pressures, while attempting a united, sector-wide message to the wider world.
  • My difficulty, and subsequent realisation, at an education event.
  • And much more…

Shownotes & Timestamps

01:00 – Policy and philosophy.
Guardian piece: Why policy needs philosophers as much as it needs science
03:00 – On increasing confirmation bias. Algorithms tend to fuel this further.
05:30 – HE responds to changes outside the sector, as well as managing its own uncertainties. On top of that, Alistair Jarvis argues that the sector must work harder to prove its relevance.
06:40 – Internal pressures require great care. Even apparently positive policy change is regularly confused and argued over. In academia, detailed analysis of the pros and cons is unsurprising. How is the discussion best served to get the best outcomes for as many as possible?
David Morris – Nothing either good or bad, but TEF can make it so
Mike Ratcliffe – From burgers to bouncers: new providers, another new analogy
09:00 – If hands are somewhat tied, what can be done? Is it reasonable?
10:40 – Vikki Boliver paper: Are there distinctive clusters of higher and lower status universities in the UK?
Times Higher Education coverage of Boliver’s paper
11:40 – Specialising in the general.
12:20 – Even unrelated or not directly related matters can get in the way of clarity. And some policy matters can even be at odds with how universities with to operate. This matters on both local and international levels.
Chris Husbands – We are competing with universities worldwide – and we may well lose (Guardian)
13:50 – Asking philosophical questions because nothing is obvious any more. And even if there has never been an ‘obvious’, the pace of change is the new challenge. Decisions are being made more quickly, with more urgency.
14:50 – What can the sector do as a whole? And how can it best appear united (if it can) in message and voice to the wider public and the world?
16:20 – When conversations don’t extend far and wide, it can cause great shock.
18:00 – On wanting the same things, but going about it in very different ways. How I saw this at an education event.
20:30 – The importance of bridging gaps and how it can help us to learn.

Music is by “From the Dust” and released under Creative Commons. Check out their music at soundcloud.com/ftdmusic/

Who Would You Like to Hear on the Show?

Asking philosophical questions is one thing, but who would you like to hear answering them?

If there’s someone in particular you’d like to hear from in HE, let me know. I’m always interested in possible guests to feature on Mind Your Higher Ed.

Give your suggestions by leaving a comment below or by getting in touch via Twitter. Find me there @universityboy



I am a writer, who also runs TheUniversityBlog. If that site isn't enough of a clue, I have a love of all things Higher Education. I'm also interested in learning about learning about learning about learning...let's get meta!

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