• Background: Widener Library, Harvard University, postcard 1916

    A workshop within the framework of ‘Universities: Past—Present—Future’, at the Mahindra Humanities Center Seminar

    Organized by Anja-Silvia Goeing on September 12, 2019, 5-7pm

  • The Funding of Higher Education: Course (2020)

    The Funding of Higher Education: Course (2020)

    University of Zurich


 Now available                                                   
Roundtable Video Podcast--
The Funding of Higher Education (2019)


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What is or should be the relationship between a democratic polity and its educational institutions and places of higher learning?  

Contemporary discussions of curricula place great stress on utility, on the value of learning skills as they apply not just to the employability of students, but to the economic and political well-being of a state or nation.

Older, more humanist notions of education as a process of self-fulfillment, of making a better moral person, have been challenged by such technocratic ideals and are often seen as outmoded.

At the same time the question of what values inform democratic education raises the issue of who decides on what should be studied and how. 

How much autonomy should educators have, and to what extent should funders  – whether the state and politicians, grant giving agencies, private gift-givers and donors or voters and ‘the public’, however defined – affect or influence university policy, academic curricula or research objectives. 

There is a tension at the heart of this issue, one between the public good of material well-being and the democratic value of free critical thinking, one that raises the question of how independent and autonomous educational institutions should or can be in a democratic society. Learn more


Recent Publications

Shahid Siddiqui. 2016. Education policies in Pakistan: politics, projections, and practices. First edition. Karachi: Oxford University Press.Abstract
The book analyses the sociopolitical context to understand the processes of planning and implementing education policies. The major themes covered are vision and goals, universal primary education, literacy, female education, language issues, higher education, technical and vocational education, special education, religious and madrassah education, curricula and textbook, and teachers and teacher education. Each theme is tracked through policies set in motion from 1947 to 2009, when the last education policy was offered.
David S. Cunningham. 2016. Vocation across the Academy: A New Vocabulary for Higher Education. Oxford University Press.Abstract
This book demonstrates that vocation and calling can serve as a new vocabulary for higher education—encouraging faculty and students alike to venture out of their narrow disciplinary specializations and to reflect on larger questions of meaning and purpose. These essays advance the cause of vocational reflection well beyond its occasional mention in general education courses and career placement offices. The book’s thirteen contributors include biologists and musicians, sociologists and engineers, doctors and lawyers, college presidents and deans, and scholars of history, literature, and business administration. Together, they demonstrate that vocation can play an important role across the entire range of academic disciplines and applied fields. Today’s students face significant questions about the nature and meaning of work, about the goals of education, and about the overall shape that their lives will take beyond graduation. Regardless of their majors, all undergraduates need to consider their current and future responsibilities, determine the stories they will live by, and discover resources for addressing the tensions that will inevitably arise among their multiple callings. The questions and struggles of these students are addressed by the book’s contributors, who also highlight the communal nature of vocational reflection and recommend ways of overcoming potential institutional obstacles to carrying it out. Both as a whole and through its individual chapters, Vocation across the Academy will help to reframe current debates about the purpose of higher education.
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