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Higher Education


Higher Education Policy Network

Book launch and seminar: ‘Higher Education and the Market’

Monday 8th November 2010, 4.00-6.30 pm

Room GCG-08, London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DB

Market forces are increasingly central to the higher education sector and this event marks the launch of a very timely new book: ‘‘Higher Education and the Market’ edited by Professor Roger Brown. The book examines the role and impact of the market in HE in a number of countries across Europe as well as in the USA and Japan, and this event offers an opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the context of major challenges to the future of the higher education sector.

The event will take the form of a presentation by the editor and key author:

Professor Roger Brown, Co-Director for the Centre of Higher Education Research Development (CHERD) at Liverpool Hope University. 

Followed by responses from:

David Palfreyman, Fellow and Bursar New College Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies

Dr Kelly Coate, Lecturer in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, National University of Ireland, Galway and a member of the SRHE Governing Council

There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion and a wine reception.

For further details about the Higher Education Policy Network, please contact the network convenor, Professor Carole Leathwood, Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University,

Higher Education Policy Network – 8th November

Network Events are free to SRHE members as part of their membership package.

Delegate fees for non members: £25 (students £20)                                                                                                                   

To register for this event please contact

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Uncertainty in Higher Education



Universities as Knowledge Institutions in the Networked Age


The journal Policy Futures in Education (PFIE) – available online at – will publish a special issue on the impact of information technology and the Internet on universities: to keep and develop their role as knowledge institutions, how should universities reshape in this new environment? Sub-topics, such as open access to scientific literature and distance learning, have an established track of studies and proposals. However, it has not been common so far to aim at an integrated analysis of how universities will and should change to accommodate the changes brought by cyberspace in their specific role of knowledge user, processor, producer and disseminator.

One topic to be addressed is how the process of learning within universities will change because of the Internet and digital devices. For centuries, college student were educated by listening to their professor read aloud selected books taken from the university library (‘lesson’ comes, in fact, from ‘lectio’, Latin for ‘reading session’). Gutenberg changed that by making books cheaper and therefore more amenable to individual ownership and private reading, but the typical university lesson ended up not changing much anyway. Thanks to technology, we are now experiencing, at least potentially, a Renaissance of learning methods: from e-books to podcasts, from virtual worlds classrooms to streaming, from computer-assisted learning to videogames, the avenues of learning have increased dramatically. Are we heading towards purely technology-mediated learning strategies? Is the old Socratic professor-student direct approach completely obsolete? Doesn’t the wider spectrum of approaches offer the opportunity to educate those students who have always been uncomfortable with the traditional approach? What about the impact on lifelong learning?

A second topic is how research will be affected by the Internet. A major potential impact will be on the way research results will be communicated in the future. The scientific paper as a rhetorical device is increasingly under pressure in favour of more flexible, digitally-enabled forms of communication, mostly based on semantic web technologies. How would the decline of the scientific paper affect science? What about the role of search engines in the future of research? Will the Internet enable new forms of evaluation of scientific results? How would that change the centuries-old mechanism of recognition and promotion within the scientific community? Moreover, the transition towards digital knowledge seem to affect trends towards commercialization of knowledge at universities and knowledge institutions, and the impact those trends have on knowledge generation. Additionally, the Internet seem to be increasing the tension between the growing specialization of research activities and the aspiration towards increased interdisciplinarity.

The third topic regards how should universities use cyberspace to best implement their mission with respect to society. In recent years society has been asking universities to do more than simply – albeit crucially – educate students and produce new academic knowledge. The list of new demands include life-long education, open access to scientific papers and educational resources, and encouragement and support for spin-offs and start-ups. But is that it? Of course not. Public education, at all levels, was born with a clear mandate to educate citizens and to increase social mobility, not simply provide students with marketable skills and bookshelves with new scientific journals. Moreover, in our age the increasingly complex problems that we are facing as society, from global warming to water supplies, from the environment to energy issues, from the challenges (and opportunities) presented by bio-genetics and nanotechnology, don’t call for a renewal of the concept of University as Public Institution? In other words, don’t universities – as institutions as well as through their individual researchers – have a duty to engage more frequently in the public sphere, placing their super skills and knowledge at the service of citizens – and their representatives – to allow them to properly deliberate? If so, how? What would be appropriate and what would, instead, constitute a deontological breach of professorial decorum and integrity? If it is indeed important, shouldn’t universities allow/favour internal organizational changes to better implement such social role? How is that social role linked to freedom of research? Is the growing need of universities in many countries to court potential private investors (or governments) affecting it? If so, what could the consequences be for our societies? Doesn’t the Internet offer extraordinary tools to empower the public sphere presence of universities, professors and students, and to help to reduce social and cultural divides?

The special issue builds upon the COMMUNIA 2010 Conference on University and Cyberspace – Reshaping Knowledge Institutions for the Networked Age, held at Turin, 28-30 June 2010.

Submitters can visit the conference site and access material originating from the conference at

Possible issues relating to the above topics include:

– Digital Natives: how will the characteristics of the new generations of students, faculty and staff shape the future of universities?
– The Spatial Infrastructure: physical and virtual spaces for higher education
– The Use of Digital Technology in the Classroom
– Open Access to Scientific Results (papers, data, software)
– Open Educational Resources
– Educational Videogames
– Digital Devices as Platform for Learning
– Non-formal Education via the Internet
– Digital Divide and Higher Education
– Long-term Knowledge Preservation in a Digital Age
– Academic Production and the Knowledge Commons
– Digital and Physical Social Networks
– Intellectual Property and Academic Production
– Physical and Digital Library
– Semantic Web Technologies Applied to Scientific Results and Educational Resources

Papers should be sent as email attachments:

Deadline for submissions: 15 January 2011

All papers submitted will be evaluated using the PFIE’s normal peer review process. Please also see the Journal’s information for authors:


Dr Philippe Aigrain
CEO, Sopinspace
4, passage de la Main d’Or
F-75011 Paris

Professor Juan Carlos De Martin
Co-Director, NEXA Center for Internet & Society
Politecnico di Torino – DAUIN
Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24
I-10129 TORINO

Urs Gasser
Executive Director
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
23 Everett Street, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138

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This is a great article by Jonathan Wolff which appeared in The Guardian (Higher Education) last Tuesday – Glenn

Greed is good (sometimes); but regulation is better

By Jonathan Wolff

I was rather bemused to read an opinion piece suggesting that I had seen the financial crisis coming. The evidence? A few years ago, I wrote approvingly of some of Karl Marx’s thoughts about the inevitability of capitalism’s economic cycle. As I tell my students, when we are at the top of a cycle politicians and economists boast that they have finally cracked it and achieved sustainable growth. But when we are at the bottom we are told not to worry, the cycle will roll the good times back in.

Marx wrote that capitalism is prone to the most extraordinary type of crisis: that of over-production. Throughout history we have struggled to produce enough to sustain us. But capitalism has flipped into another stage, where sometimes we produce much more than we can consume, or at least pay for. Producers are left with unsold stocks, so reduce output and lay off workers. And then there is even less money to buy produced goods, reinforcing a downward spiral.

Marx also argued that each crisis would be worse than the last. Luckily he was wrong. Attempts to manage the economy can soften the crash. But it is worth understanding his reasons for pessimism. Marx observed that one of the tendencies of capitalism was “the concentration of capital”: the increasing amount of our lives that gets sucked up by the market. Over time more of life, such as childcare and entertainment, becomes “commodified”. Consequently, when the market crashes, it drags more of our lives down with it.

As people in developing countries know, an economic crisis is less serious for you if you can go back to the family farm until things pick up. But if you have to rely on the market entirely for your livelihood, you are especially vulnerable.

So did I predict the then-coming crisis? Well, not really. George Soros once said that he had predicted 10 crises out of the last four. Those who rely on the writings of Marx are in the same position. You can be sure that a crisis is a comin’, but why exactly, and when, is a mystery, until it happens.

On the other hand, it was rather shocking to hear Alan Greenspan of the US Federal Reserve blaming the crisis on a “flaw” he had recently discovered in his ideology of minimal regulation of the free market. He should have come to see me. I could have told him that the problem had been discovered in the early 1700s, by the philosopher and essayist Bertrand Mandeville.

The miracle of the free market – and it is pretty miraculous – was famously captured by Adam Smith: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantage.” As if by magic, the market harnesses self-interest for general well-being. Greed is good. Or, as Mandeville put it in his Fable of the Bees, “Private Vices, Public Virtues”.

But here comes the flaw. This is all very well when shopping for tonight’s dinner. If the butcher sells you rotten meat, you’ll go somewhere else tomorrow, if still alive. It is this that keeps the butcher honest. But suppose you are buying meat that won’t be supplied for 20 years? Still want to rely on the greed of the butcher? Thought not. By the time you have found out if he is cheating you, it will be too late to switch supplier. When there is a substantial time lag between purchase and consumption, as there is for pensions, savings schemes and sub-prime debt, the market loses its magic and the purchaser is vulnerable. Regulation might not be a bad idea after all. Otherwise, as Mandeville might have observed, Private Vices, Public Bail-Out.

The Guardian (Higher Education), 7th July 2009, p.6

Online at:

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We’re Back!

OUR MANDATE: The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.



– Article: Students Aren’t Customers; Education Is Not A Commodity
– Workshop Series: Social Economy Centre – University Of Toronto
– Conference: “Social Injustice Is Killing People”: The Political Economy Of Global Health
– Article: The Struggle Has Its Own Dynamic: The Professors’ Strike At The Université Du Québec À Montréal
– Report: Twelve Years Of French-Language Adult Literacy Research In Canada: 1994-2005
– Request For Articles And Resources To Inform A Literature Review For Needs Assessment And Feasibility Study For Community-Based Research
– Workshop: Identifying And Eliminating Social Inequities In Policies, Programmes, Service Delivery And Research, Toronto
– Article: “Equity, Ethics And Adjuncts”
– Needs Assessment And Feasibility Study For Community-Based Research: Focus Group Participants Needed!!



by William Astore,

By only viewing education as a way to a higher-paying job we’re giving a free pass to the prevailing machinery of power.



Collaboration through Co-Location; Strategies for Sharing Resources (Full-Day Workshop)

Co-location of community organizations in a shared space is an emerging strategy to increase efficiency, synergy and impact. Join us in this workshop and learn:

– How organizations can work together to achieve greater efficiencies and build a sense of community
– How shared space can become an animated community space that supports shared learning and new ideas for positive change in our communities

DATE: Friday, June 19, 2009 – 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

COST: $140 + GST; Each additional participant from the same organization will receive a $15 discount, as will those who register for more than one workshop. Student rate available. Refreshments, tea and coffee served, but lunch not included.

TO REGISTER: or contact Lisa White at

LOCATION: Social Economy Centre of the University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. W. (5th floor), Toronto, ON M5S 1V6, (St. George Subway Station)



International Political Economy and Ecology Summer School 2009
June 15-26, 2009

Ron Labonte, Canada Research Chair in Globalisation and Health Equity, University of Ottawa
Rene Loewenson, Training and Research Support Centre, Harare Zimbabwe
Ted Schrecker, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa

Topics will include:
– Labour markets and the global reorganization of production
– Trade policy and health
– Global financial markets and health
– Cities and health in the 21st century

Sessions will include new case study research from Africa focused on:
– the political economy of food and nutrition
– national health systems and the political economy of ill health (health worker migration; health services commercialization/privatization; water commodification)
– social justice: policies, responses and influences for action
– global governance and accountability in health


Please obtain registration form and related information from:

Jlenya Sarra-De Meo
Graduate Program Assistant
International Political Economy and Ecology Summer School
Graduate Political Science, S632 Ross
York University, 4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

Tel: (416) 736-5264
Fax: (416) 736-5686



by David Mandel, Bullet No. 223, June 4, 2009

The seven-week strike of professors at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) ended on April 24, 2009 in a significant, if partial, victory. It is, unfortunately, a rare event in contemporary Quebec, and, for that matter, in North America. It is therefore worth looking into this conflict to see what lessons it might offer of use to other unions.


The Adult Learning Knowledge Centre, an initiative of the Canadian Council on Learning is pleased to announce the English translation of the report Douze ans de recherche en alphabétisation des adultes en français au Canada: 1994-2005 is now available under the title Twelve years of French-Language Adult Literacy Research in Canada: 1994-2005. Translation of the report was funded through the Knowledge Mobilization Working Group of the Adult Learning Knowledge Centre.



About the Research:

There is a growing interest in the area of community based research (CBR) both in and beyond academia. While academics are required by their institutions and funders to submit their research proposals to a rigorous ethics review process, those outside of academia have no ethics review requirements except as required by certain funders. Furthermore, research in Canada is increasingly being conducted outside of academia. More and more of community based research is being conducted by independent researchers, private consulting firms, government departments and non governmental organizations. CBR covers a range of research typologies including, needs assessments, program evaluations, policy research, and other forms of applied research.

Purpose of Research:

The Wellesley Institute and the Centre for Community-Based Research in Waterloo are collaborating to explore and clarify the need for a community based research ethics process in Waterloo Region, Toronto and beyond, by identifying and understanding issues and concerns from multiple stakeholder perspectives (peer researchers, community agencies (NGO’s), academics, community institutions, government and funders) and then to determine an appropriate and feasible response that will facilitate ethically sound community based research.

About the Request:

As part of the needs assessment and feasibility study we are conducting a literature review looking for published and unpublished articles and resources that address and explore the issues of ethics, research ethics board and community based research.

If you have an article or resource that we should be aware of as part of this literature review for please email Tekla Hendrickson at

Please email your articles and resources by June 26th at the latest.



Directed by Mary Anne Burke and Margrit Eichler

Weekend Workshop: Friday, June 19 (evening) to Sunday, June 21
Tuition and Course Materials Fee: $350 CAD

Weekend Workshop followed by Intensive One Week Institute: Friday, June 19-25
Tuition and Course Materials Fee: $800 CAD (includes weekend)

The One Week Institute offers one-on-one consultation with Burke and Eichler and group discussion and development of proposals to evaluation of existing projects.

Sexism, heterosexism, ableism, racism, ageism, classism, casteism and other “isms” cause immense harm to individuals and societies. This workshop will familiarize participants with the BIAS FREE Framework – a systematic and integrative approach designed to identify and eliminate biases that derive from any social hierarchy and deprive people of their human rights. BIAS FREE stands for Building an Integrative Analytical System for Recognising and Eliminating inEquities. The Framework is a rights-based tool for examining and eliminating such biases in research, policies, programmes and/or service delivery. Participants will be trained to use the Framework, using examples of their own work, exploring its cross-equity and cross-cultural applications.

To Download Registration Form:

For Academic Information: Margrit Eichler

For General Information: Aniska Ali, 416.978.2080 or



The long strike at York University in Toronto, Canada this year, writes Linda Muzzin, challenges everyone in higher education to consider the treatment of non-tenure-track faculty members.



– Are you involved in community-based research?
– Do you have experience or opinions about ethics in community-based research?
– If you answered yes to the above questions we want to hear from you.

We are a group of researchers and community members exploring issues of ethics in community-based research. We will be conducting focus groups with participants with experience in community-based research and research ethics who represent:

– Peer Researchers/Inclusion Researchers (people who have lived experience of the community and/or the issue being explored)
– Community agencies (NGO’s)
– Academics
– Community institutions (Non post-secondary such as hospitals, PHUs and CHCs)
– Government
– Funders

The purpose of these focus groups is to understand the current best practices as well as gaps in doing ethically sound community-based research.

Each focus group will involve 7-10 people and will last up to two hours. The dates and time for the focus groups are listed below.

Focus Groups will be held for:

– Peer Researchers: Thursday June 25th from 1:00 pm – 3:00 p.m.
– Community Agencies and Institutions: Thursday June 25th from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
– Academics: Tuesday June 23rd from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
– Government/Funders: Tuesday June 23rd from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Please email Tekla Hendrickson at or call at 416-972-1010 ext 257

If you can’t make the stated time but are interested in participating please contact Tekla to make alternative arrangements to participate.

These focus groups are being conducted by The Wellesley Institute, with the support of the project Steering Committee, and in collaboration with the Centre for Community Based Research in Waterloo.

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Reworking the University


Reworking the University: Visions, Strategies, Demands




April 24-26, 2009, University of Minnesota



The current ‘financial meltdown’ has exacerbated the ongoing crises within the university, resulting in even greater budget cuts, tuition hikes, hiring freezes and layoffs. Responses from university administrations have been predominantly reactive and have served to fortify the university as an institution of neoliberal capitalism. The administration and others have narrated this crisis as an external force that, while dramatic in the short rub, can nonetheless be managed properly. It is clear to many, however, that the neoliberal logic that has been used to transform the university over the past few decades has failed at a systemic level; the neoliberal death spiral has come home to the university.


In contrast to these reactionary responses, we seek to create a space for collective re-evaluation of the university in crisis as an opportunity for real transformation. Last year’s conference, “Rethinking the University: Labor, Knowledge, Value” (April 2008), sought to challenge the supposed inevitability of the neoliberal university. As a continuation of this project, “Reworking the University” seeks to draw together academics, artists, and activists, to share and produce political visions, strategies and demands for building an alternative university in common.


“Reworking the University” seeks to generate a vibrant, political exchange by troubling the traditional format of the academic conference. To this end, we hope to produce spaces for individuals and groups from different backgrounds and across a variety of institutional boundaries to converge. While the conference will include the presentation of papers on the topic of “Reworking the University”, the committee’s selection process will prioritize workshops, roundtables, trainings, art installations, film screenings, performances, and other forms of creative engagement.


The conference organizing collective has selected several questions and themes that emerged out of the 2008 conference that we will address in various formats. If you have interest in participating, please provide us with a description of your proposed contribution. We encourage you to self-organize a session (i.e. workshop, roundtable, training, etc.) and submit it as a whole. Feel free to use the blog: to help  facilitate session organizing.


Below is a list of possible topics and we, of course, welcome additional suggestions. In submitting your ideas for sessions, please give us as much information as possible – suggestions for themes, other participants and the session format.


The Reworking the University conference coincides with “Reclaim Your Education – Global Week of Action 2009” (April 20-27):  Organizers also encourage suggestions for additional actions as part of this event.


Send your suggestions (of up to 500 words) to:


The deadline for submissions is February 10th 2009



Prospective Themes and Issues:

Confronting American Apartheid: Access to Education

The Financial Crisis and the University

Counter/Radical Cartographies and Disorientation Guides

Corporate Funding and the University

Autonomous/Open/Free Universities

The Poverty of Student Life

Post-Enlightenment Visions: Beyond the Liberal Model

Anarchism and Education

Adjunct Unionization

Organizing Across Campuses, Cities, and Regions

Post-Antioch Universities & the Antioch Legacy

Anti-militarization Movements in the University

Prisons and Education

Undergrad Education Beyond Commodification

Historical Struggles in the University: May ’68 and Beyond

Autoreducation and Tactics for Direct Action in the Workplace

Contemporary Struggles in the University: The Anomalous Wave & Movements in Italy, Greece and elsewhere

Expropriating Institutional Space

Graduate Student Unionization and Radicalizing the Academy

Anti-professionalization; Anti-disciplinarity

Student Debt

Pedagogy of the Crisis

Creating Radical/Open Access Publications and the Politics of Citation


The schedule and proceedings from last year’s conference can be found at: 



Committee on Revolutionzing the Academy (ComRAD)



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