What is the mission of universities?

Some time ago, I had a chat with a co-worker. His lecture contract ends this year. The department is happy with his performance. He is happy teaching, even though he has a very high teaching load. His performance is great, he is satisfied with his job. Only one factor, unrelated to productivity, is the cause…

How to Teach the Unknown

The slides are available via slideshare. On June 1st I was invited to speak as a panel member at the LELLE conference. The conference was part of the EU funded research project ‘Let’s learn to Learn’ . I titled my talk “How to teach the unknown“. A bit of a mouthful. I introduced the talk…

Shady practices in scholarly work

Sometimes when I seek distraction I scroll through the tweets mentioning #overlyhonestmethods . It is a hashtag used by scientists to admit their methods. It’s amusing, but it’s openness reveals to the reader the less well-known “dark” side of academia (@beckieport made a collection of those tweets). Not everything we do in the name of…

A plea for Academic Leadership Courses

This plea is not going to bode well with many academics. “How dare this young researcher – until now without credentials – tell us how to do our job?” might they say. But the reason is simple and everyone who is not in academia would agree with me. It is well-known that people do not quit…

The Future of Universities

Universities are bastion of knowledge, a place where experts transmit their wisdom to novices, a place where individuals can pursue their freedom and spent hours thinking about society’s problems and inventing solutions after years of research. Or at least so I thought when I was young. I went ahead and decided to do a Ph.D. At that time, I was…

Boundary Spanners in Education

Boundary spanners search for information in one group (sending group), transform the information, and transmit it to another group (receiving group), which incorporates it into their daily routines. In the picture below the red square in the center is a boundary spanner, as he is part of the red circle nut has also connections (lines)…

The Wicked Problem in Higher Education: Conclusion

In the first two posts on this series about the wicked problem in higher education (introduction, stakeholder perspective) I have tried to paint the picture. Let’s recap: A wicked problem is a step up from an ill-structured problem, as the solution is not easily determined. Depending on how the problem is defined, the possible pool of solutions…

The Wicked Problem in Higher Education: Case studies

After looking at the wicked problem from the perspective of different stakeholders, this post will deal with a couple of examples of how universities could be organized differently. In no way I’m claiming that one of those universities has the answer, but it is simply a series of examples. Maastricht University, the Netherlands I begin…

The Wicked Problem in Higher Education

While this post is not related to my main research effort, quality of education is important for me. I haven’t enjoyed high school and have a pretty sceptical view on its ability to prepare pupils for anything. My experiences with most freshmen has only reinforced this image.  Over time, also what I have seen in universities,…