Framing the Conversation About the Knowledge Society John Hawkins Deane Neubauer Senior Seminar EWC-MQA October 21-23, 2007
Some Issues to Keep in Mind • Higher Education is in a highly dynamic state and it is hardly uni-directional • The rates of change for HEIs and the nature of those changes may be more rapid than we are accustomed to • At the core of much of this change are all those “things” that make up the emergent knowledge society itself, e.g. new technologies, new languages, novel notions of “connectivity”, information/knowledge overload, “haves and have-nots”, social networks, etc. • As we talk, here are six other “things” to keep in mind as frames or context elements for our discussions
Exponential-ism • The most extreme of knowledge theorists, e.g. Kurzweil (The Law of Accelerating Returns), posit the exponential growth of information, knowledge, and computing • By these arguments we stand on the threshold of vast and significant changes in how we create, use, transmit information and communicate • The critical questions are whether such changes will change the university as we know it (As seemingly they must!) and how?
Slipping Away • What are the dominant and pervasive change models in higher education? • Is change positive and purposive? or • Is change more reactive and less conscious? • What is the relationship between our institutional change processes and their linkage to social change needs? Who is in charge?
Mission Change and Creep: what should higher education Do? • Arguably “teaching, research, and service” are all changing—in kind and in terms of their relationships to each other • To what extent will HEIs take on missions that align with “who will pay”? • How will HEIs be brought into the great questions of our age: global inequality, conflict and peace, climate change and sea level rise?
The “Student” The world faces at least thee modal demographic patterns—all evident in Asia • Growing older • Staying younger • Steady maturity in persistent population growth • Devising education, including life-long education, to meet alignment and capacity needs across populations • Revising the student with respect to: gender, age, social resources, and repetitive learning needs, and longer stays in university • Shifting from a “teaching paradigm” to a “learning paradigm”
The Persistent Ambiguity of the “Alignment” Issue • The complex issues embedded in the “vocationalization” of higher education • The marketplace as an area of constant change and mixed signals • How “reactive” should HEIs be in this interaction?
Characteristics of Model • HEIs created own industries off-site; royalties fed back to university • Rise of multi-disciplinary curriculum and research centers • Economic crisis further differentiates research centers in favor of market attractiveness • Value of research is to the degree it creates wealth--research innovation web
Characteristics of Model • Shift away from “a research tradition that has been independent of outside interests (Korten) • Context of: declining public funding, rise of neo-liberalism, concern with alignment with “real world” • Industry support of shift as cost-effective for development teams
Role of Students in New Model • Both graduate and undergraduates now regularly participate in research: UC over 50% of UG involved • Inequality that has always characterized these relations is more pronounced • Exchange system with industry--students as gifts to industry
UCLA’s Clean Tech Project • UCLA/USC; City of LA; NSF; Chamber of Commerce; various firms in LA area • Bringing together of multi-disciplinary centers at UCLA to create new technologies for commercialization • Goal of job creation • New IDP for students; job alignment
Partners • UCLA; USC; Cal Tech • Mayor of LA: Community Redevelopment Agency; LA Business Council; LA Department of Water and Power • Several Business in the LA Area
Role of UCLA “Centers • C Energy, Science and Technology • C Embedded Network Sensing • C Climate Change and the Environ. • C Climate Change and Solutions • C Corporate Environmental Solutions
Students • New IDP Established: Leaders in Sustainability • MA Degree: Science and Business • Funding from NSF • Job Alignment
Can Everyone do This? • It is expensive if done in the dominant paradigm • But an emerging trend pioneered by MIT and others point to a new paradigm • MIT Open Source; China Open Resources for Education (CORE) • The Million Book Project; Dspace; Google Library Project; etc.
Enduring Questions of Public and Private • What prevailing notions of public and private, state and market, will follow this recent ascendant period of neoliberalism? • Who are leaders and who are followers in social discourse over “the public good” as it embraces higher education?