Stanford to review nature and purpose of undergraduate education

I have recently been making the point on this blog that we need a proper review of the pedagogy of higher education, rather than its structures. It is interesting to see therefore that Stanford University in California has put together a task force to do just that. The group is made up entirely of internal academics, but given the standing of Stanford’s faculty this is a very high powered task force. It is intended that it will report in 18 months, but with an interim report coming before then.

The agenda of the task force has been set out as follows:

‘The growing social, political, economic and ecological interconnectedness of the world certainly challenges us to look more broadly at what it means to be an educated citizen. How do these changes affect what today’s student needs from an undergraduate education? What do we want our students to gain from their time on the [campus]? How do we best prepare them for local, national and global citizenship?’

It may well be instructive for us in Ireland to observe what findings and recommendations come from this group.

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5 Comments on “Stanford to review nature and purpose of undergraduate education”

  1. kevin denny Says:

    We need not only prepare our students for citizenship but also for leadership (whether in business, politics or other fields). To my mind, whatever about the former, we certainly do not do the latter.

  2. V incent Says:

    ‘task force’ without Fast Carrier just seems wrong. Wrong in the way where you have to wonder if the writer is being sarcastic.

  3. iainmacl Says:

    It seems that this is a trend! Started perhaps by Harvard, then Melbourne, then Aberdeen, now Warwick, Stanford…etc…all the rage, fitting nicely with the thesis of ‘Wannabe U’ that the more institutions try to seek out a new and distinctive identity for themselves, the more similar they become, ironically.

    Nonetheless, periodic reviews of purpose and curriculum are valuable. The trouble with the current context being that it no doubt is also being driven, in some cases, by reduced income rather than purely on the basis of academic values (however, perhaps frugality is a valid contemporary virtue!). The debate about specialism vs generalism, disciplines vs themes, is a long tradition in university history, one described in considerable detail in George Davie’s ‘The Democratic Intellect’ , for example

  4. iainmacl Says:

    interesting debate triggered by a professor at St. Andrews.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8519909.stm

  5. parasnath jaiswal Says:

    It seems that this is a trend! Started perhaps by Harvard, then Melbourne, then Aberdeen, now Warwick.


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