The Idea of the University, Present and Future: Higher Education Issues under the Spotlight of World Philosophy Day (Prof Amanda Fulford and Prof Thomas Schramme)

12:15pm - 1:45pm / Thursday 21st November 2019
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: Centre for Higher Education Studies
  • Admission: Free. Please contact hlcevent@liverpool.ac.uk to register your interest.
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The CHES Seminar honours UNESCO’s celebration of the value of Philosophy and its method to stage a debate on the state of Higher Education and the concept of The University. Amanda Fulford, is Professor of Philosophy of Education, and Head of the Department of Professional Learning at Edge Hill University. Amanda will, in her paper “Back to the Future: Reflections on the Idea of the University”, start from news of a relatively rare occurrence: the establishing of a new “university”. Woolf University, recently initiated by academics from the University of Oxford, which seeks to provide a one-to-one education in the Oxford tradition of personal tutorials. Using blockchain - the technology behind crypto-currencies such as bitcoin – it plans to make the best use of human resources by moving away from the increasing precarity of many academic contracts, and will reduce costs by automating administration. The emergence of Woolf raises two key questions: First, what does this radical approach to higher education say about the institution of the university, and second, what does it say about the very idea of the university? The discussion looks to the etymology of ‘university’ as a starting point to show that the term is rooted in an idea of a universitas magistrorum et scholarium - a community of masters and scholars. But the idea of Woolf challenges this fundamental idea of what a university might, or should, consist in. The discussion will be informed by the work of the American philosopher, Stanley Cavell, in particular what he finds at stake in the idea of being in a community. Thomas Schramme, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Liverpool, will respond with his own thoughts on these issues, with a paper entitled "The University's Aim to Enable Self-Formation".

There is a short paper authored by the presenters, giving more detail about their position and argument, downloadable here.

After Amanda and Thomas introduce their ideas in turn, and finish their responses to each other, the seminar will be open for questions and comments from the audience.