Re-thinking relevant ‘problems’ for inquiry in globalized higher education

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In this presentation we will explore what makes a ‘good’ educational problem – that is, what is worth inquiring into in an educational context - and who contributes to defining that problem; who or what are the communities that have an interest in the problem? We do this specifically in relation to the existential challenges facing the world today and the relationship between the global north and south. Fundamentally, what makes a good problem and who should define it, relates to the basic question: what is the purpose of higher education? We summarise the way education problems were defined at Roskilde University and the responsibility of students in this process. We then situate this way of conceptualisng educational problems in relation to two contemporary policy drivers influencing European higher education that aim to maintain the dominance of Europe and the Global North: the European Union as the leading knowledge economy, and the rise of nationalist and xenophobic politics. This is followed by a third policy context that raises questions about the purpose of higher education – the global existential threats of water and food security, climate change, violent conflict, and the rise of racism and xenophobia. Using a case study of student experience of engaging with educational problems at RUC, we ask what does it mean, in the context of global existential threats, to define educational problems and who has an interest in the defining of these problems (who are the communities of interest)?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date7 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2019
EventConference Critical Edge Alliance 2019: Boundary Crossings in Culture, Power, and Experience: Re-imagining Higher Education - The New School , New York, United States
Duration: 6 Jun 20198 Jun 2019


ConferenceConference Critical Edge Alliance 2019
LocationThe New School
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York
OtherThe purpose of the conference is to explore contemporary issues around boundary crossing, as they relate to universities and learning, broadly conceived.<br/><br/>​This conference is dedicated to the memory of our colleague Professor L.H.M. “Lily” Ling, a founding member of the Critical Edge Alliance, who tragically passed away last year. The conference is designed in the spirit of Ling’s Silk Road Research Initiative, a research collective that pursued the re-imagination of world politics.<br/><br/>As part of that work, students and faculty from The New School (New York, NY) organized in 2013 around a shared vision: to transform the foundation that underpins today’s international system by thinking creatively about world politics.
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