There is an alternative: A report on an action research project to develop a framework for co-operative higher education

in Learning and Teaching
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  • 1 University of Lincoln mneary@lincoln.ac.uk
  • 2 University of Lincoln jwinn@lincoln.ac.uk
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Abstract

This report provides an interim account of a participatory action research project undertaken during 2015–16. The research brought together scholars, students and expert members of the co-operative movement to design a theoretically informed and practically grounded framework for co-operative higher education that activists, educators and the co-operative movement could take forward into implementation. Our dual roles in the research were as founding members of the Social Science Centre, Lincoln, an autonomous co-operative for higher education constituted in 2011 (), and as professional researchers working at the University of Lincoln. The immediate context for the research was, and remains, the ‘assault’ on universities in the U.K. (), the ‘gamble’ being taken with the future of higher education (), and the ‘pedagogy of debt’ () that has been imposed through the removal of public funding of teaching and the concurrent tripling of tuition fees ().

Contributor Notes

Mike Neary is Professor of Sociology in the School of Political and Social Sciences, University of Lincoln. He was the Dean of Teaching and Learning at Lincoln, 2007–2014. Mike’s research is informed by Marxist value theory of labour. His current writing applies this theory to a higher education context, with a focus on student and academic labour. Mike was made an honorary life member of the University of Lincoln’s Students’ Union in 2014 for his work with students. He is a founding member of the Social Science Centre, Lincoln, a co-operative providing free public higher education since 2011. E-mail: mneary@lincoln.ac.uk

Joss Winn is Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader in Education at the University of Lincoln. His research focuses on co-operative education, workplace democracy, academic labour and alternative forms of higher education. In 2011, he co-founded the Social Science Centre, Lincoln, a co-operative for higher education and is a Director of the Lincolnshire Co-operative Development Agency. E-mail: jwinn@lincoln.ac.uk

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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