Joy Jarvis and Karen Clark (2020), Conversations to Change Teaching St. Albans: Critical Publishing, 96pp., ISBN: 9781913063771
Penny Welch and Susan Wright
The focus of this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences is on institutional practices that shape and limit students’ and academics’ identities and how these restrictions can be overcome.
A migrant academic's experiences of the visa regime in the Global North
This article examines (im)obility in the global visa regime through the experiences of a Global South academic working in the Global North. Drawing on an autoethnographic account of a visa application, this article outlines the ways in which the global visa regime negatively affects a Global South academic's life. Visa regulations constitute a particular Global South academic subject in the Global North, one whose academic career is characterised by uncertainty and anxiety, as visas can limit access to promotions and to fieldwork and research opportunities. Visa experiences can thus contribute to alienation and non-belonging of Global South scholars in academia, while impacting knowledge production and teaching.
Caitlin Hindle, Vikki Boliver, Ann Maclarnon, Cheryl McEwan, Bob Simpson, and Hannah Brown
Targets set by the UK Office for Students require highly academically selective UK universities to enrol a greater percentage of students identified as least likely to participate in higher education. Such students are typically at a disadvantage in terms of levels of academic preparedness and economic, cultural and social capital. Drawing on eighteen interviews with first-generation students at Durham University, we identify five sites of pressure: developing a sense of belonging within the terms of an elite university culture, engagement in student social activities, financial worries, concerns about academic progress, and self-transformation. Based on these insights, we argue that support for first-generation scholars will require that universities recognise and redress elitist cultures that discourage applications from prospective first-generation scholars and prevent those who do enrol from having the best educational and all-round experience.
Reflections on the diversity and inclusion discourse in predominantly White institutions in the United States
Using the autoethnographic case study method, this article examines how my positionality as a foreign-born faculty member intersects with the institutional rhetoric of diversity and inclusion present in many predominantly White institutions. My vignettes show that foreign-born faculty, although contributing to the representation of diversity numbers, are positioned as knowledge providers in the discussions about the ‘global’, the ‘cultural’ and sometimes the ‘racial’, thus, ironically reinforce the embedded White institutional culture. This article argues that foreign-born faculty members could make use of their cultural positions to unpack the classed and racial culture on campus and to cultivate students’ anthropological sensibility. In other words, foreign-born faculty are in a unique position of recognising the limitations of the current diversity and inclusion rhetoric in predominantly White institutions (PWI), but also, they have the potential of decentring the White, middle-class cultural norms. This article concludes with some pedagogical implications.
Addressing anthropogenic climate change in social science classrooms
This article outlines pedagogical practices and methodologies for increasing student engagement in the classroom and in the broader community on the topic of climate change. The emphases are placed on (1) preliminary assessments of student understanding and emotional responses to the topic of climate change, (2) assignments that enable student groups to assess and increase campus-wide awareness of various aspects of climate change, and (3) public engagement and service-learning opportunities that allow students to expand their impact beyond the local campus and into their broader community. These practices have proven effective, for large format lecture courses as well as smaller seminar-style courses, in encouraging student participation, overcoming apathy and motivating student effort and action far beyond what can be stimulated by traditional classroom assignments and assessments.
Empirical evidence from two cases
Matias Thuen Jørgensen and Lena Brogaard
University educators increasingly face groups or classes of students with diverse academic levels, challenging a ‘one size fits all’ approach to teaching. In this article, we examine whether and how differentiated teaching, especially the concept of student readiness, can be applied to assess and respond to academic diversity, exemplified by two different cases; a methods lecture series and a peer-evaluation seminar. Each case presents specific tools, activities and techniques inspired by differentiated teaching that may be replicated or used for inspiration in similar contexts. The results include better fulfilment of intended learning outcomes, teaching that is perceived to be meaningful by students and educators, and a more inclusive learning environment. The two cases demonstrate the utility of differentiated teaching in higher education, challenging the prevalent assumption that differentiated teaching does not apply well to a university setting.
Matias Thuen Jørgensen and Lena Brogaard
Developing community-facing learning in the social sciences
This article will propose a more authentic learning environment for students of the social sciences, one that is not only learner-centred but community-centred. Drawing on the principles of social pedagogy, cultural-based learning, place-based learning and co-production, this article advocates engaging community groups as co-producers in the generation of knowledge, enhancing learning within – and beyond – the university. By not using the community simply as a source of research data or placement opportunities, the curriculum is more likely to produce reflexive graduates better equipped to engage with complex global problems, enhancing their global citizenship and that of the wider community.
Jessica Belue Buckley and Søren S. E. Bengtsen
Janet Haddock-Fraser, Peter Rands and Stephen Scoffham (2018), Leadership for Sustainability in Higher Education. London: Bloomsbury, 221pp., ISBN: 978-1-350-00612-6
Sónia Cardoso, Orlanda Tavares, Cristina Sin and Teresa Carvalho (eds) (2020), Structural and Institutional Transformations in Doctoral Education: Social, Political and Student Expectations. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 410pp., ISBN: 978-3-030-38045-8