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Davydd J. Greenwood

This article summarises/analyses the higher education reforms proposed by the 'Spellings Commission' in the United States on quality assurance and accountability, and draws attention to the links I see between these reform proposals and the Bologna Process. I trace a brief history of the Spellings Commission and analyse it in order to produce questions for discussion about the 'parallel' processes of reform in higher education in the U.S. and Europe.

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Davydd J. Greenwood

Richard Arum and Josipa Roska (2011) Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 259 pp., 978-0-226-02855-2 (hbk).

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Davydd J. Greenwood and Morten Levin

The core argument is that social science must re-examine its mission and praxis in order to be a significant player in future higher education. This article reviews the results and prospects arising from a four-year international project. Originating in Greenwood and Levin's concern about the social sciences, the project, funded by the Ford Foundation, was organised as an action research network of social scientists. Meeting several times over four years, the assembled group of scholars shifted focus from the future of the social sciences to broader questions of the future of higher education as a whole and the possible role of the social sciences. Four issues emerged as vital future challenges:

• Collective denial among academics that knowledge production (research and teaching) is a collaborative effort and that individual academics depend on and are responsible for contributing to the health of the academic collectivity.

• Academic freedom, conceived as an individual right is under siege and will have to be reconstructed to include both individual rights and collective and institutional responsibilities and rights in higher education.

• An appreciation of the multiplicity of teaching, research and organisational factors that interact to constitute healthy universities is lacking in most quarters.

• Technologies of accountability now drive the development of higher education towards a focus on an artificially narrow metrics of knowledge-generation and away from inquiry into what constitutes relevant and sustainable knowledge-generation practices.

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Susan Wright and Davydd J. Greenwood

This special issue focuses on universities run by and for the benefit of students, academics and the public. Three contributions cover existing initiatives from ‘free’ universities and other long-established institutions that are fee-free and where students and faculty are central to their operations and governance.1 Other contributions focus on using tried and tested participatory organisational structures to create alternatives to the deteriorating state of universities: one sets out ways universities could be run by ‘beneficial owners’; the other reports on a project to design cooperative universities.

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Susan Wright and Davydd J. Greenwood

After analysing the organisational pathologies and societal ills created by the neoliberalisation of universities, the article engages in an organisational critique of the pseudo-business model currently in use. It poses as a solution the re-creation of universities as trusts, with a model of beneficiary ownership, a matrix form of organisation and renewed relations with society. For inspiration it looks to beneficiaryrun organisations on the model of the John Lewis Partnership or the Mondragón University. The article explains why such beneficial matrix organisations are superior to current universities and how they offer an opportunity to recreate universities for the public good.

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Davydd J. Greenwood, Gaye Tuchman and Julia Ganterer

Michael Billig (2013) Learn to Write Badly: How to Succeed in the Social Sciences

Review by Davydd J. Greenwood

Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Laura T. Hamilton (2013) Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality

Review by Gaye Tuchman

Christy Johansson and Peter Felten (2014) Transforming Students: Fulfilling the Promise of Higher Education

Review by Julia Ganterer

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Part 1: Active learning and intercultural competence

Action research reform of a US study abroad programme in Seville, Spain

Eva Infante Mora and Davydd J. Greenwood

CASA-Sevilla is a study abroad programme for US university students with an advanced level of Spanish. In recent years, new patterns of social behaviour among students (mainly the use of technology and low-cost flights) aggravated their difficulties in establishing contacts with the local society, which often resulted in the perpetuation of stereotypes. The programme goals of cultural immersion and language improvement were therefore at risk. Through an action research and a participatory organisational development process, CASA-Sevilla stakeholders carried out a profound reform of the programme, based on the principles of active pedagogy, mentoring and community-engaged learning. This section illustrates this reform process, with its highlights and shadows.

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Eva Infante Mora, Davydd J. Greenwood and Melina Ivanchikova

This special issue is devoted to a study of an action research-based reform of a US university study abroad programme to make it a genuine intercultural immersion experience. The four-year collaborative reform process combined participatory organisational redesign, the development of a comprehensive active learning approach and the teaching of intercultural competence through ethnographic immersion and community engagement in Seville, Spain. The case is an example of the development of intercultural competencies through guided behavioural change, of action research to reform higher education programmes and of active learning combined with formative and summative evaluation. The reader will learn about the experiences of the staff, faculty and mentors in the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA)-Sevilla study abroad programme and those of the sponsoring US universities as they together achieved a fundamental reform of a decades-old study abroad immersion programme. This special issue has many authors because this was a collaborative action-research project with continuous group work and brainstorming. The authors’ names are placed in the sections where the authorship is clear, but, as befits a collaboration, many of the ideas are the result of the combined thinking of all the authors. Authorship of the various sections has been allocated mainly to clarify for readers the most relevant author to contact to learn more about particular dimensions of the process. The guest editors took on the editorial duties on behalf of this larger group.