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Annika Strauss

This article puts forward an experiential teaching method for becoming aware of, getting access to, and giving meaning to the sensory experiences that constitute and shape learning processes during social anthropological fieldwork. While social anthropologists use all their senses in the field, the preparation and processing of fieldwork are limited to certain senses. In accordance with the academic habitus, it is common to discuss theoretical texts pre-fieldwork and almost exclusively rely on making meaning of written fieldwork material afterwards. While cognitively produced textual sources and techniques of verbalisation (e.g. presentations) are extensively focused on, the body, emotional and sensory experiences are often overlooked in academic discourse and practices. The proposed experiential method integrates the dimensions of sensory experiences in classes, colloquiums and workshops, and brings into practice a teaching approach that includes the analysis of embodied knowledge and stresses its importance as an ethnographic source.

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Relocalising academic literacy

diversity, writing and collective learning in an international Master’s programme

Nana Clemensen and Lars Holm

This article contributes to the continuing discussion about academic literacy in international higher education. Approaching international study programmes as temporary educational contact zones, marked by a broad diversity in students’ educational and discursive experiences, we examine the negotiation and relocalisation of academic literacy among students of the international master’s programme, Anthropology of Education and Globalisation (AEG), University of Aarhus, Denmark. The article draws on an understanding of academic literacy as a local practice situated in the social and institutional contexts in which it appears. Based on qualitative interviews with eleven AEG-students, we analyse students’ individual experiences of, and perspectives on, the academic literacy practices of this study programme. Our findings reveal contradictory understandings of internationalism and indicate a learning potential for students in allowing a more linguistically and discursively diverse dialogue on knowledge production in academia.

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Introduction

Constructing and practising student engagement in changing institutional cultures

Lisa Garforth and Anselma Gallinat

This introduction sets the theoretical and historical context for this special issue on student engagement. Drawing on literatures about audit culture, governance and change in higher education institutions, and theories of practice, institutions and organisation, it sheds light on the current era of English higher education. The Browne Review led to the withdrawal in 2010 of the majority of the government teaching grant for English universities, and it tripled tuition fees in 2012. In the post-Browne era, ‘engagement’ emerged as an organising concept linked in multiple ways to other objects and discourses, in particular university league tables and measures of student satisfaction; and it was swiftly and often unreflexively translated into visions for developing learning and teaching. This special issue focuses on this specific shift in policy and discourse, exploring institutional change and everyday experience, and reflecting on the power and limits of policies.

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Capacity-building projects in African higher education

Issues of coloniality in international academic collaboration

Hanne Kirstine Adriansen and Lene Møller Madsen

This article studies issues of coloniality in so-called capacity-building projects between universities in Africa and Scandinavia. Even fifty years after independence, the African higher education landscape is a product of the colonial powers and subsequent uneven power relations, as argued by a number of researchers. The uneven geography and power of knowledge exist also between countries that were not in a direct colonial relationship, which the word coloniality implies. Based on interviews with stakeholders and on our own experiences of capacity-building projects, this article examines how such projects affect teaching, learning, curriculum, research methodology and issues of quality enhancement. We analyse the dilemmas and paradoxes involved in this type of international collaboration and conclude by offering ways to decolonise capacity-building projects.

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Junaid Rana

My Ethnography of the University (EUI) course 'Muslims in America' introduces undergraduate students to the racialisation of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. at large, and in the University in particular. In this article, I describe how an anti-racist pedagogy coupled with student ethnographic research can yield a rich learning process. Beginning with one of the key debates in the scholarship on Muslims in the United States, I introduce students to the productive ways in which a multiracial history of American Islam can inform their ethnographic research. Additionally, I elaborate the potential for student research to transform university policy. The University offers a valuable ethno- graphic site for the critical study of the history and place of Muslims in U.S. society, politics and culture.

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Cary Bennett

Assessment rubrics are being promoted and introduced into tertiary teaching practices on the grounds that they are an efficient and reliable tool to evaluate student performance effectively and promote student learning. However, there has been little discussion on the value of using assessment rubrics in higher education. Rather, they are being gradually and (seemingly) uncritically mainstreamed into tertiary teaching expectations and practices, often through professional development workshops. This article investigates the pedagogic value and validity of criteria-based assessment rubrics and the instrumental rationality and goals informing them. Drawing on a small body of criticism, the article explores an emerging discourse that contends that assessment rubrics are not capable of measuring and evaluating complex thinking skills. Rather, they limit the independent responses of students and the professional judgement of markers, encourage compliance jeopardising student commitment and creativity, and promote a false sense of objectivity in the marking and grading of student work.

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Bettinal Lien Dahl and Åsa Lindberg-Sand

The aim of the Bologna Process is to make higher education systems across Europe more transparent. It is crucial for this purpose that confusion concerning the characteristics of the systems should be replaced by conformity. But, as we will show, conformity brought about at one level may create confusion at another. The curricular aspect of the Bologna Process focuses on a shift to outcome-based and student-centred programmes. Syllabi should now be based on intended learning outcomes (ILOs) and should be adjusted to general level descriptors for qualifications. However, the Bologna documents give no explicit recommendations about the use of grading scales. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the reforms of higher education induced by the Bologna process included a change of grading scales and referred to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Through these three case studies, we describe and analyse the political process and argumentation underpinning the decisions to change the grading scales in each country. This includes the problems, both experienced and perceived, with the old grading scales, the various national assessment traditions and the new grading scales. The purpose of the change was not the same in each country, but the ongoing adaptation to a seven-step grading scale was thought to ease the international recognition of the national grades, making mobility easier. Though a seven-step grading scale was implemented in both Danish and Norwegian higher education and also by an increasing number of Swedish higher education institutions, the translation of grades only works on a superficial level. The grading scales designed are fundamentally different as classification systems; they attach different numerical values to grades with identical labels and they relate differently to norm- and standards-referenced judgements of learning outcomes. The information condensed in similar grades from the three countries cannot be equated. The vision of simple transparency turns out to be an illusion.

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Learning from a Contested Project in the Netherlands

The Clash over the Amelisweerd Forest, 1957–1982

Odette van de Riet and Bert Toussaint

The Amelisweerd case, a highly debated highway network expansion project from the late 1970s, has been widely portrayed as a symbolic mismatch between government and entrenched stakeholder opposition. The aim of this article is to learn from the case by unraveling the policy process using a multiactor policy analysis model. The result is that the policy process scores poorly on all the three applied criteria, and this has had a discernible negative effect on the level of stakeholder support for the policy proposals. Since then, major changes have taken place in the planning processes of infrastructural projects in the Netherlands. However, the potential for learning from Amelisweerd is much wider, as since the 1960s public projects are increasingly subject to public scrutiny and comment. Careful analysis from iconic cases like Amelisweerd can help current infrastructural policymakers and planning project managers as they develop fresh policies and projects.

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Roar Høstaker and Agnete Vabø

Research and higher education are, to a greater extent, being governed and evaluated by other than fellow scholars. These changes are discussed in relation to Gilles Deleuze's notion of a transition from 'societies of discipline' to what he called 'societies of control'. This involves a shift from pyramidshaped organisations, built upon authority, to a set of lateral controls and hybrid power structures. This theory and its logic are compared with other theories that have been used to explain such changes in higher education: New Public Management, new modes of knowledge production, academic capitalism, trust and the role of higher education in social reproduction. The development of lateral controls is analysed in relation to the de-coupling of the state as the guarantor of academic quality, the changing status of the academic disciplines and scientific employees, managerialism, the new modularised study programmes and the changing position of external stakeholders. The article, drawing on empirical studies from higher education in Norway, suggests possible affects of the change to 'societies of control' on research, teaching and learning in higher education.

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The Good Citizen

problematising citizenship in the social sciences curriculum

Judith Burnett and Erika Cudworth

This article explores the critical pedagogical issues that emerge when attempting to develop active citizenship among undergraduates as an integral part of the student experience. It presents part of the findings from a C-SAP-funded project (Gifford et al. 2006) that we undertook with a partner higher education institution. This article explores our particular contribution carried out in a post-1992 London higher education institution. Our innovations in the social sciences undergraduate curriculum aimed at creating situations in which students would explore the diversity of citizenship in educational settings, namely, a local school, a further education college, and Summerhill School (founded by A.S. Neill). The research leads us to conclude that citizenship is a problem of praxis influenced and shaped by the local-global contexts of communities with diverse heritages of meaning, stratified social settings, and specific local and historical characteristics. This challenges the notions underpinning the Crick curriculum with its national orientation, and demonstrates the need to sensitise citizenship learning experiences to the needs of students and staff embedded in their social contexts. Such an approach can be understood as a form of situated citizenship characterised by active engagement with an assumption of heterogeneity which is positively sensitive to diversity.