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Regions and higher education in difficult times

The concept of the learning region is central to the way of problem-solving. Like 'lifelong learning' the term is used variously and carelessly. This book explores the meaning and importance of the learning region. Not all universities warm to such local-regional engagement. The unwise pride of global forces and nations undermines it; but even the most prestigious and 'global' university has a local footprint and ever-watchful neighbours. The book arises from the work of PASCAL, an international non-governmental network Observatory. Its name exploits echoes of philosophical depth as well as technical modernity of language, taking the concepts of Place, Social Capital and Learning together with the vital connecting conjunctions of And, to define its mission. At the heart of the story is PASCAL's experience of working with multiple regions and their universities on their experience with engagement. The book examines in turn several central strands mainly of policy but also of process that are illuminated by the PASCAL Universities and Regional Engagement (PURE) project. The PURE processes and outcomes, despite limitations and severe disruption by forces located outside the region and often too the nation, show the potential gain from international networking and shared activities. The book also discusses internal arrangements within the administration before turning to external relations: both with the university and tertiary sector and with other stakeholders in the private and third sectors. Regional innovation systems require entrepreneurialism inside government, higher education and training, as well as within industry from small and medium enterprises to multinationals.

Community–university research partnerships in global perspectives

This book is based on a three-year international comparative study on poverty reduction and sustainability strategies . It provides evidence from twenty case studies around the world on the power and potential of community and higher education based scholars and activists working together in the co-creation of transformative knowledge. Opening with a theoretical overview of knowledge, democracy and action, the book is followed by analytical chapters providing lessons learned and capacity building, and on the theory and practice of community university research partnerships. It also includes lessons on models of evaluation, approaches to measuring the impact and an agenda for future research and policy recommendations. The book overviews the concept of engaged scholarship and then moves to focus on community-university research partnerships. It is based on a global empirical study of the role of community-university research partnerships within the context of poverty alleviation, the creation of sustainable societies and, broadly speaking, the Millennium Development Goals. The book frames the contribution of community-university research partnerships within a larger knowledge democracy framework, linking this practice to other spaces of knowledge democracy. These include the open access movement, new acceptance of the methods of community-based and participatory research and the call for cognitive justice or the need for epistemologies of the Global South. It takes a particular look at the variety of structures that have been created in the various universities and civil society research organizations to facilitate and enhance research partnerships.

Universities have historically generated knowledge outside of specific local contexts. These pure research methodologies produce knowledge that is carefully partitioned from the practical realities of a phenomenon. This book suggests a world in peril requires us to question this approach, particularly in the field of environmental sustainability. Environmental health affects everyone and requires integrated and interdisciplinary answers to complex issues. This requires bold action and a radical take on the world. Derived from the Latin radix or “root”, a radical spirit is one that searches for meaning and affirms community.” The community, in this case, is an environment that supports diverse life.

Community engagement and lifelong learning
Author: Peter Mayo

In this broad sweep, Mayo explores dominant European discourses of higher education, in the contexts of different globalisations and neoliberalism, and examines its extension to a specific region. It explores alternatives in thinking and practice including those at the grassroots, also providing a situationally grounded project of university–community engagement. Signposts for further directions for higher education lifelong learning, with a social justice purpose, are provided.

International Perspectives

It is important to address the key social and cultural theorisations around issues such as freedom, democracy, knowledge and instrumentalism that impact the university and its relationship with and to the arts. This book maps out various ways in which the arts and creative practices are manifest in contemporary university-based adult education work, be it the classroom, in research or in the community. It is divided into three sections that reflect the normative structure or 'three pillars' of the contemporary university: teaching, research and service. The focus is on a programme that stems from the university's mission and commitment to encouraging its graduates to become more engaged citizens, willing to think critically and creatively about issues of global import, social justice and inequality. The Storefront 101 course, a free University of Calgary literature course for 'non-traditional' adult learners, aims to involve students in active dialogic processes of learning and civic and cultural engagement. Using the concept of pop-up galleries, teacher education is discussed. The book contextualises the place and role of the arts in society, adult education, higher education and knowledge creation, and outlines current arts-based theories and methodologies. It provides examples of visual and performing arts practices to critically and creatively see, explore, represent, learn and discover the potential of the human aesthetic dimension in higher education teaching and research. A more holistic and organic approach to lifelong learning is facilitated by a 'knowing-through-doing' approach, which became foregrounded as a defining feature of this project.