The peacock and the fish

That we have found the tendency to conformity in our society so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern. It raises questions about our ways of education and about the values that guide our conduct. Solomon Asch, Opinions & Social Pressure, 1955 1. It’s been a week of sitting and thinking as the presentations slide by. University strategic planning is a bit like a lava lamp: ideas rise…

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Subject outline

Above their heads, whether the visitors are sleeping, dreaming or making love, the laws keep watch. Jacques Derrida, Of Hospitality It’s that time of year when the deadline rears up for next year’s syllabus. Where I am, we call this a “subject outline”, and I’m momentarily stuck on all the ways we could take this. Who is the subject outlined here?  Whose subjectivity are we trying to confine? There’s a template, of course. It’s there to assure compliance with codes of…

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Unconverted

Once you have a conversion, that doesn’t mean game over. Your first exchange with a prospective student is only just the beginning. Nurturing leads through the enrollment funnel is a complex process. Christina Fleming, ‘4 Quick Stops on the Road to Increase Student Enrolment‘ Colleagues in university sales and marketing, we need to talk about the language that we use when we talk about student recruitment. I work alongside you, and I’m writing this respectfully and appreciatively: you are trained and…

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Unbroken

If we don’t sit with the rough edges of our journey, we forget how we made it. Kevin Gannon, The Tattoed Professor, ‘On being broken, and the kindness of others‘ 1 It’s Friday at the end of a long week of being trivially unwell. Trivially in the not-cancer sense, but disruptively in the whole-family-down-with-it sense, the “Oh, everyone has this, isn’t it dreadful, have you got the cough yet?” sense. Whole days in bed, shivering and sweating. And coughing. Having…

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Listening

Everything about a particular voter, you have to predict how that voter is going to act. Reince Priebus, MSNBC Be patient for the wolf is always with you. Malcolm Lowry,  ‘Be Patient for the Wolf‘ 1 It’s morning in Brooklyn. Below us the street is going about its business. Little ones are being walked to school, stores are rattling open, buses at ground level and planes in the sky. Yesterday, voting day, I walked the High Line listening and marvelling at the…

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Hovering

University participation has risen spectacularly. The target of 40% participation should be comfortably met by 2025. The nation has quickly moved from an elite to a mass higher education system. The second equity target has proven more challenging, but progress is being made. The relative proportion of low-SES undergraduate students rose from 16.2% to 17.7% between 2009 and 2014. In the same period, the overall number of undergraduate low-SES students increased by 44%, while other cohorts increased by 30%. Andrew Harvey, ‘Uncapping of university…

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Own goal

It’s been a dramatic and painful week around the world, and a week for scepticism about the value of “breaking news”. Here’s Australia’s contribution to the world of redundant announcements, from our busy Minister for Everything*, Craig Emerson: Abbott says no need for Gonski funding reforms –smh.com.au/opinion/politi… via @smh — Craig Emerson MP (@CraigEmersonMP) April 21, 2013 No one’s surprised at the news that if elected Tony Abbott will hang on to the cuts made to higher education without passing…

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Visions always belong to someone

The awkwardly titled Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in a Digital Age that was released this week has generated a ton of coverage, which is interesting given its niche provenance. An apostolic group of North American educational stakeholders, including some very high profile names, got together and co-authored a fairly wordy document about the values and entitlements that we might protect in the name of online learners. What I’ve found useful is that most of the people involved…

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In the grupetto

No-one sat on and everyone drove as hard as they could. Matt Stephens, Life in the Grupetto Here’s the thing about professional cycling. It’s not the lycra, it’s not the drugs, and it’s not the spectacle of Lance talking about himself in the third person as that flawed guy who did the bad things. It’s the grupetto: the paradoxical collaboration that breaks out among rivals who are struggling at the back of the race, once the whole thing starts climbing…

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The time we give each other

In the second week of the new summer course, we spent the day together in class. Because summer in Australia is already snapped in two by Christmas, a whole lot of other weirdness can go on while no one’s looking, so we’re flipping the normal timetable and going with two all-day workshops supported by online reflections and activities. Thanks to Steve Wheeler, I’ve also discovered that we’re also haphazardly and instinctively following a primer on the 10 characteristics of authentic…

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