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Wednesday, 01 November 2017 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

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The Coming of the Ecological University

Starts: Friday, 24 November 2017

Professor Ronald Barnett, Emeritus Professor, Institute of Education, University of London

The ecological university is coming and it is already embryonically with us. By ‘ecological’ is meant here not just a reference to the natural environment but to the very many ecosystems in which today’s university is implicated. Whether it acknowledges it or not, now several major ecosystems of the world are having their effects on the university and, in turn, the university is influenced by them and negotiates its way through them. I identify seven ecosystems, those of the economy, knowledge, social institutions, learning, persons, culture and the natural environment.

At present, attention is given primarily to the ecosystem of the economy. Some - advocates of entrepreneurialism - play it up; others - critics of neoliberalism and cognitive capitalism – have only pessimism to offer and a sense that the university is ‘in ruins’. On both readings, a corollary of this undue weight being given to the claims of the economy result in a neglect of the other (six) ecosystems. As a result, there is a general downplaying of the potential that the university now possesses to assist the world in the twenty-first century and a myopia about the spaces that may be opening afresh for the university.

The ecological university is a university that is precisely aware of its many interconnections with the world and has a concern for those ecosystems, and strives to do what it can to strengthen and advance them. Phrases such as ‘civic engagement’, ‘the public good’ and ‘the student as a global citizen’ are indications of the emergence of this concern for the total world. At the moment, though, these developments are haphazard, and lack an over-arching narrative. I shall aim, in my lecture, to explore this situation and make a pitch precisely for the coming of the ecological university. 

Category: Lectures and Seminars
Date: Friday, 24 November 2017 - Friday, 24 November 2017
Time: 1pm
Venue : Eden 130

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