Why higher education must be more inclusive

Why higher education must be more inclusive Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association   The Cyrus Cylinder is widely considered to be the world’s first charter of human rights. Created in 539 BC by Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, it declared religious tolerance for all.  In addition, the modern human rights movement can be traced to two key political revolutions in the late 18th century: the American Revolution and the French Revolution. The two key documents to emerge from these revolutions were the US Bill of Rights and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Both documents emphasised political and civil rights. The rights codified in these documents were not, however, initially extended to all people in those nations, most notably women and minorities. For instance, it took a civil war in the United States, and other national movements, to extend basic constitutional rights...

Creating a culture of inclusion in higher education

Creating a culture of inclusion in higher education  Patrick Blessinger  St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association   The increasing emphasis on inclusion and diversity in higher education around the world is due partly to the globalisation-internationalisation cycle (for instance, increased international immigration flows and increased global interdependencies), partly to the ongoing democratisation of higher education (for instance, increased pressure for equality-equity in all aspects of education) and partly to the emergence of lifelong learning as a human right. Within this context of intertwined factors, higher education systems around the world have now started to move beyond widening participation agendas (even though these are very important) and towards total inclusion agendas that are focused on the transformation of institutional cultures. In the forthcoming book, Inclusive Leadership in Higher Education, Lorraine Stefani and I, along with several educational scholars from around the world, examine and explain this emerging phenomenon. A paradigm shift towards inclusivity In addition to globalisation, democratisation...

The shifting landscape of doctoral education

The shifting landscape of doctoral education  Patrick Blessinger  St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association   The doctoral education landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade. One of the most important factors driving this change is the greater participation rates in graduate education from all segments of society. As such, doctoral programmes are increasingly diverse in terms of the demographic make-up of students as well as the increasing diversity of programme and degree types. Another important factor is the changing needs of society and of the education sector. Doctoral faculty and programme leaders realise the importance of making doctoral programmes relevant to the contemporary needs of society (the public beneficiary) and to students (the private beneficiary). Thus, the modernisation of doctoral programmes has become a top priority at most universities around the world. Denise Stockley and I, together with several international educational scholars, examine these and other issues in the book,...

A catalyst for change

A catalyst for change Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association The continuing universalisation of higher education reflects the growing democratisation of knowledge around the world. In this emerging paradigm, higher learning is no longer the province of the knowledge elite, but is increasingly available to all. For instance, with the move towards open educational resources, massive open online courses, open universities, and the like, access to higher learning is now available to virtually anyone. In many respects, the continued de-monopolisation of higher learning allows for greater political, social, economic and personal empowerment. Democratising knowledge for all Of course, this is not a new phenomenon. Arguably, the first significant democratisation of knowledge occurred with the advent of the Printing Revolution in the 15th century with the invention of the printing press. The wide-ranging utility of the printing press laid the foundation for future political, social, economic and scientific revolutions such...

Higher education for a hyper-connected world

Higher education for a hyper-connected world Patrick Blessinger St. John's University and HETL Association In many respects the world has become a global knowledge society of interconnected and interdependent human activity that shares increasingly common ways to communicate and interact politically, economically and socially. Yet, at the same time, the world continues to be highly diverse in these areas as well as linguistically and culturally. The world has become more homogeneous at the global level, but still remains highly heterogeneous at the local level. An emerging hyper-connected world The emerging global knowledge society, facilitated mainly by international trade and travel and ubiquitous global communications such as internet and wireless based technologies, is a space of hyper-connected human activity in which people increasingly interact with each other on a regular basis, irrespective of physical space and time boundaries. It is a hyper-connected network where everything is quickly becoming connected to everything...

Towards an inclusive global knowledge society

Towards an inclusive global knowledge society Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association The second half of the 20th century was characterised as a period of enormous expansion of higher education worldwide, especially through opening access by removing long-standing ethnic, gender and class barriers. As a result, the first half of the 21st century of higher education will most likely be characterised by its remarkable heterogeneity in terms of student diversity and institutional diversification. Higher education today reflects a system that has not only emerged into a more democratised system but also into a global power system. Core issues in democratisation The principles of democratisation impact on every part of higher education at both the macro and micro levels – not just access issues but also governance, management, policies, structures, processes and other core functions of higher education. The process of democratisation has led to a diversification of institutional...

Why global higher education must be democratised

Why Global Higher Education must be Democratised Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association In the broadest sense of the word, democratization is the application of democratic principles and the process of transitioning to a system based on such principles. Thus, the principles of democracy can be applied to any structure or system, not strictly governmental or political systems. The core universal principles of democracy include freedom, responsibility, and the equality and protection of universal human rights. Individual freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin known as personal agency – the extent to which agency is allowed to develop is the degree to which self-determination is afforded to people. A human right is a birthright that every human being is entitled to by virtue of being human – the extent to which rights are protected determines the degree to which justice is afforded to people....

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