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The University We Want

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Organizer: Ian Butcher

Co-Organizer: Robin Sowards

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The University We Want

This seminar asks when we let ourselves engage in utopian thinking, what do we want the university to be? We recognize that the university needs to change, but what should we change it into? How should teaching and learning happen? Who should make decisions and how? What should these institutions identify as their mandate, and how should they exist within their community? What might radical approaches rooted in ecologically responsible practices or decolonization look like?


Since its formal declaration in 2010, Critical University Studies (CUS) has rapidly become a major scholarly concern, featuring in the trade papers (The Chronicle of Higher EducationInside Higher Ed), professional organizations' publications (like the MLA's and AHA's recent publications about the job markets in English and Modern Languages and History), scholarly journals, and perhaps most significantly, online discourse around higher ed. Similarly, over the last 5 years, ACLA has played host to a number of conversations about the modern university and its challenges, its seminars serving as something of a hub for major CUS conversations, such as 2015's " Critical University Studies in Times of Global Precarity" and 2018's "The Uses of the University Today." Building on those earlier conversations, this seminar looks to move the past the diagnostic mode--identifying problems, tracing their origins--toward critical envisionings of the future of the university. We are particularly interested in visions that can move beyond or draw features from outside the US R1/SLAC model to recognize global functions, successes, and solutions. Send us your vision in a 300 word abstract!

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