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Today we look inside an example of destabilizing knowledge hierarchies inside an American university. With me is Patricia Parker. Patricia helped set up the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The graduate certificate reveals the paradoxes of challenging dominant forms of knowledge inside one of the very sites, the university, responsible for reproducing colonial knowledge structures.

Patrcia Parker is chair of the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina where she is also an associate professor of critical organizational communication studies and director of the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research. She is currently finishing a book entitled, Living Ella Baker’s Legacy, which documents a multiyear participatory research study with African American girls in under-resourced communities leading social justice activist campaigns.

She will speak at the CIES Symposium later this month.

Citation: Parker, Patricia, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 90, podcast audio, October 9, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/parker/

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How did American universities end up being seen as the best in the world?

My guest today, David Labaree, argues it was the very decentralized and autonomous structure of the higher education system that allowed universities to develop an entrepreneurial ethos that drove American higher education to become the best. Today, America’s universities and colleges produce the most scholarship, earn the most Nobel prizes, hold the largest endowments, and attract the most esteemed students and scholars from around the world

The messy structure of American higher education was not planned, however. There was no strong state or strong church directing the system from above. Rather higher education developed in a free market where survival was never guaranteed. Such a system produced unintended consequences that would make American higher education the envy of the world.

David Labaree is a professor of Education at Stanford University. His new book is A Perfect Mess: The unlikely ascendancy of American Higher Education, which was published by the University of Chicago Press earlier this year.

Citation: Labaree, David, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 77, podcast audio, June 12, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/davidlabaree/

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A group of Yale graduate students are protesting their labor conditions as teachers. They are demanding the administration recognize them as a union and negotiate their contract as full employees of the university. After all, graduate students teach many undergraduate classes.

But the administration is stalling, waiting for Donald Trump to appoint an anti-union National Labor Relations Board that, they hope, will throw out the union’s right to exist.

My guest today is Jennifer Klein, a professor of history at Yale University who has followed the unionization efforts closely. She’s written a recent New York Times op-ed detailing the events at Yale.

The fight over graduate student’s right to unionize at Yale is a microcosm of the reliance on precarious work across the American higher education system.

You can find the solidarity statement in support of the graduate students here.

On May 22, Local 33, the union representing the Yale graduate students, protested during the Yale commencement.

For the past 7 weeks, FreshEd has focused on global learning metrics. Although there is much more to say on that subject, I think it’s time to look at something completely different.

This week Sachi Edwards joins me to talk about interfaith dialogue initiatives in US higher education. The ideas of religious identity, religious oppression and religious privilege are often overlooked when we think about social justice.

Sachi wants to change that.

Sachi Edwards is an Adjunct Professor in Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education, at the College of Education, University of Maryland. She’s recently published her first book entitled Critical Conversations about Religion: Promises and pitfalls of a social justice approach to interfaith dialogue (Information Age Publishing, 2016).

Today on the show: social networks analysis in educational research.

My guest is Robin Shields. Robin is an Associate Professor at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. His research broadly investigates the globalization of education, examining patterns of convergence and differentiation in educational policy and practice. He particularly focuses on the innovative application of research methods such as social network analysis and multilevel modeling to address key theoretical debates in the field. He has applied these methods to the study of international higher education and international development education.

On today’s show we discuss some of his work looking at twitter feeds of world class universities, which can be found in the February 2016 issue of Higher Education.

Universities in the US are generally staffed by two types of people: those who teach and those who manage. Professors on the one hand and administrators on the other. But a growing class of administrators has emerged: those you blend scholarship and administration into one. My guests today, Bernhard Streitwieser and Anthony Ogden, call this new class of administrator “Scholar-Practitioners.” These types of employees often hold PhDs, use research to inform their practical work in administrative offices, and contribute to scholarly debates on the internationalization of higher education. Yet, since these types of employees are not in academic positions, the knowledge they produce is often seen to be of a lower quality than that produced by professors.

Bernhard Streitwieser and Anthony Ogden have recently published a co-edited volumethat explores the many issues of scholar-practitioners. Their book highlights the history, challenges, and personal stories of scholar-practitioners around the US. Ultimately Bernhard and Anthony argue that scholar-practitioners are a valuable part of both the administrative side of universities because they incorporate theory into practice on a daily basis and contribute to scholarly debates within the field of international higher education.

Bernhard Streitwieser is an Assistant Professor of International Education at The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Anthony Ogden is currently the executive director of Education Abroad and Exchanges and an adjunct assistant professor in Educational Policy and Evaluation Studies at the University of Kentucky.  In May he’ll move to Michigan State University.

I spoke with Bernhard and Anthony during the annual Comparative and International Education Conference in early March.

Competition within and across universities is so common that it may not seem like a big deal. Professors compete for tenure. Students compete to get into a best universities. And universities compete for rankings.

But where does this competition come from and what effects is it having on higher education systems?

My guest today is Prof. Rajani Naidoo, professor in higher education management at the University of Bath. She recently edited a special issue of the British Journal of the Sociology of Education looking at what she calls the “competition fetish” in higher education. The special issue, which comes out later this year, brings together articles that show the varieties of competition and the various ways actors channel, reproduce, internalize and secure competition logics. Some of the articles address the consequences of competition.

Prof. Naidoo presented some of the ideas discussed here in her Worldviews lecture. 

Citation: Naidoo, Rajani, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 20, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/rajaninaidoo/

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Yesterday, the globalization and education special interest group hosted a keynote address at the comparative and international education society’s annual conference, which was held this year in Vancouver. I’m going to play the audio of the hour long keynote address, which was given by André Mazawi. Professor Mazawi works in the department of educational studies at the University of British Columbia. His talk is entitled “The location of globalization: on building dwelling thinking higher education.

Consider this opening paragraph to an article in University World News early this year:

Many Asian countries have been setting ambitious goals to expand and improve their higher education sectors to respond to their growing aspirational middle class and as a result are on the way to catching up with and even overtaking the best higher education systems of the West.

Indeed, the Institute of International Education’s latest report on global education research entitled “Asia: The next higher education superpower?” finds that the total number of universities and tertiary graduates in Asia outnumber those in North America and Europe.

From the viewpoint of many Western policymakers and media elite, the rise of Asia in terms of education is understood both as an opportunity and source of anxiety. On the one hand, countries such as Australia view the rise of Asia as an opportunity to expand trade, increase student mobility, and grow research collaborations. On the other hand, as Asia becomes a dominate global education player, some Western governments — and universities — fear they will loose out to their Asian counterparts.

How do we understand these mixed feelings?

The guest on this show of FreshEd is Fazal RizviProfessor in Education at the University of Melbourne. He has a forthcoming book chapter in the Handbook of Global Education Policy, which will be published by Blackwell press in 2016, that uses a post-colonial analysis to understand Western discourses on the rise of Asia. Within these discourses, Rizvi finds an “us” versus “them” dichotomy that he connects to colonialism. The rise of Asia from this perspective “invokes conceptions of the Asian ‘others’ whose cultures must be understood, whose languages must be learnt, and with whom closer relationships must be developed – in order for us [the West] to realize our economic and strategic purposes” (Rizvi, 2013).

In the last few decades, higher education in Asia has seen rapid expansion of enrolment rates, institutional growth and change, an internationalization drive, and knowledge outputs that are comparable to many western universities. Nevertheless, the topic of Asian Higher education remains mostly understudied. The same can be said of Asian higher education research and its communities, which continue to be underrepresented in the international higher education literature.

My guest today, Hugo Horta, is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong. He has recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Higher Education Policy on higher education research in East Asia. Together with Jisun Jung and Akiyoshi Yonezawa, Hugo Horta’s special issue presents an understanding of the evolution of higher education research communities in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The country level studies distill the unique organization and evolution of national higher education research communities offering a window into the common and dissimilar challenges each country faces in constructing a higher education research community.