Author:Anne Jepson (University of Edinburgh)
Paper short abstract:
This paper contributes to a discussion on the dramatic changes over the past decade in higher education in Scotland. These have been partly driven by 'widening participation' agenda, a requirement to standardise teaching, learning and assessment internationally, and to 'assure' quality.
Paper long abstract:
The paper takes as its starting point the institution of two new courses delivered to second year university students. After reorganisation into a 'school' system, within which one intention was to soften subject boundaries, all students in the school are now required to do generic theory and research methods courses in their second years if they are studying social or political science. Using the two new courses as an ethnographic case study, the wider contexts within and beyond the university are explored discursively. Thus the courses emerge in a complex and contested arena where the very function of university teaching, production and reproduction of knowledge and new academic generations can be examined.
Despite apparent transparency of sectoral and institutional reforms through strategic planning, committee structures and national policy reforms, this paper seeks to address the inherent cultural particularities and peculiarities of this HE institution which have a significant part to play in the process of change, and not least in the delivery of academic knowledge.
Anthropologies of university reform: restructuring of higher education - anthropological perspectives