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Alternative Universities

Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education

David J. Staley

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Imagining the universities of the future.

How can we re-envision the university? Too many examples of what passes for educational innovation today—MOOCs especially—focus on transactions, on questions of delivery. In Alternative Universities, David J. Staley argues that modern universities suffer from a poverty of imagination about how to reinvent themselves. Anyone seeking innovation in higher education today should concentrate instead, he says, on the kind of transformational experience universities enact. In this exercise in speculative design, Staley proposes ten models of innovation in\u2026

Imagining the universities of the future.

How can we re-envision the university? Too many examples of what passes for educational innovation today—MOOCs especially—focus on transactions, on questions of delivery. In Alternative Universities, David J. Staley argues that modern universities suffer from a poverty of imagination about how to reinvent themselves. Anyone seeking innovation in higher education today should concentrate instead, he says, on the kind of transformational experience universities enact. In this exercise in speculative design, Staley proposes ten models of innovation in higher education that expand our ideas of the structure and scope of the university, suggesting possibilities for what its future might look like.

What if the university were designed around a curriculum of seven broad cognitive skills or as a series of global gap year experiences? What if, as a condition of matriculation, students had to major in three disparate subjects? What if the university placed the pursuit of play well above the acquisition and production of knowledge? By asking bold "What if?" questions, Staley assumes that the university is always in a state of becoming and that there is not one "idea of the university" to which all institutions must aspire.

This book specifically addresses those engaged in university strategy—university presidents, faculty, policy experts, legislators, foundations, and entrepreneurs—those involved in what Simon Marginson calls "university making." Pairing a critique tempered to our current moment with an explanation of how change and disruption might contribute to a new "golden age" for higher education, Alternative Universities is an audacious and essential read.

Reviews

Reviews

A groundbreaking and inspiring work, Alternative Universities offers provocative visions of new higher education institutions that are radically different from what we currently have. I admire David Staley's audacity.

Too often our debates on the future of higher education either fail to imagine something different from today or conclude with grim prognostications about the imminent demise of the university. In Alternative Universities, Staley gives us another wayactually ten other waysto think more creatively on the subject.

Alternative Universities aims to enrich our imagination about what might be possible for higher education—and for the students whom it should aim not just to serve but to transform. The book promises to inspire innovation beyond the bounds of most current efforts, something the field and society desperately need during this time of profound change.

This book gives us the fodder we need to open our minds to the possible university: the one that awaits us if we can trust ourselves to move beyond data-driven decision-making and let our imaginations loose in the present.

While a sophisticated futurist who has a keen understanding of the dramatic and multi-layered trends affecting all social institutions, Staley is also a historian and human-centered pattern finder who reminds us that the real value of a university lies in its constant 'state of becoming.'

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
280
ISBN
9781421427416
Illustration Description
10 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: On Innovation in Higher Education
Part I. Organization
Chapter 1. Platform University
Chapter 2. Microcollege
Chapter 3. The Humanities Think Tank
Interlude. The University of

Acknowledgments
Introduction: On Innovation in Higher Education
Part I. Organization
Chapter 1. Platform University
Chapter 2. Microcollege
Chapter 3. The Humanities Think Tank
Interlude. The University of Beauty
Part II. Apprenticeship
Chapter 4. Nomad University
Chapter 5. The Liberal Arts College
Interlude. Superager University
Part III. Technology
Chapter 6. Interface University
Chapter 7. The University of the Body
Interlude. Technology University
Part IV. Attributes
Chapter 8. The Institute for Advanced Play
Chapter 9. Polymath University
Chapter 10. Future University
Conclusion: Existential Crisis and Existential Possibilities
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

David J. Staley

David J. Staley is an associate professor of history, design, and educational studies at Ohio State University. He is the author of Alternative Universities: Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education.