Worldwide Universities Network hosts ‘Ideas and Universities Virtual Seminar Series’

The Ideas and Universities Project of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is sponsoring a virtual seminar series that brings together leading higher education scholars from around the world to consider the roles of universities in the global knowledge economy and the evolving identity of university teacher-researchers and their changing roles in institutions of higher learning.

“The Ideas and Universities Project assembles scholars from around the world to discuss pressing issues in global higher education,” says Adam R. Nelson, professor of educational policy studies and history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “This semester’s international virtual seminars will provide a great way for people at UW–Madison to interact with scholars and students from the U.K. and South Africa around cutting-edge research in this field.”

The UW–Madison site for this seminar series is the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St.; all seminars are free and open to the public. Here is the lineup:

  • Does Teaching Matter? Assessing Teaching for Tenure at Canadian Universities, Pamela Gravestock (University of Toronto), November 16, 10 a.m.: Teaching has always been and remains a core function of universities. However, a pervasive assumption is that research activity is privileged over teaching contributions, particularly in hiring, tenure and promotion decisions. Where do such beliefs come from? Are they based on policy or practice, or a combination of the two? Is research privileged, and if so, does teaching really matter?
  • Knowledge mediators and lubricating channels: on the temporal arts of performing the modern university, Filip Vostal and Susan Robertson (University of Bristol), November 30, 10 a.m.: Around the world, the role of the university in public policy is overwhelmingly being framed by the principle that its unique contribution to development should take the form of economic growth, regeneration, and transformation. This ‘re-missioning’ of the university sits in contrast with a more general and historical definition of the university’s raison d’être that has emphasized the deepening and extending of human understanding, with economic development an important, but secondary, mission.
  • The Rhetoric versus Reality of Affordability Policies in Higher Education: The American Case, Sara Goldrick-Rab (UW–Madison), December 7, 10 a.m.: Drawing on extensive data from her longitudinal study of financial aid recipients in Wisconsin, Goldrick-Rab will examine how the student experience of paying for college compares to the assumptions inherent in public policies that aim to offset costs with financial aid.

The WUN is a consortium of 18 research universities on six continents: Asia (Nanjing, Zhejiang, Chinese University of Hong Kong), Oceania (Western Australia, Sydney, Auckland), Africa (Cape Town), Europe (Leeds, York, Southampton, Bristol, Bergen), South America (State University of Campinas), and North America (Alberta, Rochester, Pennsylvania State, UW–Madison).

UW–Madison was a founding member of WUN in 2000. Since then, UW–Madison faculty and academic staff have used the WUN framework to strengthen the university’s global engagement in several ways.

For more information on WUN at UW–Madison contact: David Joiner, Division of International Studies at (608) 265-4753,