A ‘Circulation Model’ of Education: A Response to Challenges of Education at the New University

Krisis: Journal for Contemporary Philosophy 2015 (2):90-98 (2015)
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The protests at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) that began in November 2014 as a reaction to severe cuts in the department of humanities have sparked a broad debate nationally and even internationally about the future of the university and the values and ideals that should define it. It turned out that dissatisfaction was much more widespread in different parts of the university than some had previously thought, and many turned out to share the concerns first put forward in the humanities department, to extend beyond the borders of the university and the country. Increasing focus on getting as many students as possible to graduate promptly has shifted the attention ever more towards quantitative indicators for the evaluation of education rather than qualitative ones, leading to raising the question of whether the quality of education has suffered from these priorities. How did this come about and what could be done to improve this quality? In this essay we briefly consider the history of the university as an institute that aims to combine research and education, subsequently mentioning some more recent challenges for the university, finishing it with a brief description of a ‘circulation model of education’ that we consider to be a fruitful source for answering some of the challenges we identified from the current discussions. In this model circulation rather than unidirectional traffic occurs between different elements: circulation between research and education, between insights of teachers and of students, between disciplines, between general and contextualized knowledge, between disciplinary and experi- ential knowledge, between doing research and (meta-)reflection upon research, and so on.

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Machiel Keestra
University of Amsterdam


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