Being a University in the Twenty-first Century: Rethinking Curriculum

Anthony McKenzie, Joy Higgs, Maree Simpson

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'The World Universities Forum has been created in the belief that there is an urgent needfor academe to connect more directly and boldly with the large questions of our time' (; accessed 20100914). In this paper, we examine the core educational function ofthe university in the light of this conception of the university's role in society. The question at issue isthis: what are the curriculum and teaching implications of a university's commitment to addressingthe fundamental challenges of the twenty-first century? This paper draws from, reflects on and sharessome of the ideas crystallising out of the first author's PhD research on challenges of educationaldesign in the twenty-first century university.We focus on the concepts of human aspiration and educationfor personal agency. We develop our case by reporting on two case studies ' the first author's PhDtheorising and Charles Sturt University (Australia's) institutional renewal project.We are in the processof ascertaining whether our emergent curriculum of becoming theory or mindspace could provideuniversities with an alternative approach to curriculum design ' one that not only places students'individual and shared meaning making centre-stage, but also one that enables universities to engagein the challenges of the twenty-first century as 'participants in the travail' rather than as arms-lengthknowledge brokers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the World Universities Forum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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