The higher education curriculum in the global North is increasingly co-opted for the production of measurable outcomes, framed by determinist narratives of employability and enterprise. Such co-option is immanent to processes of financialisation and marketisation, which encourage the production of quantifiable curriculum activities and tradable academic services. Yet the university is also affected by global socio-economic and socio-environmental crises, which can be expressed as a function of a broader crisis of social reproduction or sociability. As the labour of academics and students is increasingly driven by a commodity-valuation rooted in the measurement of performance, the ability for academics and students to respond to crises from inside the university is constrained by the market.
This discussion argues that in understanding the relationship between the university and society, and in responding to a crisis of sociability, revealing the commodification of the curriculum is central. This enables us to discuss the possibility that an open curriculum rooted in ideas of mass intellectuality might enable new forms of social wealth to emerge in opposition to a curriculum for private/positional gain. One possible way to reframe the curriculum is by re-imagining the university through the co-operative practices of groups like the Dismantling the Masters House community and the Social Science Centre. Such an exploration, rooted in the organising principles of the curriculum, asks educators to consider how their curriculum reproduces forms of colonisation. It is argued that such work enables a re-imagination of higher education that is rooted in an engaged and co-operative curriculum, with a focus on praxis.
Richard Hall works at De Montfort University in Leicester, where he is the Co-Director of the Institute for Education Futures (ief.our.dmu.ac.uk), which focuses upon pedagogic and educational research in a range of settings and contexts. He is a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellow and Professor of Education and Technology.
Richard has been involved in a range of voluntary, educational activities. He is an original member of the Social Science Centre in Lincoln (socialsciencecentre.org.uk/), an unincorporated co-operative of scholars developing a new form of higher education based upon the social sciences. He is also a trustee of the Open Library of Humanities (openlibhums.org/). Based on this work, Richard has recently co-edited a collection on democratising higher education called: Mass Intellectuality and Democratic Leadership in Higher Education (http://bit.ly/2toybqZ).
Richard writes about life in higher education at: richard-Hall.org
More about Professor Richard Hall dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/academic-staff/health-and-life-sciences/richard-hall/richard-hall.aspx