The Future of Teaching and Research in Universities: Global Transformations

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Booth 44
Oral Presentation
Henry Lee ALLEN , Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
Around the world, global transformations have been affecting the structures, dynamics, and outcomes of universities.  Indeed, acute transformations in information and communication technologies (ICT) have reshaped academic labor via MOOCs, distance learning, assessment, and for-profit higher education.  In the United States, for example, the professoriate has become dominated by contingent labor rather than full-time employment. Outside a core of prestigious research universities, academic labor has been progressively marginalized.  Even within universities, academic capitalism or commercialization has proliferated, spreading a virus that has distorted humanistic and scientific learning away from basic research or theoretical questions.  Academic freedom is precarious, compromised by the dictates of applied research.  Public higher education has been engulfed in this tsunami of social change for decades, carrying along the academic professions in the merry-go-round of politics.

        Two decades of sociological research exists on these matters by this author and other scholars in The Almanac of Higher Education published during 1993-2004 by the National Education Association of the United States.  Thus, this article will examine data sources from the National Center on Education Statistics, the National Science Foundation, the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, the Office of Economic and Cooperative Development, the European Union, the United Nations, the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty, the Library of Congress of the United States, and other venues to provide a scientific analysis of future trends or scenarios transforming research and teaching in universities.  While ideas and evidence will center on conditions in the United States, international comparisons will be made wherever possible.  In the same way that alert climatologists monitor climate change, sociologists must continuously investigate ‘academic climate change’ on a global scale.