Lost in thought

I love those moments while reading when the mind drifts, when the reader's thoughts flow towards other ideas and become untethered from the text. In The Pleasure of the Text (1975), French literary theorist Roland Barthes writes of the experience of reading: “[A text] produces, in me, the best pleasure if it manages to make … Continue reading Lost in thought

Impressions from the peaceful university

Greetings from Japan! I spent three days last week at the 6th International Academic Identities Conference at the University of Hiroshima. The theme was The Peaceful University: aspirations for academic futures – compassion, generosity, imagination, and creation.  This post offers impressions of the conference, its location, the theme and the presentations. The theme was described as … Continue reading Impressions from the peaceful university

Universities as utopias

My presentation at the recent HERDSA conference was entitled Peer review of teaching: A showcase of messy practice. My co-author Rod Lane and I are redeveloping it as a book chapter, in which we will share our learning about the risks and complexities of ‘insider research’ (or researching practices within one’s own institution). Presenting about an … Continue reading Universities as utopias

Which university? Which self?

Barbara Grant’s keynote from HERDSA has been haunting me. It was a pleasure to listen to, and has rewarded slow consideration. Entitled A Thousand Tiny Universities, Barbara challenged the audience to think about ourselves, our universities, hope and the future. In writing this post, I am relying on memory, my sketchy notes and some brief … Continue reading Which university? Which self?

We need (to be) poets

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to hear Ronald Barnett, emeritus professor of higher education, talk at the University of Sydney. Based on his trilogy of books, he spoke about the university as a feasible utopia in an age of supercomplexity. One of his comments has stayed with me and I have … Continue reading We need (to be) poets