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CARL GOMBRICH - BLOG

Higher Education, Interdisciplinarity, and some related things like Expertise and Future of Work

Welcome to my new blog. You can read more about me in the About tab, top left. I'm looking forward to getting back to 'writing and thinking out loud' about Higher Education, Interdisciplinarity and other things that interest me. You can talk to me either here or on my linked Twitter feed.

 

Education for ‘specialisation’ in the knowledge economy

There are many reasons to believe that a liberal and interdisciplinary education in arts and sciences is the best to prepare you for work in a knowledge economy. In this world, service jobs overwhelmingly dominate and workers are required to show flexibility, creativity, empathy, team-working skills and so on. The, formerly competing, notions of inherent value and instrumental value blur together in jobs which require ‘virtual collaboration’, ‘cross-cultural competency’, ‘sen

Would you do your own degree?

This is a question I am increasingly asked. It’s a well fair question to someone leading a big course which includes a lot of innovation. The shortish answer is: I can’t know for sure because I am a different person now and the world has changed a bit, but probably yes. People who are brighter and more interesting than me would have done it On the superb Arts and Sciences team at UCL, both Dr Chiara Ambrosio and Prof Vin Walsh have said they would have done the Arts and Scien

Cognitive Work

Some of the most sceptical remarks about a liberal/interdisciplinary education come from those who are experts in established academic disciplines. The criticism is that by providing a wider base at undergraduate level one is dumbing-down the education. Here are some questions I have put to my colleagues  in this situation: 1. What intellectual tasks do you find difficult? For example: Learning a foreign language? Learning maths or computer programming? Reading 2-3 novels eve

Specialism, Generalism, Details and the Big Picture

Interdisciplinarity is in vogue in education. It’s been in vogue in the US for a while and throughout most of the last 100 years some major institutions in the States have offered interdisciplinary modules or fully interdisciplinary degrees. The discussion is now in full flow in the UK, after some isolated but noticeable attempts at similar projects over the last 50 years or so. It is widely agreed that in areas such as International Development, Gaming, Behavioural Economics

Can we talk about leadership?

Can we talk about leadership? Specifically, can we talk about the relationship between leadership and undergraduate degrees? I have a good deal of anecdotal evidence that the sort of student most likely to be a leader at school is the all-rounder, the student who is strong academically across a range of subjects but also plays sport or music – and frequently both – to a high level. They may not be absolutely the strongest in any one subject at school but typically they will b

Future Universities – teaching low-tech

Lots on the future of universities in the air. I’m sorry I missed the series at Cambridge with Martin Rees, Stefan Collini and others talking on the subject. I am mostly concerned with undergraduate education, rather than research. Two themes come to mind in this regard. 1. How we address learning in the light of the technology and communication revolution. 2. How we address learning in the light of the tremendous challenges posed by the crisis in capitalism and the consumpti

Why go to university?

Leaving aside the discussion of value for money from a university education, why, if learning is what you are interested in, should you go to university at all? This is a separate issue from the instrumental/intrinsic value debate – see the blog Value for Money for this. What I wish to point out is that you can learn everything you would learn at university – get all the knowledge, all the expertise and scholarship – by staying at home and managing your learning via the web.

‘Value for Money’ in university education

There is concern among students, their parents and guardians, politicians and the media that university students should get ‘value for money’ from their degree. I can’t disagree with this. As a parent myself, I am concerned that my children should not waste my money or theirs on anything – whether that is a university degree, a new car or a trip abroad. But what constitutes ‘value for money’ is often not clear when it comes to an educational or learning experience. Part of th

 

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