Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day 6: What is the point?

Today, I've been thinking about why we do what we do. 'We' in this instance stands for university lecturers.

I know why I do what I do, and that comes down to a couple of things:
  1. I love this job
  2. I'm (at least all evidence seems to point to this) good at it
But what is it that we're hoping to achieve by teaching an undergraduate programme in a university?
What is the point of an undergraduate programme?

Are we here to train students for specific professions (or for a portfolio career of multiple options)? That seems to be the opinion of many in government, and it's also the opinion of some in the HE sector, particularly in newer universities like my own. I believe that there's a value to education for its own sake, and that, if we do our job properly, students leave a university knowing themselves a bit better: intellectually, socially, and emotionally.

But what do we do when our high-minded idealism clashes with those who manage us and the directions that our programmes take?

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