Rethinking University Agendas in an Uncertain World: Implications for Curriculum Design and Delivery

Conference: The Paris Conference on Education (PCE2022)
Title: Rethinking University Agendas in an Uncertain World: Implications for Curriculum Design and Delivery
Stream: Curriculum Design & Development
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Catherine Montgomery, Durham University, United Kingdom
Jeanine Gregersen-Hermans, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands


The ‘volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world’ (Stein, 2021) with which we are now faced requires radical and new ways of thinking if we are to build back better, stronger and fairer. The perspectives and positions of non-dominant groups, and indigenous knowledges are still largely being ignored (Clifford & Montgomery, 2017), despite the increasing need for local solutions to our greatest challenges. Combined agendas can more powerfully provide integrated solutions to the challenges we now face therefore this paper aims to consider the overlapping dimensions of internationalisation of the curriculum, education for sustainability, international development, English Medium Instruction and decolonising curriculum agendas in higher education with a view to understanding how curriculum can engage with the volatile world we now find ourselves in. We present a new narrative around the converging agendas of a new internationalism, where a research-based interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary curriculum can help us to identify and address the most salient challenges we currently face. We present the outcome of five reflective conversations with key thinkers in these five intersecting fields. These conversations suggest the need for a radical and holistic redesign of curricula, promotion of critical and systems thinking and a sea change towards a civic discourse in higher education as crucial starting points. The conversations also highlight some of the barriers to this integrated form of internationalism, which include the need to engage all levels of our institutions, shift the pillars of disciplines and highlight the cultural positionality of staff and their engagement with curriculum.

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