44. Universities and their challenges: Disrupting and building academic work and knowledge-making ecologies

Knut H Sørensen, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Sharon Traweek; Kyriaki Papageorhiou; Vivian Lagesen;

Universities, both old and robust, have become powerful hubs globally for making, evaluating, and disseminating knowledge, including through higher education. Sometimes autonomous, universities also have served different masters. Increasingly, universities are evaluated through neo-liberal lenses of measurable, managed productivity defined by others, including policymakers who also require that universities address so-called grand societal challenges, expecting academics to specify solutions that can be implemented quickly. Overall, universities face many critical challenges, from funding to public trust, questioning what counts as knowledge, by whom and why. For centuries they have made knowledges used for both systemic good and structural harm, from inclusion to oppression, along with knowledge of all those processes, including how to both implement and dismantle them. Consequently, as we face the intersecting problems of global warming, pandemic, pollution, and inequality, this is an opportune moment to examine and rethink universities, a foundational STS task since we all address the relationship between learning, knowledge-making, expertise, and society. We want to better understand the complexities and diversities of current university practices and explore alternatives. We welcome submissions that examine the following challenges: + Academic freedom, epistemic politics, and collegiality + Academic audit cultures, assessments, and precarity; the future of tenure + Diversity/equity/inclusion challenges and strategies + Open science and academic publishing cultures + New theories of knowledge- and science-making + Digitalization and machine learning + Uses of university degrees. Life-long learning + Academic citizenship and subject positioning + Re-imagining university futures: quagmires and utopias.

Contact: knut.sorensen@ntnu.no, traweek@history.ucla.edu, kyriaki.papageorgiou@ntnu.no, vivian.lagesen@ntnu.no

Keywords: University-Society Relations, Disciplines and the Social Organization of Science and Technology

Published: 04/07/2023