Loneliness and collegiality: a chronicle of academic alienation

— by Julia Molinari

First quarter of 2021. Year #2 of COVID19. Working at home. Small market town, The Midlands, UK.

Like many, I have not set foot on campus for over a year, but I have been emergency remote teaching, home schooling, and researching despite mixed messages about whether business as usual is possible, let alone desirable. Indeed, whether ‘business as usual’ is ever an appropriate moniker to describe academia remains moot. The connotations of ‘business’ with profit, commodity and performativity are all too close for comfort.

Julia Molinari has chosen the choricle as the genre through which to reflect in times of COVID 19

What’s the use of use?

— by Jakob Egholm Feldt
Being useful is great. It is fundamentally satisfying. When students express that my teaching has been useful for them, I’m both grateful and happy. I’m predisposed to commit myself uncritically to the university of our time: whatever we as university people can do to help, solve problems, make up problems, invent things, evaluate, suggest, calculate or think this or that, I’m all in. Nevertheless, I’m increasingly uneasy about this surge of being useful and solving problems in the real world.

Towards an imperative of togetherness and co-creation

— By Patric Wallin
I have hope that most students and teachers are actually at the university, because they want to learn and become part of a disciplinary community. From this starting point and building on Freire’s idea that ´teaching must begin with solving the teacher/student contradiction, by reconciling the opposite poles, so that both parts are both teachers and students at the same time´, I think we can move towards an imperative of togetherness and co-creation in higher education. An imperative that emphasizes the collective instead of individuals, trust instead of accountability and shared responsibility instead of control and surveillance.

Reflecting on the methodological dualism in higher education research

— By Tessa DeLaquil
It seems that a somewhat curious dualism exists in the methodological approach to research in our social-scientific field of higher education. On the one hand, we are empiricists, strictly following the rule of objectivism and the analytic scientific method, eschewing all but the observable and the factual. On the other, we engage wholeheartedly with value and subjectivism, partaking in hermeneutic methodology to interpret the influence of the social institution of higher education on the human person and on various sectors of society.