Alternative Universities

I was really interested recently to read Tristram Hooley’s piece looking at how universities advertise themselves This is learning to succeed.  Prompted by a recent advert for DeMontfort University Tristram points out that a lot of the vagueness of the advert points to an underlying issue that universities are far from different from each other,

“I think that this, like a lot of the other university marketing that I see suffers from the fundamental problem that most universities are not that different from one another. Better or worse resourcing, more or less public school educated students and easier or harder to get into.”

One thing got me to thinking is what would actually be a different university experience and how would a genuinely different university actually advertise itself? Bellow is little a thought experiment. I have created five blurbs for imaginary universities, each imaginary university either challenges something about the current neo-liberal “consensus” around the HE sector. The blurbs are larger than life, I’m trying to create a colourful image which contrasts with the current HE sector. I have tried to looks at some themes around course content, careers and community as they often are found in universities. Hope you find the blurbs interesting to read and that it opens up some alternative views about what a university could be.

The National Careers Academy

“While traditional education wrestles with the conflict between academic content and employability we focus solely on developing employability. Students entirely focus on career management and employability skills over their three years with us while spending one third of their degree time with graduate recruiters in their desired sector. We are very proud to maintain a 100% record of transferring students to graduate level employment (students final exams are to gain graduate level employment so that those who fail to do this simply resist their final year).”

Karl Marx Commune for Socialist Advancement

“At KMCSA you will integrated into the wests only educational socialist society. Fees are non-existence (as is any money in the commune). Lecturers and all support staff are fully integrated in to the socialist project. You will learn historical and economic arguments for communism alongside principles for brother and sisterhood inside a commune and how to agitate the proletariat towards revolution. We are proud of our “destinations” with 0% employment into the capitalist “work” sector and 0% defectors for the last 20 years.”

Immanuel Kant Ivory Tower for Intellectual Prowess

“At the Immanuel Kant Tower we solely focus on the development of knowledge and intellectual rigour. Knowledge is learnt for its own sake so no attempt is made to consider how study could link to employment or any other base activity. All major academic fields are studied throughout our programmes to encourage wide ranging intellectual development though priority is given to Mathematics, Philosophy and Classics. Our destinations speak for themselves, in its first eight years of existence only 1.24% of students have had to leave academia and seek employment in “the real world.”

St. Luke’s Private College

“We charge £90,000 a year fees for the very rich and those who want to spend time with the very rich. We offer students less than challenging undergraduate degrees and an enriching social experience with people as socially similarly to them as possible. While our students enjoy their enriching social experiences we offer an exhaustive support network to their fathers to ensure our students transition into well paid positions in respectable companies as smoothly as possible.”

degree.edu

“With the rise of the internet and especially the MOOC there is no longer any need for universities to actually teach anything. Instead we offer expert guidance and coaching through our learning and career mentors so that students can make the best decisions about which free online courses to do and what supplementary information they need to learn from wikipedia to meet their personal learning objectives. Because we employ no teaching staff and have no buildings we are able to employ our coaches to support a very few number of students giving them highly personal support. We hope to reduce costs further in the future by replacing our human teachers with robots.”

 

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