Historians may not agree on whether higher education started in Oxford, Bologna or Paris. However, they do agree that it was started around the 13th century. This paper will review the history of higher education with the view of pinpointing important topics from that era that have been carried forward to the modern system of higher education.
Aspects of the history of higher education carried over to the modern system
Though they have been modified to some extent, some of the aspects highlighted here manifest continuity of the tradition from the olden days of higher education. The academic costume used in the modern education system has some element of tradition in them. Although the formal cap and the gown used in the United States of America today are a more a product of modern than medieval times, the concept of the academic gown traces its origin to the medieval times. Other aspects include the conferment of degrees by the kiss of peace or the ring and the usage of the hourglass to time examinations as has been seen in Portugal.
The above mentioned aspects express continuity of the medieval times in a indirect way. However, in a more direct way, the name university as is used to describe higher education in the modern system has an association with scholars and masters who lead a common life of learning, a characteristic of the Middle Ages. The concept of the curriculum of study and the examinations leading to a degree has also been carried over from the middle ages. The various degrees and the stages of study in that the bachelors as a stage leading to mastership and doctorate have their origin in the middle ages. Finally, the faculties with their deans and senior officers like chancellors and rectors have also been handed down to the modern system by continuity (Haskins, 1957).
Issues to incorporate in the workshop
One of the concepts I would include in the workshop was the prospect of the government funding research projects that are aimed at national development. It is common knowledge that some researchers do not fully exploit the potentials of their projects due to financial constraints. Their alternatives are to seek donor funding which leads to decreased independence and autonomy of the chief researchers. This could also lead to espionage especially where the donors are from competing countries. By providing the necessary resources, the government will help spur industrialization and economic growth. This concept helped Germany rise as an industrial power during the industrial revolution (Altbach, Gumport & Berdahl, 2011).
The other concept I would introduce in the two hour workshop is that of exchange programs. The circulation of students globally helps maintain the research hegemony. As a result, the students will gain expertise and new research ideas that can be exploited for the betterment of the economy. The advanced training the students might get in other countries will inspire the creation of better systems that will assimilate advanced skills thereby helping the economy spur.
Selling the session to the faculty members
In order to sell the ideas to the faculty members in the workshop, I would highlight important times in history where the ideas have concepts have helped make remarkable progress in the society. For instance, highlighting the role of research in the rise of Germany as an industrial power will underscore the importance of funding. I would also highlight case studies where the presence of the outlined concepts would have made a significant difference in terms of output. Finally, I would back my presentation up with statistics on the trends in other universities and education systems.
Without undermining the role and importance of reform in the higher education system, it is evident that discarding all aspects of the higher education of the middle ages is to our detriment.
Altbach, P. G., Gumport, P. J., & Berdahl, R. O. (2011). American higher education in the twenty-first century: social, political, and economic challenges (3rd ed.). Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press.
Haskins, C. H. (1957). The rise of universities. Retrieved from http://www .elfinspell.com/Universities1.html