Claudine Provencher, 2020-2021 Paris IAS Fellow, presents her research project at the weekly internal seminar.
The ever-increasing focus on metrics in higher education, on rankings, on commercialisation, the imposition of an increasingly complex regulatory environment, the external pressures put on research agendas and, more recently, the changes in delivery models brought by COVID-19 are compromising the role of universities as independent producers and communicators of knowledge and as developers of critical and engaged citizens. In addition, it can be argued that the different demands put on academics are compromising their capacity to challenge the status quo and to make real contributions to the human stock of knowledge. These trends represent a real threat for the functioning of our societies. This project, which builds on the work done by LSE LIFE, is proposing to explore and identify some possible elements of response to these issues. Using action research as the overall methodological approach, it will use different sets of data to draw lessons both in terms of what an initiative such as LSE LIFE tells us about the possibility for universities to continue to play a key role in the development of critical and engaged citizens and how it can refresh the mandate/mission of academics.