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Toward Integral Higher Education Study Programs in the European Higher Education Area: A Programmatic and Strategic View

Author(s): Markus Molz

Journal: Integral Review
ISSN 1553-3069

Volume: 5;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 152 ;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Andragogy | European Higher Education Area | higher education | implementation | integral and likeminded approaches | knotworking | learning communities | macroshift | project-based learning | service learning | strategy | study programs | transformation | vocation.

This essay somehow arbitrarily freezes my ongoing attempt to grasp thepresent situation and future possibilities of higher education courses, programs,institutions and initiatives that are inspired by integral and likeminded approaches. Thefocus in this essay is on the European Higher Education Area and its specifics, whereassome implicit or explicit comparisons with the USA are made. My reflections aretriggered by the recurrent observation that in Europe there seems to be i) more demandthan offer of integrally oriented higher education programs, ii) an imbalance betweenoverused but little successful and underused but potentially more promising strategies toimplement such programs, iii) little or no learning from past failures, and iv) little mutualawareness, communication and collaboration between different activists and initiatives inthis field.The context for this essay is i) the current societal macroshift, ii) the unfolding ofacademic level integral and likeminded research worldwide, and iii) the large scalereform of the European Higher Education systems brought about by the Bologna process,its (false) promises and the potential it nevertheless has for realizing examples of a moreintegral higher education. On this basis the consequences for attempts to overcome arelatively stagnant state of affairs in Europe are discussed. Given that; most past attemptsto implement programs inspired by an integral worldview have failed from the start, ordisappeared after a relatively short period, or are marginalised or becoming remainstreamed,this essay aims to devise a potentially more promising strategic corridorand describes the contours of the results that could be brought about when following adevelopmental trajectory within this corridor. This futurising exercise is inspired byprinciples shared by many integral and likeminded approaches, especially thereconsideration, integration and transcendence of premodern, modern and postmodernstructures and practices of higher education.This essay is programmatic and thus deliberately combines facts and values, past andfuture, summaries of first person observations and third person factual information,without the burden of systematic referencing required by scholarly writing. It does notclaim to replace empirical surveys which, however, are still lacking to date regarding theactual state of affairs of higher education inspired by integral and likeminded approachesin Europe. Accordingly, at this stage, the essay is an exercise of awareness-raising tostimulate more and better collaboration across streams, disciplines and countries betweenthose scholars, students and activists who are already inspired by integral and likeminded approaches and interested or already engaged in developing and sustaining highereducation programs according to a more integral spirit.
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