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Directions for 2000 And Beyond
In the weeks ahead, we will add links to content for each statement that follows, and we invite your contributions and suggestions for material to include, as well. For now, please explore the list and select items by clicking for a fuller discussion of each objective.
These concepts guided the content of AUDEM's decennial conference and are to be themes for succeeding conferences. We also are beginning more active and interactive uses of the website for topic-specific areas with the possibility of Internet symposia.
We are orienting AUDEM themes to meet the needs of universities in competitive societies, to empower institutions to function at the highest world standards and to prepare students to become leaders in the future.
Explication of concepts
1. Emphasize human moral and social values. In addition to showing diverse student groups how to work together constructively, university communities will need to recognize their different groups and build interracial and interethnic respect. Fundamental human rights should be taught, largely in contexts of awesome 20th century violations of rights of innocent civilians including children.
2. Promote civil societies. The understanding of the importance of personal development balanced with the responsibilities of citizenship and an appreciation of the freedoms of action and speech subject to law are necessary for a society to be civilized and progress. Value systems should be taught in numerous contexts, including the right of property ownership, ethical standards, and religious freedom. University communities should be models of a way of life, of participatory civil societies and of reaching out to serve their societies.
3. Renew efforts to teach the humanities and the arts. After the major changes made in immediately post-communist times, continued improvements are needed in the teaching of critical thinking, social dynamics, political complexities, market economics, history, the skills of social and policy analysis, and the values that strengthen democratic citizenship. Conversely the trend to teaching trivial courses oriented to "popular" subjects should be avoided since they displace a sound body of humanities knowledge.
4. Find and mentor the best. Too often universities target low-performing students and make their retention and remediation primary foci. However, now competitive pressures require that every country put more emphasis on developing their best and most creative students; often these students are from lower socio-economic levels. University communities should build aspiration and motivation in their students to improve themselves and also contribute to the betterment of their societies.
5. Accelerate technology use. In both instruction and administration, technology can increase efficiency and promote interactions with other institutions. Students need to become not only computer-proficient but realize the place of technology in all areas of commerce, communication, government and improvement of the quality of life. Expanded technology use can also carry continuing and adult education to many citizens who cannot attend formal university classes and professionals who need further training. Modernization of library holdings and services also need to be brought to modern standards. A critical spirit, however, needs to be applied to overcome indiscriminate use of and unwarranted hopes from short-term improvements by using technology.
6. Recognize that modern problems are typically multidisciplinary. Teaching, research and development must often be staffed by teams of experts from several disciplines. This characteristic is found across essentially all modern developments and is the reason that current progress is said to result from convergences. Universities should be administered and organized to facilitate interdisciplinary interactions. How universities are structured, how budget funds are allocated, and how leaders are chosen are all involved in dealing with this characteristic of 21st century universities.
7. Use more active-learning and independent-study techniques. These methods will allow individual students to chose more of their own advanced-study directions, develop their own interests and capabilities, and encourage the development of critical thinking and creativity.
8. Improve faculty quality. Loss of the best to industry, low salaries, in-breeding, and lack of modern facilities cause quality to be below the best international standards. In-breeding of university faculties should be reduced. Graduate programs that prepare new faculty members are needed to meet increasing shortages of qualified professors for both teaching and scholarly research. Both indirect and direct contributions to economic development need to be recognized by faculty and result in suitable rewards, including support to obtain patents and copyrights and freedom to start businesses.
9. Make major new commitments to engineering and the sciences. Not only are upgraded facilities and equipment needed, but these faculties, their administrators, and their governments need to make new commitments to funding university-based research, thereby upgrading faculty expertise and the quality of instruction. These statements pertain to medical, agricultural, and other professional fields. Cooperation between universities and with industry and research institutes should be increased.
10. Develop international experiences further. A global view needs to permeate education and the experiences of those who teach in university communities. Language instruction and periods of study in other countries are necessary experiences to develop a sense of cultural diversity and understand the directions and standards being developed in the world. Universities must function at competitive levels internationally if their societies expect to thrive and compete in the global village, and it follows that faculty need to experience what those standards are by regularly attending international conferences and other longer professional experiences abroad.