23 February 2022

What does your university of the future look like?

In the letter that the VU sent to all its employees at home in December, I read the following sentence: 'because with a new IT infrastructure we are better equipped for the demands of the future'. I wonder who or what this future is that calls for the replacement of the existing IT system. Meanwhile, academics, including VU professor Paola Gori-Giorgi, from various Dutch universities have expressed serious concerns about the professional future of budding academics. What does it look like if they only get short-term contracts?

Many academics recognized the power of posing for selfies and are continuing what ScienceGuide recently called a "friendly protest." They posed with the sign 'Time's up! Get ready for action' in support of the campaign The University Won't Love Us Back', which advocates a better future for the beautiful worker bees of Dutch universities.

Again, I wonder, what is this "thing" that calls itself the future and what does it look like if we have to grapple with a new IT infrastructure, or if academics have to negotiate budgets so much?

If you don't have a picture of the future, your current work will also be uncertain and unclear

Answering questions about the future of universities is important to our current work. If you don't have a picture of the future, your current work will also be uncertain and unclear. I look at the academic world with a critical eye and in this way I think about the university of the future.

I invite all readers to do the same, to imagine their university of the future, and in that way to name everything that stands in the way of a better future. I am thinking of the pains of exclusion, decolonization, infrastructural problems, research plagiarism, political division, poor pay and insufficient recognition, job insecurity, the difficulties of first-generation students and PhD students or the difficult relationship with supervisors and managers.

How do you envision your university of the future? Please let me know and send me your imagination. I will be your voice in these blogs, dear readers. I anonymize what you share with me, so that you can let your imagination run wild, so don't hesitate and email me: y.saramifar@vu.nl.

 

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