Establishments of education, and the system of which they are a part, face a host of unprecedented challenges from forces in culture that affect and are influenced simply by these very institutions and their particular communities of learners and educators. Among these forces are capturing demographic changes, shrinking provincial budgets, revolutionary advances in information plus telecommunication technologies, globalization, competition from new educational providers, market stresses to shape educational and scholarly practices toward profit-driven ends, plus increasing demands and pressures to get fundamental changes in public policy and public accountability relative to the role of higher education in addressing pressing issues of communities and the culture at large. Anyone of these challenges would be significant on their own, but collectively they increase the complexity and difficulty to get education to sustain or progress the fundamental work of serving the general public good.
Through a forum on schooling, we can agree to: Strengthening the relationship between higher education and society will require the broad-based effort that encompasses all of education, not just individual institutions, departments and associations.
Piecemeal solutions can only go so far; strategies for change must be informed by a shared vision as well as a set of common objectives. A “movement” approach for change holds higher promise for transforming academic culture than the prevailing “organizational” approach.
Mobilizing change will require strategic alliances, networks, and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders within and beyond education.
The Common Agenda is specifically designed to back up a “movement” approach to change simply by encouraging the emergence of ideal alliances among individuals and institutions who care about the role of higher education in advancing the beliefs of a diverse democratic system by means of education practices, relationships and support to society.
A Common Agenda
The Common Agenda is intended to be a “living” record and an open process that instructions collective action and learning among committed partners within and outside of higher education. As a living document, the normal Agenda is a collection of focused exercise aimed at advancing civic, social, and cultural roles in society. This collaboratively created, implemented, and concentrated Common Agenda respects the diversity of activity and programmatic foci of individuals, institutions, and networks, in addition to recognizes the common interests of the whole. As an open process, the Common Plan is a structure for connecting work plus relationships around common interests focusing on the academic role in serving society. Various modes of aliening and amplifying the common work within and beyond education will be offered within the Common Agenda process.
This approach is understandably ambitious and distinctive in its purpose and application. Ultimately, the Common Agenda challenges the system better education, and those who view education and learning as vital to addressing society’s pressing issues, to act deliberately, collectively, and clearly on an evolving and significant set of commitments to society. Presently, four broad issue areas are usually shaping the focus of the Common Agenda: 1) Building public understanding plus support for our civic mission and actions; 2) Cultivating networks plus partnerships; 3) Infusing and reinforcing the value of civic responsibility into the lifestyle of higher education institutions; and 4) Embedding civic engagement and public responsibility in the structure of the training system
VISION We have a vision of higher education that nurtures personal prosperity, institutional responsiveness and inclusivity, and societal health by advertising and practicing learning, scholarship, plus engagement that respects public requirements. Our universities are proactive plus responsive to pressing social, ethical, and economic problems facing our communities and greater society. Our learners are people of integrity that embrace diversity and are socially accountable and civilly engaged throughout their particular lives.
MISSION The purpose of the Common Plan is to provide a framework for arranging, guiding and communicating the ideals and practices of education in accordance with its civic, social and financial commitments to a diverse democratic program.
I believe social justice, ethics, educational equity, and societal change for positive effects are basic to the work of higher education. All of us consider the relationship between communities plus education institutions to be based on the ideals of equally, respect and reciprocity, and the work in education to be interdependent with the other institutions and individuals in society.
We will seek and rely on extensive partnerships with all types of institutions and devoted individuals within and outside of higher education.
We realize the interconnection of politics, strength and privilege. The Common Agenda is not really for higher education to self-serve, but to “walk the talk” relative to espoused public goals. We understand the Common Agenda as a dynamic living document, and expect the activities it encompasses to change over time.
THE COMMON AGENDA FRAMEWORK The general framework for the common agenda is represented in the pursuing diagram. It is clear that while objectives and action items are organized and aliened within certain issues areas, there is considerable overlap plus complimentarity among the issues, goals plus action items. Also, following every action item are names of individuals who committed to serve as “point persons” for that particular item. A list of “point persons, ” with their organizational affiliation(s) is included with the common agenda.
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