Submitting my first grant report in March put me in a position of relative comfort. Me from 2011 would never believe the direction my interest in international liberal education movement took over time. The journey from philosophical and opinionated to more data-driven and understanding was not an easy one. Writing up the final report, which I was stupid enough to pledge in three language versions (Polish, English and Russian) – was certainly the biggest challenge I ever experienced. However, now that it is done, it is finally time to clean up the desk, decide what is of worth in that, and move one to new projects.
Actually, I did not really feel relieved after those 500 pages. There are new things coming up soon, and I want to put them here in case somebody would like to bump into me (or as a trigger warning where I should be avoided). So here are the things I was up to over the last quarter, hoping to secure opportunities to listen, speak and discuss the issues of higher education – and learn in the most effective way: from other people.
So here is the plan:
- 26.04.2016, Winchester (UK), Postgraduate Student Spring Symposium, organized by University of Winchester, paper presented: European Liberal Education: the basic questions
- 4.05.2016, Brussels, A workshop on access and inclusion of refugees in higher education, organized by European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), keynote presentation (with Madelaine Leitsberger): Universities and refugees: Assessment of good practices from Poland and Austria
– taking our research for Inside Higher Ed articles to a new level by getting a close up on institutions half a year later and assessing the support offered
- 12-15.05.2016, Lüneburg (Germany), What is Liberal Education and What Could it Be? 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference, organized by Leuphana University Lüneburg, keynote presentation: Liberal Education in Europe: Why do we know so little? What can we do about it? Why now?
– I am honoured to be part of the movement that hopes to revive European Liberal Education; in this speech I will suggest why we need serious research to start doing it.
- 27-28.05.2016, London, 10th International EUREDOCS Conference: Equity and Diversity in Contemporary Higher Education, organized by Centre de Sociologie des Organisations, SciencesPo Paris and Society for Research into Higher Education, paper presented: Investigating the different aims within European liberal education.
– First rate scholars and intensive discussion; this should be really helpful.
- 7-8.06.2016, Poznań (Poland), III Ogólnopolska Konferencja Badaczy Szkolnictwa Wyższego [3rd conference of Polish Higher Education Researchers], organized by Center for Public Policy, Adam Mickiewicz University, paper presented: Edukacja liberalna w Europie: naiwne pytania [Naive look at European Liberal Education].
– as this is a group by invitation only, I am very happy to count among its ranks and I hope to build stronger ties with the group of researchers led by prof. Marek Kwiek.
- 9-12.06.2016, Groningen (Netherlands), 7th History of Education Summer School in Groningen, organized by European Educational Research Association (EERA), paper presented: The values of first generation leaders in the European Liberal Education Area (1990-2015).
– long history of this summer school and excellent teachers would allow me to learn about a subfield I do not know much yet.
- 15-17.06.2016, Copenhagen, UNIKE final conference: University Futures, organized by Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus, and UNIKE, paper presented: Community good in European liberal education.
– a brilliant, global community of higher education researchers will meet up for the last time under the UNIKE banner; this time at its home in Copenhagen
- 19-21.06.2016, Lisbon, ESA PhD Summer School 2016: (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities, organized by European Sociological Association & Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the New University of Lisbon (FCSH), paper presented: Why do Dutch University Colleges Lead the European Liberal (Arts) Education Movement?
After a short break (I will probably recharge in Rome), traditional summer conference marathon looks like that:
- 12-15.07.2016, Poznań (Poland), IASFM 16: Rethinking Forced Migration and Displacement: Theory, Policy, and Praxis, organized by International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM), paper presented (with Madelaine Leitsberger): Polish and Austrian higher education respond to the refugee crisis: in search of a long-term approaches
- 18-20.07.2016, Lancaster (UK), Higher Education Close Up 8: Locating Social Justice in Close-Up Research in Higher Education, organized by Lancaster University, paper presented (with David Kretz): (E)quality in Education – a Financial Impossibility? The Case of Liberal Arts Education in Germany
- 22-26.08.2016, Dublin, ECER 2016 Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers, organized by European Educational Research Association (EERA), papers presented: What next? Strategic role of European universities in the Syrian Refugee Crisis: lessons from Poland and Austria (with Madelaine Leitsberger); and Why do Dutch University Colleges Lead the European Liberal (Arts) Education Movement?
- 31.08-3.09.2016, Birmingham (UK), 38th EAIR Forum: Only Connect: Collaboration, cooperation and capacity building through HE partnerships, organized by EAIR – The European Higher Education Society, paper presented (with David Kretz): Innovative Education Under Financial Stress – Private Liberal Education in Germany
- 5-7.09.2016, Cambridge (UK), 29th CHER CONFERENCE: The University as a Critical Institution?, organized by Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER), papers presented: What if I tell you there is no such thing as European liberal education?, and Progressive Education Under Financial Pressure – The Liberal Arts in Germany (with David Kretz).
- 7-10.09.2016, Praha, ECPR 2016 General Conference, organized by European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), paper presented: Unacknowledged failure. Liberal education in Poland.
- 12-13.09.2016, Milan, Education and Empowerment: Theories and Practices, organized by Research Network RN 10 Sociology of Education, European Sociological Association (ESA), paper presented: The Right not to Choose: (Neo)-Liberal Education in Eastern Europe.
- 14-17.09.2016, Gdansk (Poland), XVI Ogólnopolski Zjazd Socjologiczny: Solidarność w czasach nieufności [16th Congress of Polish Sociology: Solidarity in the Time of Distrust], organized by Polish Sociological Association, paper presented: Czy studia MISH to przykład polskiej edukacji liberalnej? [Do MISH studies qualify as Polish liberal education?].
Two more presentations are still in consideration; as are two articles (in English finally) that I submit to journals and one grant proposal that should be decided on in June. After some reshuffling, two more articles should leave the press anytime soon. I finally managed to keep my academia.edu | ResearchGate a up to date so that you can read it there.
I hope that I can afford to travel to all those conferences, especially that I will pause for the most part of next academic year.
Since October 2016 I will be a visiting researcher at Wagner College in New York – as a Junior Advanced Research Award holder selected by the Fulbright Commission. So hopefully I will have nine months of relatively quiet time to transcribe and analyze my interviews from the summer, and learn more about the „practical liberal arts” philosophy elaborated by prof. Richard Guarasci and his team at Wagner. Next year will be devoted to tying up the loose ends and working hard towards a better publication track. I think I now badly need some conclusions from my previous work on liberal education.
But who knows what would happen. Just half a year ago I would never imagine that apart from my daily research and grant report writing I would find time to work on refugees with Madelaine and on private liberal arts in Germany with David; that I will publish opinion pieces on Inside Higher Ed and in Polish newspapers; and that I will be kindly asked to review some articles for Learning and Teaching The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. It was a busy, productive, sometimes dramatic, but also incredibly rewarding time; I hope to continue on this track for another half a year.