Humanizing Higher Education through Innovative Approaches for Teaching and Learning: Volume 35

Cover of Humanizing Higher Education through Innovative Approaches for Teaching and Learning

Table of contents

(14 chapters)

Part I: Pedagogical Impact on Learners


With the turn of the century, the Earth's natural resources continue to be stretched as nonrenewable resources continue to dwindle and as the population continues to grow. Academia is no exception with human and teaching resources remaining a constraint for all universities including financial resources. Higher education (HE) leadership struggles to contain costs by reducing unnecessary expenditures while trying to ensure that quality remains a top priority. Innovative pedagogy is one way that institutions can help bridge both scarcity and quality and address the growing demand for quality education. New technologies, designing of new curriculum which is relevant and can address the realities of economic demands, have become a high priority in HE. Educators, policymakers and stakeholders have to embrace this transformational change for the progress of their institution. This book addresses such innovative changes that are being initiated by academics around the world. The focus of this book remains on innovative pedagogy, success stories of such interventions, impact on students while reinventing the learner-centered approach and its implication on the future. The authors of this book address the successes and the challenges they have faced.


This essay is a philosophical exploration of the concept of the interesting. It draws a line from philosophical aesthetics to the philosophy of pedagogy and argues that an awareness of the nature of the interesting – an awareness of what makes something interesting, aesthetically – can help improve the pedagogical impact of academic lectures. Specifically, the essay argues that something that strikes us as interesting is also something that engages us. Hence, that making lectures interesting will lead to student engagement and to an enhanced learning experience.

With regard to rhetorical composition, the present essay attempts to enact the aesthetical principles that it discusses. Thus, it will not abide by the standard rhetorical academic conventions. (It attempts to be interesting, after all.)


Curriculum designers have a colossal role to perform. They behold responsibility of viewing futuristic needs not only of society but also of the planet as a whole. They have taken into consideration not only intangible needs of society but also cognitive, affective, and psychomotor needs of individual learners. Curriculum as a whole tends to stress more on the cognitive development of the child more, whereas the, “affective learning …is included infrequently in curriculum” (Sowell, 2005, p.74); thus at times affective and psychomotor domains are overlooked during curriculum transaction. Emotional development is important for the development of humane society. Combs (1982) notes that when we ignore emotional components of any subject we teach, we actually deprive students of meaningfulness. So there is a need to give importance to the development of values among the students. As microcosms of society school curriculum can play an important role in developing a humane society. This purpose can be realized to some extent by modifying the school curriculum in such a manner that values and skills that are expected for imbibing humane culture are integrated along with the content of the regular school curriculum. The process of designing school curriculum so as to integrate the sustainable development goals may include defining learning outcomes, identifying plug points for integration, ascertaining strategies for integration at cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain, devising curriculum transaction plan, implementing integrated curriculum, evaluating, reviewing and monitoring learning outcomes, and implementing process. It is possible to develop a climate of encouraging and safeguarding cultural heritage by developing resources to educate people. Cultural heritage and traditional knowledge can be safeguarded by supporting practitioners and transmission of skills and knowledge. Plugins can be provided in secondary education at various levels of languages, mathematics and sciences to integrate the curriculum. This text provides comprehensive process and strategies to equip curriculum designers and educators as they guide a whole generation to a bright, safe and beautiful future.


The purpose of this study was to understand factors that hinder success of at-risk students and whether blending advising models helps students who are on academic warning or probation. In this chapter, the researchers reflect on the development and implementation of an academic recovery program (ARP) that involved 332 at-risk students during a three-year period, beginning in the Fall of 2016. When conceptualized, the ARP centered on the issue of development of students on all levels – as individuals, as scholars, and as creators and consumers of knowledge.

The results show that 54% of ARP students exited the program with good standing and persisted at the university (graduated or enrolled at the end of the period of the study). Of the 46% that were not retained by the university, 32% left with good standing. Qualitative explorations indicated that students in the program experienced a variety of academic and external challenges that prevented students from reaching success. These challenges resulted in heightened levels of stress and anxiety about their college success.


Care is by no means a new topic to those involved in philosophy of education. However, I wish to (re)make the case that we ought to care as educators, despite the many risks and uncertainties. I draw on the work of contemporary philosophers to explore the connection between teaching and care in an attempt to (re)focus our understanding of the why and how we care (the process that brings us to caring action and practices to enhance normative practices of education) and the ethical considerations that accompany such a caring approach in education. I will engage in an exercise of praxis in an attempt to foster teaching that promotes things as they ought to be through Björn Freter's (2017a) conceptual work regarding the “existential experience of and the existential need to exercise care” (p. 5).

Using the framework developed by Freter, I point out that, despite normative uncertainties, educators should engage their concern, volition, and practice in order that what ought to be for students can be sought. How this theoretical exploration of caring is extrapolated into classroom practice is found in a synthesizing of Nicholas Burbules and Susanne Rice's (1992) concept of communicative virtues, Nel Noddings' (2012) work on caring as a relational dialogue, Schmitz, Müllan, and Slaby (2011) thoughts on affective involvement, and Barbara Thayer-Bacon and Charles Bacon's (1996) philosophical investigation into a model of caring educator. I will then humanize my contribution by adding personal testimony and philosophical conceptualization of particular experiences with pedagogical practices of care as an educator in primary, secondary, and tertiary educational settings. I conclude with some discussion on the risks and uncertainties inherent in such an endeavor.


Higher Education (HE) is spinning. The systematic erosion of our academic freedom, (Docherty, 2012) means that the authors of this chapter no longer know how to navigate what is on the horizon. The neoliberal agenda now driving HE is threatening how we work via, ‘a quiet ruination and decay of academic freedom’ (Docherty, 2012, p. 47). This chapter offers an autoethnography of a collaborative creative project that engaged the authors in dialogues about the effects of neoliberalism on how they teach, work, live and where they compare working in HE to hula-hooping as both demand relentless movement and activity to prevent everything from collapsing. Our story offers ideas for valuing time and space in our academic lives that are playful, creative, bonding, and suggest that by mastering hula-hooping, we have enjoyed a renewed sense of confidence with academic work and academic life.

We employ a range of styles of writing that seek to engage the reader with reflection on their own experiences. Guiding questions for any reader might be, but are by no means restricted to:

What are the effects of neoliberalism on how we work?

How much time do we give for creative play and risk-taking?

What creative methods can we adopt and develop in order to preserve our academic freedom?

How can we navigate the HE landscape effectively without succumbing to neoliberal pressures and shifts?

How can we value human experiences in academic work and in academic life?

Part II: Re-designing Learning


This chapter will consider the spatial implications in disrupting hierarchies and shifting identities in the undergraduate environment and explore the extent to which space can act as an agent of change in this process. Drawing on research and empirical evidence, the chapter explores the link between the re-design of learning and the design of the physical space. As this chapter will illustrate, when the active learner is centrally positioned in the learning spaces of the future, space can support relational and dialogic learning experiences and promote learner agency and reflexive learner engagement in a way that has the potential to become a platform for transformative educational change. As educational spaces are re-conceptualised, recognising a fundamental shift has taken place in how, when and where we learn, it can be argued that space is acting as an ‘agent of change’ facilitating change in pedagogic practice, relationships and methods.


This chapter explores connections of the assessment of learning at the programmatic level and the humanitarian mission of higher education. To highlight typical aspects of assessment routines, we examine the experiences and processes of a small department in the college in the United States focusing on two themes: concerns about assessment culture and concerns about assessment data. Assessment of student learning falls under the umbrella of regular faculty work. However, these activities become contradictory if we reflect on assessment as cultural labor discussed through layers of alienation and distribution of labor among part-time, full-time faculty and students. Further, discussing data practices, we question the philosophy of datafication, or tendency to measure any aspect of learning with presumed objectivity, as well other data routines. To address the limitations of assessment from the humanistic point of view we call to develop a dialogue in order to provide opportunities for justice to students, faculty, and data. Such opportunities can emerge from honest discussions of faculty labor in the assessment engagement and reframing assessment as a research process.


Education systems focus on the means for achieving our aims, through science and technology, while there is a general neglect of subjecting those aims themselves to rational scrutiny. The project of humanizing higher education will make these aims and purposes central to teaching and learning. This will necessitate a revision of the standard questions in the dominant stream of anglophone philosophy on the grounds of a critically based understanding of human agency and with the aim of its proper appropriation. Furthermore, in the context of a global multicultural context what is needed is a method for introducing all traditional-religious understandings into the heart of the public debate. Secular liberal democracies have a hands-off policy toward those traditions as anomalous in modernity, but this threatens to lead to the formation of cultural ghettos. Gauchet (1997), however, sees liberal humanism as arising out of religion. This chapter puts forward the idea that these person-focused narratives, when re-framed, and alongside other disciplines in the humanities, can provide a corrective to what is currently neglected.


Many studies document the importance of learner-centered active teaching to improve college students' critical engagement with challenging problems presented by our information-rich twenty-first-century environment. Others indicate that students from less privileged backgrounds often struggle even in well-designed classrooms. What is lacking is a mechanism for understanding these divergent outcomes and designing courses that better meet the needs of the diverse students in the college classroom. In this chapter, an argument is presented for understanding college student learning and curriculum design through the lenses of epistemological development and behaviors of learning. The consensus model presents descriptions of four epistemological stages, creating a framework to help classroom practitioners and administrators better understand the abilities of their students. The foundational assumption is that using appropriate curricular components will support student engagement and epistemological and self-regulation growth. To support this assumption, the model is accompanied by research-supported activities and strategies that benefit learners at different developmental stages and with different degrees of self-regulation. Moreover, intentional and reflective teaching has the potential to improve faculty understanding about the nature of learning and acceptance of learner-centered pedagogies, which will also have positive consequences for students. The end result will be a more inclusive learning environment with improved outcomes for a wider range of students.

Cover of Humanizing Higher Education through Innovative Approaches for Teaching and Learning
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Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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