The second day will attempt cross-sectional reorientation, by examining universities' emerging responsibilities as ‘horizontal' themes, especially as they intersect with future challenges described in the first day's ‘vertical' tracks. The day will begin with interactive breakout sessions exploring each of the priority areas (or verticals) covered the previous day. The balance of the day would concentrate on “the Civic Role of Universities” (Universities as Civic Actors or Institutions), “Educating Students” (Universities as Platforms for Learning), and Research (Universities as Knowledge Creators). These plenary sessions will serve to contextualize the tracks within broader institutional roles, offering provocations and driving us toward innovative and holistic responses.
Tuesday, June 29th
11:15a.m. High Order Bit: “Individual and social evolution: through digital gaming, out of the box”
Carlo Fabricatore, Initium Studios & University of Worcester
Play and games can significantly contribute to the expansion and evolution of individuals and societies. So much so that cultures are, in fact, born in and through play. At present, the pervasiveness and richness of digital gaming has enormously amplified the impact of play and games on both individual and societal development, transcending the boundaries, the “boxes” of the “real” world. The presentation will focus on the nature of games, gamers and gaming societies in the digital age, and the importance of understanding them in order to channel game-based evolution towards positive outcomes.
11:30a.m. Plenary: Universities as Civic Actors or Institutions
In recent years society has been asking universities to do more than simply - albeit crucially - educate young students and produce new academic knowledge. The list of new demands include life-long education, open access to scientific papers and educational resources, and encouragement and support for spin-offs and start-ups. But is that it? Of course not. Public education, at all levels, was born with a clear mandate to educate citizens and to increase social mobility, not simply provide students with marketable skills and bookshelves with new scientific journals. Moreover, in our age the increasingly complex problems that we are facing as society, from global warming to water supplies, from the environment to energy issues, from the challenges (and opportunities) presented by bio-genetics and nanotechnology, don't call for a renewal of the concept of University as Public Institution? In other words, don't universities - as institutions as well as through their individual researchers - have a duty to engage more frequently in the public sphere, offering their super partes skills and knowledge at the service of citizens - and their representative - to allow them to properly deliberate? If so, how? What would be appropriate and what would, instead, constitute a deontological breach of professorial decorum and integrity? If it is indeed important, shouldn't universities allow/favor internal organizational changes to better implement such social role? How is that social role linked to freedom of research ? Is the growing need of universities in many countries to court potential private investors (or governments) affecting it? If so, what could the consequences be for our societies? Doesn't the Internet offer extraordinary tools to empower the public sphere presence of universities, professors and students, and to help to reduce social and cultural divides?
This session - organized in collaboration with Biennale Democrazia - will explore these and related issues, to define if and how universities could be considered - and should accordingly act - as civic actors in the networked age.
Marco Santambrogio, University of Parma, Italy
Colin Maclay, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Maarten Simons, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Jan Masschelein, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Session leader: Juan Carlos de Martin