The republic of learning

Davis, Glyn

Lecture 1: The Global Moment. During the Renaissance, a new generation, living for the first time in a world of printing, created a conversation across borders and languages. Lecture 2: A Lectern in a Dusty Room. On Open Day across the nation, the republic of learning is on display. Amid the multitude of courses on offer, the classroom is changing — new technology, new ways of teaching, and an old debate about how best to share knowledge with the next generation. Lecture 3: Research! A Mere Excuse for Idleness. Research is not an ancient feature of the university, yet has become central to their identity. To tackle the really big questions, such as containing malaria, requires networks of researchers across many institutions. It is the republic at its most inspirational as it discovers and communicates the excitement of new knowledge.Lecture 4: Becoming a Citizen. Who gets to university will set the pattern for the life to follow — not just in income and profession, but across almost every dimension of health and happiness. So access to higher learning is a profound matter of social justice. Ensuring equality of opportunity to higher learning must start at the very beginning of education. Lecture 5: Fired with Enthusiasm. In the modern university, the new sits awkwardly alongside the ancient — medieval gowns and corporate branding, academic board and a chief financial officer. Yet despite its many contradictions, campus remains a place of vitality and imagination, as each new generation seeks its place in the world. Lecture 6: The Republic of Learning. Universities may appear unchanged and enduring, yet the world of the mind is shifting quickly. This is a moment of unparalleled growth, but also of new challenges — the web, on-line learning, and international competition. Australian higher education must think about its role in the republic of learning, so there is a place for every citizen, for every community.

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