From intellectual stimulating to intellectual ‘streamlining’ – Rhetoric of Innovating Higher Education by Bing Wu Berberich



Title of talk:

From intellectual stimulating to intellectual ‘streamlining’ – Rhetoric of Innovating Higher Education


Bullet points of what you would like to talk about:

  • A personal reflection of university learning and teaching experience, from disinterest to passionate
  • Rhetoric of innovating university learning and teaching through re-emphasising long existing concepts and principles e.g. notion of critical thinking by Dewy (1933), meaning of education by Hargreaves (1972) and Gibb’s Reflective Cycle (1987),
  • Knock on effect of streamlining university L&T (and research) on uneven faculty competence (teaching quality issues of Pre- and Post-1992 universities)
  • Sharp shift of youth mental status since the Pandemic – further away from being independent learner pushed by imposed non-education agenda
  • A provocative exploration of what is higher education really about, taken from perspective of individual development (lifelong learning)


A few paragraphs on your subject:

Centred on the context university learning and teaching, this talk applies a provocative approach and looks at changing landscape of higher education in the Western society as well as the impacted on diverse student equity. The talk takes the stance of university teaching faculty to review common university teaching design, delivery and assessment against intended and actual outcomes. With academic subject classifications, education is also seen as an academic area intending to explore concepts of learning and teaching and contexts of education. Through provocation, I continuously seek answers to the questions such as ‘What is higher education?’ and ‘who is responsible for individual learning and development?’


A few paragraphs about you:

Among many identities I have, I like to be seen as someone who is a lifelong learner; who is practising compassion; who is passionate to enabling more lifelong learners. Looking back at my early year education in China in the 1990s, I have never considered to become a teacher having experienced schooling. My interest of education grew since my PhD, coinciding with personal development in academia. It began with offering support to international MSc students and shifted more to delivering courses aiming at maximising student learning outcomes.


My journey into higher education started just over a decade ago, but I already noticed the changing paradigm of my mind-set as university teaching faculty. Having worked in the UK curriculum in China and UK/Scotland, my interest in education continues to shape and now lies more at the heart of facilitating individuals to become lifelong learners.


What free internet knowledge resources would you recommend? [this website offers a nice visual display based on self-assessment of current status in 8 aspects of one’s life. The wheel of life is commonly used to initiate coaching, it helps to enhance self-awareness before discovering development needs. This is a very nice alternative and free to use.] [Really good to see Dewey’s “How We Think” available to read online for free. It is in my view that this book offers much detailed and in-depth explanation to how we can develop reflective thinking to aid learning and development]

References in the talk:

  • Anderson, Robert (2010). “The Idea of a University today” History & Policy
  • Baregheh, Anahita; Rowley, Jennifer; Sambrook, Sally (2009). “Towards a multidisciplinary definition of innovation”, Management Decision. 47 (8): 1323–1339
  • Drucker, Peter F. (2002) “The Discipline of Innovation”, Harvard Business Review
  • Hughes, D. J.; Lee, A.; Tian, A. W.; Newman, A.; Legood, A. (2018). Leadership, creativity, and innovation: A critical review and practical recommendations. The Leadership Quarterly. 29 (5): 549-569.
  • Pedersen, O. (1998). The First Universities: Studium Generale and the Origins of University Education in Europe (R. North, Trans.; 1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.


This event took place on 23rd November 2023 at The Outhouse (12A Broughton Street Lane, Edinburgh)