ERG SES C 11, Educational Research
The two key academic values, ‘university autonomy’ – the freedom of the individual university to run its own affairs without interference from the outside (Anderson & Johnson, 1998) – and academic freedom – the right of the individual scholar to follow truth without fear of punishment (Berdahl, 2010) – seem to be well elaborated and are set as significant concepts in the field of higher education. Beyond doubt, this is true for university autonomy as part of contemporary discourses about New Public Management and managerialism. Similar could be said about academic freedom in research and publishing. But even if academic values are a common and repeatedly mentioned topic in literature and research there is still one largely neglected aspect today, namely academic freedom in higher education teaching.
Despite the fact, that teaching was and still is a main task of universities it is less promoted and valued compared to research (Altbach, 2002; Kerr, 1995). The European university started as a teaching and learning cooperation in the Middle Ages (Zonta, 2002) and Humboldt reinforced teaching as one of the two main tasks of the German university model (Ridder-Symoens, 2002). Humboldt’s concept of ‘Lehr- und Lernfreiheit’ (the freedom to teach and the freedom to learn) depicts the dimension of academic freedom in higher education teaching and learning. It is still perceived as the real heritage of the European university (Blasi, 2002) and made a major contribution to the success of the University of Berlin. But even if nobody would claim that ‘Lehr- und Lernfreiheit’ is an old-fashioned and outdated concept today its role and status in contemporary European universities is unclear. Joint efforts to build a competitive and strong European Higher Education Area and the Bologna Process reshaped the conditions of higher education in Europe. Higher Education teaching and learning was massively influenced by the introduction of a comparable degree system and study structures as well as the focus on student and staff mobility. It is still questionable if the new and relatively inflexible three study cycles with a tide time-structure leave any space for free decisions about learning and teaching.
The main question is as follows:
Is ‘Lehr- und Lernfreiheit’ a valid concept in the European Higher Education Area?
and includes the sub-questions:
What is the role and status of ‘Lehr- und Lernfreiheit’ in policy documents, e.g. agreements, declarations, communiqués and conventions resulting from the Bologna Process?
What is the role and status of ‘Lehr- und Lernfreiheit’ in literature and research concerned with developments resulting from the Bologna Process?
The objectives are as followed:
1. Analyse agreements, declarations, and conventions of the Bologna Process.
2. Examine the role and status of ‘Lehr- and Lernfreiheit’ in these agreements, declarations, communiqués and conventions.
3. Examine the role and status of Lehr- and Lernfreiheit’ in literature associated with the Bologna Process.
4. Depict the impacts of the Bologna Process on ‘Lehr- and Lernfreiheit’ in the contemporary European universities.
5. Evaluate the validity of ‘Lehr- and Lernfreiheit’ within the European Higher Education Area.
Altbach, P. (2002). The Academic Profession: Realities of Developing Countries. In Altbach, P.G. (Ed.), The Decline of the Guru: The Academic Profession in Middle-Income and Developing Countries. Palgrave: New York, 1-22
Anderson, D. & Johnson, R. (1998). University Autonomy in 20 Countries. Commonwealth Department of Education, Training And Young Affaires (Ed.). [online] available
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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