22 SES 01 D, Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education Settings
The paper presents the project IN_DEEP UNIVERSITY (Inclusive Development and Enhancing Pedagogy at University) aimed to examine how the shift from Human Capital to Human Development (HD) paradigm (Alkire 2002, Walker 2006, 2012) can contribute to a new definition and characterization of Higher Education (HE) in a “good university”, based on core values such as well-being, participation, enhancement/empowerment, equity/diversity, flourishing, sustainability and, last but not least, inclusion. The study aims to contribute to the international debate focuses upon the principles at the heart of inclusive education: social equity (Nussbaum, 2007, 2008; Terzi, 2008), learning flexibility and adaptation promoted by a review of courses (Teachability Project-University of Strathclyde; CARS Project-Open University), as well as the promotion of empowerment in order to support choice (Sen and Nussbaum, 1993), and equal education opportunities for persons with disabilities (Terzi, 2005; Mc Guckin, 2010). According to Boni and Gasper (2012) the dimensions considered in university activities were teaching, research, social engagement, governance/university policies and university environment. The matrix which emerges from the interrelation of values and dimensions of university activities identifies aspects that could lead to concrete indicators of students’ flourishing development in this particular contexts and main contribution of HE in their life design. In particular, the access to HE is considered as a fundamental capability (Douglass 2010, Boni et al. 2010, Wood and Deprez 2012, Collins et al. 2012), provided toward the democratic re-distribution of power, viewed as a set of opportunities given to all people and each student to foster personal and communal talents, acquire specific abilities and nurture individual and collective aspirations by exercising the “faculty” (Biggeri and Santi 2012) of judgment, through specific functionings such as deliberation and decision making about our own life (Walker 2006, 2010). In the research, the potentiality offered by the HD paradigm is explored:
- to rethink the challenges posed by inclusion in HE in terms of new practices;
- to highlight new roles and commitments of university as educational system aimed to sustain flourishing development of individuals, communities and cultures;
- to suggest new directions for university policies to transform HE into a conversion factor for students’ with disabilities capabilities.
The project has three main goals:
- Research goal: involves all the shareholders (student with disabilities, families, associations, academic professors and researchers and enterprises), to analyze the dimensions of university activities (Boni and Gasper 2012) under the lens of HD values;
- Applicative goal: develops “life design oriented curricula” to promote students’ with disabilities well-being/well-becoming within an innovative model of inclusive HE;
- Social goal: creates a repertoire of inclusive praxis and commitments (Santi & Ghedin, 2011, 2012) to dealing with HE inclusion providing a network of resources/opportunities engaged in the development of flourishing society.
The research questions are:
- Which is the meaning of access to HE for students with disabilities?
- How to translate the different meanings emerged into real inclusion opportunities offered by HE for the development of personal/interpersonal life design?
- What are the structural and practical implications and priorities of inclusion for university as HE system?
Biggeri, M., Santi, M. (2012). The Missing Dimensions of Children's Well-being and Well-becoming in Education Systems: Capabilities and Philosophy for Children. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. 13(3): 373-395. Boni A., Gasper D. (2012), Rethinking the Quality of Universities: How can Human Development thinking contribute?, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 13 (3), 451-470. Lozano, J. F., Boni, A., Peris, J., Hueso, A. (2012), Competencies in Higher Education: A Critical Analysis from the Capabilities Approach, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 46 (1), 132-147. Walker M. (2006), Higher education pedagogies: a capabilities perspective, Open University Press and SRHE, London.
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