Technical Education in Jeopardy? Assessing the Interdisciplinary Faculty Structure in a University Merger
Vellamo, T., Pekkola, E., & Siekkinen, T. (2019). Technical Education in Jeopardy? Assessing the Interdisciplinary Faculty Structure in a University Merger. In M. P. Sørensen, L. Geschwind, J. Kekäle, & R. Pinheiro (Eds.), The Responsible University : Exploring the Nordic Context and Beyond (pp. 203-232). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-25646-3_8
© The Authors, 2019.
The social responsibility of universities is to contribute to solving the ‘wicked problems’ facing humanity, including climate change, poverty, conflicts and the lack of energy resources. Interdisciplinarity is an approach that enables solving these problems and helps higher education institutions become more socially responsible while meeting the requirements of their stakeholders. In this chapter, we analyse a multidisciplinary and sector-breaking merger of three higher education institutions in Finland, where the merger is justified by its contribution to solving wicked problems through increased structural interdisciplinarity. We examine the suggested faculty structures and views of staff and students to understand how interdisciplinarity and addressing the needs of stakeholders are seen from the perspective of technical education. The interdisciplinary faculty structure is heavily criticised by the internal stakeholders, who claim that it does not meet the needs of the university’s external stakeholders. However, there is debate on whose interests and identities are at risk when the disciplinary boundaries of technical education are transgressed. ...
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