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Call to Reshape University Curricula


Universities worldwide are undergoing structural transformation, but reform of curricula is also key to their renewal. We invite scholars, educators and administrators to collaborate with us to reshape university teaching and learning.

Universities are experiencing a crisis of purpose, focus and content, rooted in a fundamental confusion about all three. The crisis is all the more visible as their pace of social, intellectual and technological change falls increasingly out of step with that outside. Furthermore, universities are largely reactive where they should be visionary and critical.

Curricula are mostly separated from research, and subjects are taught in disciplinary isolation. Knowledge is conflated with information and is too often presented as static rather than dynamic.

There can be no standard formula to rectify these problems, given the diversity of institutional structures and cultural differences among universities. However, our working group of scholars has made a start. To inform international dialogue and guide the experimental process of redesigning curricula, we have just published a set of 11 principles for rethinking undergraduate courses worldwide (see, and we welcome any suggestions.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

  1. Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Germany

    Yehuda Elkana

  2. Arizona State University, USA

    Manfred D. Laubichler

  3. Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires, France

    Adam S. Wilkins