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Building Institutional Capacity for Student Success
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New Deans Named. Or does it instead entail a durable imprint on its students? Interviews with former JNUSU office-bearers suggest that their time on campus was formative and had a durable impact on their professional life.
Democracy and Education in the United States - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education
Indeed, respondents mostly engaged with professions compatible with their former anti-establishment activism. As students become politicised, many of them choose atheism Figure 4. For instance, the questioning of Hinduism entails an estrangement from the values often attached to it: caste system and relegation of Muslims as second-class citizens. Atheism is also the expression of an attachment to a secular liberal outlook. Atheism is therefore a form of political labelling.
Better Education for better Democracies
While the current diatribe against JNU students is that they foment anti-national thoughts and activities, the survey responses indicate that respondents who consider themselves radical are also affiliated to the Hindu nationalist ABVP and the Congress-allied nationalists of the National Students' Union of India NSUI.
Most left political organisations have reaffirmed their commitment to constitutional process and the rule of law. Only one left organisation DSU can be charged with not adhering to this norm, but that does not make them seditious by default. Thus, the suggestion that radical students of JNU are inherently anti-national is grounded in no evidence. Further, the number of students who claim no affiliation is significantly higher than any organisational affiliation, either left, centrist, or right organisations.
Source: Attitude survey by Martelli — As we can see from Table 1, non-affiliated students also have strong political convictions, with more than out of students identifying as having radical political positions. This is where the political culture of JNU is highlighted even more. Engagement with politics for many students does not necessarily mean joining a campus organisation, let alone left organisations, as is the popular perceptions. Even though membership to a political organisation is not a prerequisite for occasional participation and development of a civic spirit, high involvement often involves having a political affiliation.
At the same time, we would like to stress that organisational pamphlets in JNU inherit the discursive tradition of their parent party. This was echoed again in the entry of police on campus in when 14 students were arrested after gheraoing the vice chancellor. This arrest is not the first obstacle to the institutional functioning of JNU and its politics. In , the university was closed for 42 days after agitations related to the expulsion of a single student. The occupation of the administrative buildings in Chenoy and the expulsion of the pro-Indira vice chancellor from campus by students in led to the sine die suspension of classes and an attempt to vacate student hostels.
In October , the Supreme Court decided to suspend JNU student elections after the refusal of major student organisations to implement mandatory Lyngdoh recommendations. This conflict lasted until March , when elections were finally restored in compliance with the Lyngdoh regulations. The electoral committee for JNUSU elections, which is composed of students, monitors the good conduct of elections. Ironically, the same Lyngdoh Committee recommendation MHRD , which served as the basis for the —12 ban on elections, considered the JNU model of politics as the epitome of student democracy.
Politics in JNU takes the form of discursive radicalism that progressively integrates broader sections of the JNU community in its precincts. On the basis of the survey used for this article see Appendix , Martelli and Ari have shown that for each semester of study in JNU, an individual is 2. Average daily participation in political activities organised on campus is low only 5. This causality upsets the common assumption that more time spent in a campus leads to depoliticisation due to prioritising academic performance, thesis writing, and preparation for public service examinations.
Contrary to many other Indian universities, JNU creates a quantifiable sense of civic commitment towards collective matters. To add to this, it can be said that participation in JNU politics is not exclusive to dominant groups and represents all minority communities. During the data collection on JNUSU candidates it was not possible to establish the admission category of contestants from Muslim and north-eastern communities.
Consequently, these two categories were calculated separately in this table. This outlines a specificity of JNU activism that contrasts with other communal examples of Indian student politics. Jeffrey pointed out that student activism in his field site in Uttar Pradesh was dominated by educated Jats. Brahmins are the leaders, despite different opinions. While the debate over patronisation of minority communities by communist-based organisations at the national level may be a valid one Kumar , figures show that JNU is an exception in terms of community representation Table 3.
Campus organisations have an ambition to represent the minority communities and therefore file candidates from different categories of the population Table 3. While all parties without exception defend the promotion of lower sections of the Indian population, debates about discrimination can be found in various political campaigns for instance a surge in and after the implementation of OBC reservations in higher education, and since for removing administrative obstacles and biases at the entrance exams.
Our interviews indicate that through advocacy for a more socially inclusive campus, political organisations groom activists from Dalit and Muslim communities . By no means do we want to claim here that JNU is a mirror of the Indian society. Rather, we suggest that processes of politicisation do not rely on traditional communal schemes but transcend conventional Indian social stratifications. Our hypothesis is this: if JNU politics is successful in recruiting students from eclectic backgrounds, it is because of the plurality of student organisations on campus.
These organisations represent a large spectrum of Indian political parties with each organisation having its own regional composition. After an organisational split in , the student wing of the CPI M relied on a few leaders from Kerala to restructure their unit. As a result, one out of two activists from the SFI is from the southern states of India.
Further, there are organisations which are not affiliated to political parties but gain student sympathies on larger political positions of labour rights, Dalit and tribal rights, LGBT rights and gender justice. These non-affiliated organisations become important for students who may not want to be attached to ideological positions of a single political organisation.
A VOICE AND A FORCE FOR LIBERAL EDUCATION
Last but not least, participation in campus politics is more or less even across academic schools Table 4. This confirms the inclusive nature of JNU. Main teaching area: School of Social Sciences Number of students: 2, [ Total students in main schools: 6, Total students in combined schools: 1, As with other political arenas in India, public involvement in the JNU campus remains a male-dominated activity Menon ; Beaman et al Overall, women are far less likely to participate in political events on campus Figure 7.
This is an important finding, because JNU is often perceived as a leading institution in terms of gender equality and inclusiveness. Several women stand for elections, are elected to university positions and student organisations including one for LGBT rights and communicate extensively on gender issues. Continuous exchanges between activists and students over time are essential to drive new recruitments. However, elite sections of the JNU population are clearly less affected by this politicisation.
This is indicated in the survey results where the social status of affiliated and non-affiliated students is somehow different. We define this class as the one having access to a high income, set at Rs 1,40, per annum by Sridharan Students with a guardian earning more than Rs 12, per month, are less interested in being part of affiliated politics Table 5.
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