Higher Education: Students, Institutions and Controversies (Gen Ed 1039)





Why do we seek higher education, how do we experience and conduct higher education and what do we do with higher education?


Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

Manja Klemenčič

Five people in silhouette wearing graduation clothing.

Enrolling in higher education is an aspiration of ever more people. Within a generation there has been an extraordinary global expansion of higher education, in all but the poorest countries. This remarkable transformation raises questions about the effects of higher education on students and its broader societal impact, access to higher education and its role in addressing social inequalities, and how governments, markets and individuals and institutions shape higher education. This course explores contemporary higher education institutions, their students and controversies through international comparative perspective and diverse multidisciplinary approaches. 

We read what leading international scholars from the interdisciplinary field of higher education studies have written about higher education. We seek to understand the workings of different types of higher education institutions by conducting a field visit outside the Harvard bubble. We look deep into our own experiences of higher education and explore the behind-the-scenes of Harvard. We do so with insights from guest speakers from Harvard administration, personal reflection and collective exploration. The centerpiece of this course is a trilogy of student essays or a capstone research paper critically examining and proposing solutions to higher education issues you care about at Harvard or beyond. This is an opportunity to gain perspectives on established and emerging areas of higher education research, insights into today’s changing higher education landscape, and the tools to explore the most pressing higher education issues. This course helps you develop agency to navigate and shape the higher education spaces we belong to and to design your own pathway through higher education.

Register for Gen Ed 1039