Supercomplexity, risk and the unknown future: an interpretation of quality assurance under recent educational reforms

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Learning for an Unknown Future Vol. 26

July, 2003, 692 pages
Published by
Helen Mathews and Rod McKay
ISBN
0 90 8557 55 8
Abstract 

In reflecting upon Ronald Barnett’s notion of supercomplexity, this paper examines the synergies between it and recent reforms to the tertiary education sector in New Zealand, so that some comment may be made regarding the role and nature of quality assurance within contemporary higher education. Given identified similarities, this paper provides a philosophical analysis of how the role of quality assurance may realise the stated ideals. It is proposed that a particular conceptualisation of risk is a foundation for the attainment of these goals. Drawing from Barnett it is argued that risk is not a specific type of activity, but is instead a particular disposition that should imbue the actions, speech and reflections of those charged with quality assurance.

Keywords: risk; freedom; quality assurance

Supercomplexity, risk and the unknown future: an interpretation of quality assurance under recent educational reforms

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Curzon-Hobson, A.