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The ethical and playful university

A conversation between Research Professor Neil Selwyn and Associate Professor Rikke Toft Nørgård.

2020.11.19 | Søren Smedegaard Bengtsen

Neil Selwyn, Research Professor in the Faculty of Education (Monash University) is hosting a podcast titled “Meet the Education Researcher”. In the podcast a range of academics are interviewed about their current research work in schools, universities and beyond.

In the episode titled ‘Design and the ethics of higher education’ Rikke Toft Nørgård, Associate Professor at the Danish School of Education (DPU), Aarhus University, was invited to conversate about a few of her latest projects - notably the ethical university manifested as the ‘University of We’ and the ‘Playful University’.

Rikke Toft Nørgård works in the area of educational design thinking, emerging design practises with educational philosophy and thinking about the ethics of higher education.

The ‘University of We’ and the ‘Playful University’ are projects trying to bring different sets of values and visions to our thinking about the future of universities.

About the ‘University of We’

The ‘University of We’ is a university of care and virtue ethics. Based on honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

“In this perspective the university becomes a cooperative or a collective - something we own together, live in together and practice together,” says Rikke Toft Nørgård in the podcast.

An ethical university requires a university with an ethical character and ethical concern for the people inside and outside the university. An ethical university is founded on care ethics and the ethical demand of K.E. Løgstrup. Løgstrup argued that there is an unconditional imperative in the ethical demand to take care of the Other, and this imperative cannot be superseded, rationalized, calculated, or strategically managed. The ‘University of We’ is a university that acknowledges itself as ethical and creates an institution that is concerned for the “We” and the “Other”. The ‘University of We’ is an attempt to try to point towards what is required to be ethical as a university.

The article ‘University of We’ is written together with Associate Professor Søren S.E. Bengtsen (Co-Director of CHEF) and Emeritus Professor Charles Ess.

About The Playful University 

The Playful University is about true play or “sacred play” wherein there is an openness in learning, teaching and research that becomes very visible, because in play you never know the answer. Play in higher education is about playing with worlds and ideas and discovering the unknown.

“One can never know the answer and that needs to be implemented into the core of the curriculum - to the heart of teaching. Because that’s where we discover who we are and what the world is,” says Rikke Toft Nørgård.

Tags: Podcast, CHEF