Transforming academic globalization into globalization for all.

Author:Ramalhoto, M. F.

Driving innovation and continuous improvement with regard to ecological, environmental and human sustainability is essential for win-win globalization. That calls for research on strategic and monitoring planning to manage globalization and technological and scientific change. This paper describes a new basic function of the university institution 'to teach students to be critical about any kind of information' and presents perspectives, efforts and three proposals for the establishment of a system for managing globalization and technological and scientific change.

Keywords: Bastion of globalization; Globalization management; Trans-disciplinary/integrated knowledge; 'Hybrid' university structure

  1. Introduction

    At the time of Google, Yahoo and Quaero (I Search) the university institution (UI) has to add a Trans-disciplinary integrated knowledge (TIK) dimension to its discipline structure, innovate its teaching/learning processes and find common ground on which to undertake a dialogue on the major issues and new ideas, between engineering (for the sake of simplicity here meaning science/technology/engineering) and other knowledge communities in order to help manage globalization and technological and scientific change. For that the UI has to engage in very ambitious global projects and tasks.

    One important question is how do we find a way for the usual players to talk (listen and be heard) to each other efficiently and to society in order to come to a political and economic construct that preserves and expands the positive effects that have produced globalization as it is today.

    With this aim it is good to know that some multinational chief executive ofricers (CEOs) are demanding foresight not hindsight, innovators not tacticians and market strategists not marketing planners. Most CEOs of modern multinational enterprises define the 21st century enterprise as a value creator enterprise open to diversified cultures. Clearly to manage globalization and technological and scientific change it is necessary to take a more holistic view and a better interaction across all relevant knowledge areas. That calls for the development of the so-called TIK dimension. To better evaluate the need to explore the TIK dimension in the context of scientific change reading of Nous, La Particule et le Monde (Nicolescu 2002) is recommended. This shows how recent discoveries in quantum physics have led to a new vision for science, more holistic and linked to culture, religion, politics, arts and education.

    The UI (one of the oldest and most stable institutions located in different countries) is still a unique knowledge institution on the planet. It has long been a place of research and education in all knowledge areas (including engineering, economics, culture, religion, history, political science, social science, etc.).

    Engineering has a common language, but its progress is often dictated not by engineering factors, and the same is true of its priorities, which are neither necessarily common nor uniform. However, although engineering is very much dominated by politics and economics, it could also influence politics and economics a great deal. In fact, once scenarios or problems have been identified, adequate solutions can be sought by virtual experimentation through continuous advances in information and communication technologies (ICT), simulation software and 'virtual reality'. Those tools allow the analysts to see how the system behaves even before a prototype is built (for details see Swain 2005, They allow the implementation of new designs, improvements and innovations in production or other processes at much lower waste and risk.

    This is a promising avenue to follow that needs new quantitative and qualitative TIK research and even demands innovation in the existing voting paradigm, i.e. when there is no consensus as to the 'best solution' opposition for the sake of opposition is no longer tolerated and both yes and no votes have to be justified. It is necessary that people know the 'what', 'why' and 'how' of the subjects about which they are taking crucial decisions.

    Changes in several aspects of the UI culture are further required, like social image displacement and intelligent ways of attracting the attention of society. It will be necessary that the UI sets up internal and external dialogues, partnerships and joint actions to properly address the different research and education needs of the most relevant components of the TIK dimension. In conclusion, a bastion of globalization that can help globalize the world, in a positive sense, is needed. That calls for research on strategic and monitoring planning to manage globalization and technological and scientific change. This paper is an attempt to address this issue inside the UI.

    The paper is divided into four sections. Section 2 discusses the role of the UI in globalization, defines the UI's new basic function and outlines two research project proposals for discussion, the Internal TIK Plat/form and 'Hybrid' University Structure. Section 3 introduces the third research project proposal, the University Dialogue and Partnership Global Trust, and discusses the more relevant TIK dialogues and partnerships needed. The paper ends with conclusions.

  2. The role of the UI in globalization

    2.1 The UI and its new basic function

    In the middle ages the function of the UI was to obtain, preserve and disseminate knowledge, such that this knowledge was not lost. Nowadays, almost everything is claimed to be on the Internet! However what the Internet provides at present is not properly knowledge, but information. Even knowledge in itself is not enough. We remain vulnerable if we know the 'what', but not the 'why' and 'how'. What we have at the moment is only an explosion of electronic communications technologies that have invaded everything and took many by surprise.

    The Internet and other ICTs, as well as the new globalization paradigm formed by the multinationals and markets, does not necessarily decrease the role of the UI. On the contrary, it stresses the need for the UI today as much as in the middle ages, and for somewhat equivalent reasons. It also calls for specific innovation inside the UI to address its new basic function: to teach students to be critical about all kinds of information. What is the source of that information? Who has credited it as true? Why? What is the scientific proof?. Does scientific proof change from one scientific area to another? What is an opinion? What is a fact? And so on.

    Nowadays it is critical to clearly understand these questions. This stresses the importance of the TIK dimension to establish a kind of common formal language and a coherent body of rules and regulations among all knowledge areas to facilitate good and efficient communications among the different disciplines and knowledge areas, these to...

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