Notes from our meeting on 10th September 2011

SSC Meeting Notes 10/09/2011


David McAleavey, David Young, Mike Neary, Laura Stratford, John Andrews, Sandie Stratford, Jonathan Coope, Joss Winn, Richard Keeble, Sara Motta, Joyce Canaan.


Edwin Bacon, Sarah Amsler, Richard Hall, Jennifer Jones, Mark Rawlinson, Laurence Davis, Joel Lazarus, Scott Davidson, Barna Stefi, Sharon Tabberer, Gordon Asher


  1. Read Mike’s recent article for Open Democracy

  2. Membership and recruiting student members

  3. Curriculum, including Pedagogy

  4. Quality and Peer Review

  5. Areas of responsibility

  6. Power and consensus decision making within the SSC


  1. Began by reading Mike’s recent paper: Discussion around the changes we’re noticing in HE, the increasing marketisation, the threat to subjects that may not be perceived as leading to work. Emphasis on ‘co-research’ and the organic development of the SSC through students and academics working together. How do we make the connection with the current system? We’re not outside the system.Discipline of new managerial processes. Regimes of accountability. Use of words not always explained: Academic commons, pedagogy of debt, enclosure. Elaborate relationships with other groups such as Social Centres, Transition, Union movement, and other groups. SSC as a hub for other groups. What are the SSC’s ethical values? Discuss later. Role of ‘Academics’, ‘Intellectuals’ and other individuals. Difficulty of language. Professionalisation. Critique of professionalism. Vocation of ‘scholar’. Change ‘Academic’ to ‘Scholar’. ‘Associate Academic’ to ‘Associate Scholar’. Put this paper on Google Docs for group to author. Work up into longer paper for conferences/publishing in HE community. Actions/outcomes: Mike’s paper was appreciated and thoroughly critiqued. All SSC members are invited to review and expand it as a way of clarifying and discussing the SSC. We hope to use it to broaden the discussion in higher education about alternative models of higher and co-operative education.

  2. Members: 27 members, £360 in bank, 13 paying members (£155/August), 27 subscribers to blog, 82 members of discussion list. What about organisational membership? How to link to organisations through website? We need to send invitations out to 70+ people on our list of potential members. Mike will send emails out to these people. Monthly meetings on weekends and evenings on alternate months. Send note to list about change of term from academic to scholar. Give one week to respond. How to recruit students? Working group for student membership. Richard Keeble to co-ordinate. Criteria for becoming a student member? Locale, etc. Actions/outcomes: Mike will send out emails to potential new members, based on the list we compiled. Please continue to add suggested members to the document. Our next meeting is October 22nd, then November 26th. 10.30am – 4pm Mint Lane, Lincoln. A working group has been set up to produce a discussion paper around student membership. Please contact Richard Keeble if you would like to contribute.

  3. Curriculum: Copyright of running courses that are also being taught in HE? Shouldn’t just reproduce courses from mainstream. Collection of links to interesting websites. ‘Curriculum’ = ‘course of action’, a ‘journey’. Project is the SSC, courses come later? What are we working towards? What are our greater values? ‘Pro-sociality’? Need to arrange time each year/season for reflection. Need to spend time with students designing the curriculum. What about levels? UG/PG? Use the language of HE to enable the SSC as a project. Tutorial-style classes can work well and worth sticking with. Working group around curriculum. Next monthly meeting to discuss curriculum. Working group to bring paper to meeting. David, Joyce, Jonathan to produce discussion paper. Actions/outcomes: A working has been set up to produce a discussion paper on ‘curriculum’. Please contact Joyce Canaan if you would like to contribute.

  4. Quality and peer-review: Assessment via academic peer-review. Not learning outcomes. Against ‘quality’ as a managerial term but for rigour, a science. Praxis. ‘Radical’: getting to the root of what is significant. What are we kicking against? We need something to kick against that is understood by members. Publication is the measure of quality used in HE. Need a way to explain to Associate members what our measure of ‘quality’ is. Do we need criteria to guide external review? Use journal publication model as a way to guide review and work with external peers? Practice-based work is judged by how it meets a need/objective. May be a number of different ways to measure the ‘quality’ of work/contributions. Need to research the history of peer-review. PhD process is similar to the approach we’re thinking about. All students are ‘research students’. Teacher+student negotiate point of ‘graduation’. This is then put forward to Academic Members, then Associate Academic Members. Based on their work/contribution to SSC as a social project. Need a working group. Ask Sarah Amsler. Sara Motta offered to work with Sarah. Action/outcomes: A working group has been set up to produce a paper for discussion on matters around quality and peer-review. Please contact Sara Motta if you’d like to contribute.

  5. Responsibilities: David Young and Joss Winn are SSC account holders. Joss, David and Jennifer have access to email accounts. Working groups created today: Mike Neary: Recruiting scholars. Richard Keeble, Joss Winn, David McAleavey, Sandie Stratford: Recruitment/section of students. Joyce Canaan, David Young, Jonathan Coope: Curricula. Sara Motta, Sarah Amsler: Quality/Review. Work towards ‘opening’ on Oct 12th 2012.

  6. Consensus: Share written summaries of consensus weekend. Have reflective/reflexive/diagnostic period at end of each meeting. Important not to be overwhelemed by the ‘formula’ of consensus. Rather than discuss in abstract, reflected on the morning. What are the processes/features that have made today work/energising? Met in the heart of the city, in a community centre. Filled a small space. Informal but serious/rigour. Started with discussion of a paper that brought focus to the meeting. Right number of people involved in meeting. Happening organically. Gone back to thinking about the roots of things and focused on practical action. Teaching as a creative, imaginative process. Supportive aspects of the collective dynamic. Collaborative. Emphasis on dialogue. Intellectual, imaginative, informed discussion. Consensus today has been easy. Consensus by Internet: Make proposal to discussion list with 7 day deadline for comment/discussion. When difficult, we can see how it really operates. Creation of small groups very important for building closer relations, trust. Kept an agenda, people were on time. The day had structure. Happy, excited, energised by the meeting. Inclusion of children at meetings? Need to make sure we have adequate child care at meetings.

  7. Parked for discussion: John Andrews to draft a new statement of values, for discussion. Organise an event with guest speakers, music. Inaugral lecture/discussion. Useful for publicity and public feedback. Research on SSC. Some people attending interested in analysing what we’re doing. The SSC is also a research project. Need a calendar of meetings over the year. Book venue for meetings. Prepare reports from working groups for meetings.

Next meetings: October 22nd, 10.30-4pm, Mint Lane. November 26th, 10.30-4pm, Mint Lane. We intend to hold meetings each month in the evenings and on weekends, but the group felt that initially, day-long meetings were required as there is much to plan. Working groups will report back to the next meeting with draft papers for discussion.

  • Values

  • Student scholars

  • Teacher scholars

  • Quality/review

There was also a general agreement to change from using the term ‘academic’ to ‘scholar’ and amend the constitution accordingly. ‘Scholar’ is not professionalised as much as ‘academic’ and may help in breaking down distinction between professional academic members and students. Comments on this matter are very welcome. Please respond by September 19th.

These notes were taking by Joss Winn and are imperfect. If you attended the meeting and would like to add something, please use the comment form below.

Please respond to these meeting notes by sending comments to the discussion list or by using the comment form below. Thank you.

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