Can philosophy help humanity cope with the complexity of reality?

In an earlier blog, I explored the ideas of objectivity and subjectivity and how different world views impact on our understanding of reality. In 2002 philosopher John Gray also explored these issues and their impact on human thought in a book called Straw Dogs. He wanted to attack the unthinking beliefs of thinking people. TheContinue reading “Can philosophy help humanity cope with the complexity of reality?”


I was invited to a virtual event last Sunday by WWK-UK to hear from Sir David Attenborough about his new film on Netflix.  A Life on our Planet is a feature-length documentary which tells the story of life on Earth and the ecological changes of the last century, many of which have been filmed andContinue reading “A LIFE ON OUR PLANET”

Twelve Principles for Reinventing the 21 Century University

Universities are much in the news, but it is not good news. The rise in the  pandemic R number in the UK is having a profound impact on university students as they return in their thousands to campuses to find in many of them that they face total lockdown. So, no immersive quality campus experienceContinue reading “Twelve Principles for Reinventing the 21 Century University”

Michael Crow and the New Realms of Learning at Arizona State University

I have just watched a short video(made in June 2020) of Michael Crow-President of Arizona State University articulating clearly and convincingly this university’s approach to learning post Covid. I would describe it as visionary, comprehensive and accessible, along with many new features; one in particular called by the extraordinary name “Alien Zoo” which they areContinue reading “Michael Crow and the New Realms of Learning at Arizona State University”

Reflecting on including environmental aspects in research integrity and ethics

Guest blog by Judith Krauss (SIID), Stephen Allen (Management), Renee Timmers (Music), Phil Warren (Animal and Plant Sciences) and Matt Watson (Geography) Reposted from SIDD Blog. How important is it to reflect on environmental aspects as part of research integrity and ethics? On 5 June 2020, an online-only workshop supported by the University of Sheffield’sContinue reading “Reflecting on including environmental aspects in research integrity and ethics”

Climate Assembly UK: Talking about the whether…

Guest Blog by Barry Carney, Research Associate with Change Agents UK The UK is legally committed to net zero emissions by 2050. This target was put forward by the Government’s statutory advisor, the Committee on Climate Change, for delivering on the UK’s commitments to the Paris Agreement. The measures are a continued response to theContinue reading “Climate Assembly UK: Talking about the whether…”


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio your philosophy ] i.e., philosophy (or learning) in general. If I have a fond memory of my mother’s wisdom it is this quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet she frequently used in our daily conversations. She hadContinue reading “CREATING BETTER FUTURES:FROM WORLDVIEWS TO A BETTER WORLD”


….in order to act as a driver for change, education itself needs to change, to become transformative, to change values and behaviours. ( Leicht, Combes, Byun, Agbedahin 2018, p29).Steve Sterling and I recently argued in a short paper for the International Association of Universities( that in our experience there is a growing and urgentContinue reading “A HIGHER PURPOSE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION”


There is a growing interest in the idea of civic universities. It’s an idea which has a new resonance with many who believe its time for a reassessment of what a university is for(see my earlier blogs on From Green Academy to Ecological Universities and What is a University For?). I was particularly struck byContinue reading “CIVIC UNIVERSITIES and CIVIC RENEWAL”


I once wrote a book review on effective executive sustainability leadership in our universities in which I declared that, in my experience, there were none who could live up to this accomplishment. I can now report that there is at least one: Michael M Crow, the President of Arizona State University. Today I listened toContinue reading “IS ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY A TRANSFORMATIVE UNIVERSITY?”