Student wellbeing and mental health: the opportunities in learning analytics. Jisc, 2018.
This report explores the contribution that learning analytics can make to mitigating the crisis in student mental health in Britain’s colleges and universities. Worldwide, an estimated 20% of children and adolescents are affected by mental and substance-use disorders, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and drug and alcohol abuse. Student mental health is a subset of this epidemic. In addition to the distress caused, poor mental health and a diminished sense of wellbeing have a significant effect on student academic performance and the ability to complete a course of study.
Data is central to the analysis of student wellbeing, mental health and achievement, and to public health in general. Key elements of established practice in learning analytics also have the potential to contribute to other aspects of student wellbeing, and for improving the efficacy of interventions that can address mental health issues. This will require the full and effective integration of academic and professional services – a “whole university” approach. It will also require co-working across institutional boundaries such as the integration of data managed by universities with data from independent providers of student accommodation.
To be effective, such a whole university approach must recognize the diversity of universities and colleges and the wide variation in the circumstances of their students. Assuring student wellbeing by engendering positive mental health will require different responses according to the location of a university and the community of students that it serves. By bringing together data from multiple institutions, subject to bilateral agreements that meet data protection requirements and provide defined and guaranteed dis-identification, national-level planning can be informed by real and diverse institutional needs.
Student Wellbeing and Mental Health (2018)
Jisc and the mental health crisis in our universities. Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), 3 July 2018.
The impact of mental health issues on people and their futures can be illustrated in the story of one student, a keen violinist, whose depression led her to stop playing the instrument, instead watching hours of the US reality TV show Dance Moms.
Stories like this show how poor mental health and a low sense of wellbeing impacts on many aspects of life, including academic achievement. And it is a growing problem – the most recent Student Academic Experience Survey by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Advance HE shows both that students’ sense of wellbeing is less than the population as a whole and that the level of student wellbeing is falling.
The growing crisis is now being recognised at the highest levels. Last month, universities and science minister Sam Gyimah announced a charter for best practice to set and measure standards of care, requiring appropriate provision of counselling and support services.
As with all aspects of health provision, comprehensive and reliable data, collected in accord with ethical standards and appropriately protected, will prove central to the success of this initiative. Here, Jisc can make a major contribution to mitigating the mental health crisis through its new national Learning Analytics service, available to all colleges and universities in Britain.
Jisc and the mental health crisis in our universities
Leadership in Uncertain Times: Five Faultlines. Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, 2017
Doris Salcedo’s installation at the Tate Modern – Shibboleth – is an emblem for the leadership of universities in uncertain times. This 167-metre fissure in the floor of the Turbine Hall is a fault line that “represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred. It is the experience of a Third World person coming into the heart of Europe”. Cut deep into the floor of the museum, the fault line is part of the building’s structure; while it requires attention it cannot be wished away or covered up with a coat of paint. The contradictions it represents are here to stay.
This powerful metaphor encapsulates the multiple threats to universities; for leadership in uncertain times. Faced with the fault lines that have come to define our world today, university leaders have a choice to make. They can fall back on well-tested responses to the cacophony at the gates, trusting that established forms of knowledge claims will be sufficient to absorb dissent into the modes of debate and reason. Or they can recognise that times have changed; that some of these fault lines have significant implications for universities; that continual change and uncertainty will be perpetual; that violence and violations of personhood are to be expected. And, most importantly, they can confront this violence and these violations as part of their leadership brief.
Leading in Uncertain Times Series Leadership in the Fault Lines
How to make an Internet of Intelligent Things work for Africa. The Conversation, March 2017
Late in 2016 Senegal’s Banque Regionale De Marches announced the launch of the eCFA Franc; a cryptocurrency for the countries of the West African Monetary Union – Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo and Guinea-Bissau. This and similar innovations mark the coming of age of a new generation of applications – an Internet of Intelligent Things – that could provide a new infrastructure for economic development across Africa.
The Internet of Things is a network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items. They are equipped with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity so they can collect and exchange data. There’s wide enthusiasm about spectacular innovations such as Intelligent refrigerators and driverless cars. But a quieter revolution is underway in everyday systems and facilities, such as financial services.
There are particular possibilities here for Africa. The potential for the continent’s economic growth is well established. There’s also an abundance of opportunity for digital innovation. This was clear from a recent continent wide entrepreneurship competition organised by the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. More broadly, the new Internet of Things has the potential to compensate for Africa’s legacies of underdevelopment. The key here is the development of the blockchain from a fringe concept into a mainstream digital innovation.
How to make an Internet of Intelligent Things work for Africa
“Connected Learning: Innovation in the Face of Conflict”. In Higher Education and Democratic Innovation, edited by Sjur Bergan, Tony Gallagher and Ira Harkavy. Council of Europe Higher Education Series, in partnership with the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy and Queen’s University. 2016.
How can the university, as an anchor institution for its communities and for the public good, use new digital technologies to best effect to promote learning in societies riven by conflicts? What can be learned from such limit cases that is beneficial to higher education more generally?
Connected Learning – Innovation in the Face of Conflict (2016)
“Objects, Images and Texts: Archaeology and Violence”. Journal of Social Archaeology 16 (1): 79-93. 2016.
Today, monuments and archaeological sites are often specific targets for violence. But rather than casting this as either collateral damage or the result of ignorance and incivility, it can be argued that the material world, in all its widely varied forms, is enmeshed in conflict and violence. This can be better understood in terms of the haptic significance of objects caught up in extreme and traumatic circumstances.
Archaeology of Violence (2016)
Confronting slavery: turning Brown’s difficult past into future opportunities. Times Higher Education, December 12, 2016.
How should a university engage with the consequences of its own history? How can difficult and controversial pasts add to the quality and effectiveness of a university’s work in the present?
Ten years ago, Brown University published the Slavery and Justice report; reflections and recommendations following from revelations about its early benefactors’ involvement in the Rhode Island slave trade. Today, Brown is reprising these principles in considering how a university should respond to the deep and contentious divisions that have followed from the US elections.
Confronting slavery: turning Brown’s difficult past into future opportunities
The vocational alternative: a definitive opportunity for universities? Times Higher Education, July 31, 2016.
The announcement, in early July, of a radical new plan for skills development across the UK was lost in the fallout from Brexit. If implemented, the government’s response to the Sainsbury review of further and vocational education will restructure pathways into skilled work at all levels. Seen on a broader canvas, the Sainsbury proposals are in tune with a far wider realignment of expertise with economic requirements, offering many universities a set of opportunities that could be definitive.
The vocational alternative: a definitive opportunity for universities?
Why are South African students so angry? BBC News, March 30, 2016
South Africa’s universities have faced protests and disruption, linked by a strong common thread. A place at a public university is now unaffordable for a large majority of potential students. Last year saw a temporary fix and the government’s budget, tabled in Parliament in February, will extend these stop-gap measures. But until the financial causes are addressed, the crisis will continue to escalate, with significant long-term consequences.
Why are South African students so angry?
South Africa’s student protests have lessons for all universities. Guardian, March 3, 2016
Violence at South Africa’s universities has escalated from damage to statues and artworks and confrontations with security staff and police, to the burning of buildings and brutal clashes between student factions. It’s the second year of conflict over tuition fees, shortages of student accommodation, low-paid staff and the language of instruction. Underlying youth anger are the legacies of racial discrimination and colonialism, high levels of unemployment and pronounced and increasing income inequality. While the form of campus protests is specific to South Africa, these fault lines have parallels in other higher education systems, including those of Britain and the US. We see global concern about the low-paid and immigrant workers who provide essential campus services and the effects of inequality on participation in higher education. US campuses are riven by racial tensions, while Europe is witnessing a surge of xenophobia in the face of the refugee crisis.
South Africa’s student protests have lessons for all universities
“Mergers in South Africa and Post-Apartheid Reconstruction. Perceptions After the First Decade”. In “Mergers and Alliances in Higher Education: International Practice and Emerging Opportunities”. Editors: Adrian Curaj, Luke Georghiou, Jennifer Casingena Harper and Eva Egron-Polak. Springer, 2015.
Faced with the legacy of racial segregation, South Africa’s first democratic government had a formidable task in normalizing all aspects of education. The 2002 merger plan was intended to achieve both equity in provision and a mix of institutional types, and educational outcomes that would be appropriate to the country’s needs. While there has been no systematic assessment of the success of the merger process, a review of quality assurance reports and government responses to institutional-level crises suggests that success has been partial. It is clear that the apartheid era had left behind a deeply dysfunctional set of institutions that required radical reform and that the government’s merger policy broke the mould of racial segregation. It is also apparent that, for a significant sub-set of newly formed universities, it is still too early to evaluate the full merits of the mergers that brought them into being. But, on the other hand, the most recent government policies imply that mergers have done little to address key issues in Higher Education provision and that many problems, that the 2002 merger policy was intended to rectify, still remain.
Mergers in South Africa and Post-Apartheid Reconstruction (2015)
“Against inequality: towards a curriculum for social and environmental innovation”. 213-232 In Verena Bitzer, Ralph Hamann, Martin Hall and Eliada Wosu Griffin-EL (eds.), The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation. New Frontiers in Africa. London, Springer. 2015
The provision of education – at all levels – is widely recognized as one of the key elements in addressing both poverty and inequality. However, now-prevalent market models for the provision of education are inappropriate for this purpose, since they render educational attainment as a positional good that may exacerbate inequality and restrict access to education to elite groups. Amartya Sen’s formative concepts of capabilities and functionings provide a sound and productive basis for an alternative approach, whether for the provision of basic education, or for access to opportunities in further and higher education and training.
Curriculum for Social and Environmental Innovation (2015)
“Milieux de Mémoire”. 355-366 In Alfredo González-Ruibal (editor), Reclaiming Archaeology: Beyond the Tropes of Modernity (Archaeological Orientations). New York, Routledge. 2013.
In this chapter, I outline a basis for engagement – for a form of practical action in what González-Ruibal terms the milieux de mémoire. This can be developed around the properties of ‘things’ – the material world that defines the archaeological field. I develop this argument in two stages. First, I tease apart the core concepts of time and place, materiality, the relationship with the object of enquiry, power and the politics and practice. I isolate photography and its resulting images as archaeology’s fellow traveller through high modernism and as a key constituent in progressive, mediated milieux de mémoire. Next, I appropriate the rich detail of some of these cases – in Greece, Spain, the US and Hong Kong – to develop the idea of what I term ‘object enabled mediation’. This can be understood as phronesis – practical action.
Revealing Memories from Darkness (2009)
“Inequality, and the Public Good and Private Benefits of Higher Education”. In Brenda Leibowitz (ed), Higher Education for the Public Good; Views from the South. Stoke-on-Trent, Trentham Books. 2012.
Over the last few decades, and in many parts of the world, levels of participation in higher education have risen sharply. In turn, this has prompted a shift from public funding to an expectation that students and their families should bear a greater proportion of the cost of a university education. As public policies have been shaped accordingly, this often‐ contested shift has come to be characterized as a distinction between the public good and the private benefits of education. This tussle between advocates of public goods and private benefits engages with the key issue of inequality and its consequences. In many parts of the world, profound socio‐economic inequalities structure educational opportunity from the earliest years of education, whether in the United States, the United Kingdom or South Africa.
Public Good and Private Benefits of Higher Education (2012)
“Sexuality and materiality: the challenge of method”. In Barbara Voss and Eleanor Casella (eds), The Archaeology of Colonialism: Intimate Encounters and Sexual Effects. Cambridge, University of Cambridge Press, 2012.
Sexuality’s particular quality is to be both intensely private, personal, and sensory and also public and definitive of the structures of social and economic organization, everywhere. As such, sexuality may leave no material trace and may be denied or disguised in written records, persisting only in the ephemera of memory. But at the same time, sexual norms or prohibitions may shape assemblages of artifacts, the organization of domestic space, the design and construction of institutional buildings, and the layout of cities and landscapes. Developing an archaeology of sexuality requires that the particular duality of the private–sensory and the public–material is made explicit and more general. As with all disciplines, archaeology is what archaeologists do. If there is to be an archaeology of sexuality, there needs to be attention to “method,” to the hermeneutical processes that move backward and forward between conceptualization and evidence, progressively building up our understanding of the world.
Sexuality and Materiality (2011)
“Inequality and Higher Education: Marketplace or Social Justice?” Leading Innovation: Leadership Foundation Series Four, 2012.
There are many determinants of inequality and poverty. Together, they can constitute self-reinforcing syndromes – poverty traps – whether in developing countries or in highly industrialised economies such as Britain’s. Access to appropriate education is key to breaking these cycles or marginalisation, and therefore to social justice, and universities are integral parts of national education systems, whether they are public or private institutions. Providing access to education is a challenge to the leadership of organisations, including the leadership of universities. While national education policies may direct attention to inclusive and transformative priorities, these are notoriously difficult to achieve in the face of the collective reluctance of a university to change. Similarly, the sticks and carrots of policy levers can be overwhelmed by the complex mechanics of admission requirements, student finance arrangements and assessment systems; given the long cycle of student progression through a higher education system, it can take the life of several parliaments to know whether policies have succeeded or failed.
Inequality and Higher Education (2012)
“Revealing Memories from Darkness”. 177-185 In Memories from Darkness; Archaeology of Repression and Resistance in Latin America. Edited by Pedro P. Funari, Andrés Zarankin and Melisa Salerno. New York, Springer, 2010.
Memories from Darkness is a contribution to an emerging “archaeology of repression.” Focusing on the twentieth century, and on what González-Ruibal (2008) has usefully called “supermodernity,” such approaches show how specialized technologies were developed and deployed to serve the ends of authoritarian regimes and state terror, with a lineage from German and Italian fascism, French colonialism in Algeria, a broad swathe of military governments in Latin America, and to the current “war on terror.” They also show how we can trace and reveal evidence for resistance in the context of an explicitly engaged archaeology that recognizes the valency of political action in shaping our understanding of the past and the implications of research for social justice and human rights.
Revealing Memories from Darkness (2009)
“Nothing is different but everything’s changed”. In The Next Twenty Five Years? Affirmative Action and Higher Education in the United States and South Africa. Edited by Martin Hall, Marvin Krislov and David L. Featherman. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2009.
It may be a paradox of the university as an institution is that little changes with time and yet little is predictable. This is well illustrated by the recent history of the University of Cape Town. If Justice Day O’Connor’s mirror to the future is reversed to reflect UCT in 1980 there is a predominant sense of continuity. Architectural motifs are the same, inspired by Jefferson’s design for the University of Virginia and mediated by some controversial modernism and the frame of Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. Teaching is still in tiered lecture halls and smaller seminar rooms. Some eccentrics persist with blackboard and chalk. Yet if anyone at a graduation ceremony in early December 1980 had predicted the political order of South Africa 25 years later, they would have been regarded as eccentric. If they had made their views publicly known, they could have expected the attentions of the Bureau of State Security. Nelson Mandela was on Robben Island, the ANC in exile, internally weak and regarded as a terrorist organization. Segregation was in full force, as was job reservation, residential segregation and the Immorality Act.
Nothing is different (2009)
(with Dorrian Aiken and Nazeema Mohamed) “Institutional Culture and Diversity: Engagement and Dialogue in a South African University”. In The Next Twenty Five Years? Affirmative Action and Higher Education in the United States and South Africa. Edited by Martin Hall, Marvin Krislov and David L. Featherman. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2009.
Universities are complex institutions where people congregate to teach and learn, conduct research, take part in public events and administer the day-to-day processes by which the institution reproduces itself. These activities contribute to a unique culture that shapes the relationships between members of the campus community. Affirmative action is designed to transform such cultures by countering the injustices of discrimination— particularly those based on race, gender and ethnicity—with accelerated and focused policies for change. But such policies can just as readily be undermined by the persistence of those very prejudices that are making life intolerable for the excluded. Very often, success or failure will depend on everyday slights or acceptances, scowls or smiles, greetings or snubs—the actions that James Scott has termed “everyday transcripts” of domination and resistance, or inclusion and acceptance. All of this depends on what is really only a very general definition of “institutional culture.” The pressing question of South African higher education is whether we can define the term more specifically, in order to permit targeted interventions with measurable results? Can we break this broad category up into individual domains—architecture and the physical plant; curriculum; service learning; working conditions and professional development; organizational structure, and others— that can be targeted for interventions?
Institutional Culture and Diversity (2009)
“Proclamation 43”. In John Schofield (editor) Defining Moments, dramatic Archaeologies of the Twentieth Century. Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, 2009: 115-122
Proclamation 43, issued by the South African government on 11 February 1966, marked for destruction a community of more than 60,000 people living close to the centre of Cape Town (Hall 2001). Mostly of mixed descent, ‘Coloured’ in apartheid typology, their suburb of District Six had been declared a white ‘group area’. The destruction of District Six would come to stand for the many similar episodes in other parts of South Africa, and would serve as a rallying point for the internal opposition to state repression that would lead to the collapse of the apartheid state some fifteen years later. More widely, systematic discrimination on the grounds of race in South Africa became the mark against which universal principles of justice and human rights came to be set in the second half of the twentieth century, building on the momentum of the US Civil Rights movement and crystallizing in the iconography of Nelson Mandela. As with other ‘defining moments’, the destruction of District Six acquired its meanings through political action, representation and ‘memory work’ in the years that followed. This chapter traces the strands of these meanings through to the recent past, in which some of the issues set in motion by Proclamation 43 remained unresolved.
“New knowledge and the university”. Anthropology Southern Africa, 32 (1 and2): 69-86, 2009.
What forms of knowledge have legitimacy in the contemporary university? By using Actor-Network Theory to unravel the strands in a recent dispute about access to skeletons from a burial ground in Cape Town, this paper shows how circulating systems of references connect institutions, historical trajectories and differing sets of interests to form competing knowledge systems. Rather than falling back on a defence of established disciplines and academic authority, it is argued that there are considerable benefits in recognising the importance and validity of knowledge generated ‘in community’, and in the course of political discourse. Rather than undermining truth, such an approach will result in both better science and more informed community action.
New Knowledge and the University (2009)
Other, and older, publications
Writing, all the way back to 1976…..
Martin Hall – Publication list