2012-03-05-the-mission-of-humanities-universities-2We live in societies described by social theorists as functional, where the division of labor puts every person in a precise professional place determined by concrete social needs and goals. In such circumstances the university becomes a mediating structure that trains individuals for these professional spheres, supporting the functional principle and acting according to its logic. But how do universities in Central and Eastern Europe construct and pursue their broader mission in the context of functional societies? Should they pursue only the goal of training professionals, or also embody the integrative mission of cultivating the individual in all respects, as exemplified by the German concept of Bildung in Humboldt’s model of a university?

Holism and integration have been enduring educational goals. From the ancient idea of paideia through the Middle Age model of liberal arts schools, the concordia of the Renaissance to the modern conception of integrative learning, the cultivation of a “good and perfect human” has been and remains the mission of much of higher education, even if the characterization of the end goal of education has changed in public discourse. “To be a good citizen,” “to make the spiritual journey to God,” “to train as a journalist, doctor, teacher” are all goals of contemporary education, and all illustrate the diversity in values and missions of educational institutions, as well as society’s changing attitudes toward its individual members and itself as a community. These changes demonstrate a shift from a holistic, integral vision of humanity to training for particular skills considered important in a functionally differentiated society.

This tendency raises important questions. What happens to those centuries-old spheres of human development such as citizenship, union with the transcendent, and progress toward harmony? Do these changes speak to the fragmentation of our educational models, the disengagement of students, and a reduction of civic activity and public service? What functions can and should universities carry out in Eastern and Central European societies today? How do universities promote their social science and humanities functions while fulfilling their integral mission in human life and society in this region? These are the central questions of this conference. The conference organizers invite scholars to address these questions and propose papers in line with the conference title, particularly in relation to the following subthemes:

  • Models of universities in Central and Eastern Europe and types of transmitted knowledge
  • The University in the region – is it an autonomous corporation?
  • The civic ethos in university curricula in the region
  • Explicit and implicit knowledge in the university classroom
  • Community-based education in the region
  • Challenges of the Bologna Process for national university policy in the region
  • The role of research-oriented education in Academia
  • The mission of EHU in the region–20 years of experience
  • Integrative university education: pedagogy, values, and identities
  • Evidence-based research (Scholarship of teaching and learning - SOTL) and student learning
  • Humanities university core curricula–for what purposes?

Please submit a 250-300 words abstract of your presentation and a CV online: http://conferences.ehu.lt/index.php/humanities/2012 by March 30, 2012. If you are interested in other topics that relate to the conference focus, we encourage you to propose a session/panel and submit a 200-300 words proposal to the email address above.

University faculty, experts, and social and political leaders from Central and Eastern Europe as well as other countries.

Conference Language

Key dates
Submission of proposals – March 30, 2012
Notification of acceptance – April 10, 2012
Final programme – May 15, 2012

The amount of conference fee is 30 Euro

Terms and Conditions
Conference organizers will cover participants’ expenses for accommodation and some meals. The European Humanities University will assist participants in obtaining visas, if necessary.
We look forward to your participation and please contact us for more information: conference@ehu.lt