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Turcan, Romeo V., and John E. Reilly, eds. Populism and Higher Education Curriculum Development: Problem Based Learning as a Mitigating Response. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.


This book explores the extent to which populism and the populist agenda is influencing curriculum content and learning methods in higher education. Against a background of increasing inequalities and a rising tide of nationalism and populism, this book raises concerns that populism – and its various manifestations – represents a grave challenge to learning. Using problem based learning as a case study, the editors and contributors draw on a range of cross-disciplinary studies from various regions to examine how regional, national and organizational perspectives emphasise different aspects of PBL. In doing so, they question whether PBL provides an effective response to external influences, or offers a counter force to a ‘populist’ higher education agenda. Has the learner become the centre of the process, or are they simply a reflection of the external forces shaping curriculum? This book will appeal to scholars of problem based learning, as well as populism and the role of higher education in society. ​

Table of contents

  • Setting the Scene
    • Politics and Curriculum Content in a Global Perspective: Addressing the Populism Tsunami
      John E. Reilly, Romeo V. Turcan
  • Populism in Globalized World
    • Making Sense of Emerging Populist Agendas
      Peter Scott
    • Challenges for the University: Recovering Authentic Liberal Culture During Ascendant and Populist Neoliberalism
      Nikhilesh Dholakia, A. Fuat Fırat, Aras Ozgun, Deniz Atik
    • The Origins of the Current ‘Crisis’ Facing British Universities: Ideology or Incrementalism
      John Baldock
    • The Paradox of Democracy
      Samuel Rachlin
    • Modern Border Security
      Rt Hon Bruce George, OBE
  • Problem Based Learning as a Mitigating Response
    • Management, Philosophy and Consciousness in the Shaping of Problem-Based Learning
      Michael Fast, Woodrow W. Clark II
    • Is University Management Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution for Problem-Based Learning Development and Critical Thinking?
      Birgitte Gregersen
    • The Socially Engaged University: The Complexities of Business Relations Under the New Political Paradigm
      Olav Jull Sørensen
    • Stakeholder Politics and PBL Curriculum: A Learner’s Perspective
      Maria Kriegsbaum, Bernadett Deák
    • Internships: Meeting Stakeholder Demand for Vocational Curriculum? Benefits and Costs of PBL-Based Practice Learning
      Jesper Lindgaard Christensen
  • Problem-Based Learning Supporting Global Agendas
    • PBL: A Teaching and Learning Concept Is Facing Artificial Intelligence
      Ralph Dreher, Gesine Haseloff
    • PBL and Social Inclusion
      Sofia Daskou, Nikolaos Tzokas
    • Establishing a Link Between Meaning and Success Via PBL: Rethinking Entrepreneurship and Communication
      Kim Malmbak Møller, Mads Lauridsen, Jeppe Spedtsberg
    • Storytelling Sustainability in Problem-Based Learning
      Kenneth Mølbjerg Jørgensen, David M. Boje
    • Liquid Times – Newness and Uncertainty: An Innovative AAU PBL Response
      Romeo V. Turcan
  • Concluding Remarks
    • In My End Is My Beginning
      John E. Reilly, Romeo V. Turcan

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.