MELBOURNE, Australia: How have universities changed over the past 60 years? Are they any better now than they once were? And what will happen next? These are just some of the important issues that John Biggs encounters in reviewing his long academic career, a journey via Australia, the UK, Canada and Hong Kong. Tonight in one of our innovative social-media book events, Strictly Literary is proud to announce the worldwide launch of Changing Universities, John Biggs’ insightful and highly relevant memoir. It’s offered for sale as a print-on-demand paperback with a high-quality gloss cover in full colour and excellent professional binding (now printed in Australia to minimise time and delivery charges) and as an eBook in a range of formats for different reader platforms, including the popular Amazon Kindle.
As a student and as an academic, John Biggs (left) has participated in 60 years of change in universities, changes in time and in place. He graduated in psychology from the University of Tasmania in 1957 and obtained his PhD from Birkbeck College, University of London. He has held academic positions in the University of New England, Monash University, the University of Alberta, Newcastle University NSW, and the University of Hong Kong, holding full professorships in the last three. He has published extensively on learning and teaching in institutional settings. His concept of constructive alignment, described in Teaching for Quality Learning at University, has been implemented in several countries. Since retiring, he and his wife Catherine Tang have consulted on learning and teaching in higher education in several countries. Also since retirement he has published four novels (including Disguises, also now available from Strictly Literary), a collection of short stories, and a social-political history of his home state, Tasmania.
Biggs’ experiences were bizarre, traumatic, hilarious but in the end rewarding. His experiences tell us what universities were once like, how they came to be what they are today, with a hopeful stab at what they might be like in future.
Eminent academics have reviewed Changing Universities and here’s what they have had to say:
Prof John Kirby, of Queen’s University, Canada says: “Biggs is a true scholar, happiest when left to his research and teaching.”
John Hattie, Professor and Director, Melbourne Education Research Institute, University of Melbourne, writes: “There have been many books about the major changes to universities – usually decrying the managerialism, pursuit of funding, and lack of collegiality. John Biggs tells the story of change via a remarkable career – across four continents, many universities, and different cultures. The intrigue, the power users and abusers, the games, and the spineless nature of too many within these universities seem not to have changed over the last 50 years. More fun to read than the current attacks on universities, it still raises serious questions about how universities are run, for what reason, and for what benefits. This is a perfect read not only for current academics, especially those thinking of moving to Head positions, but also for outsiders who wonder what happens in the ivory towers.”