Beyond Academia: Rethinking Higher Education for Real-World Impact

Sascha H. Funk
2 min readMar 14, 2023

Higher education has long been seen as a gateway to intellectual exploration and academic excellence. However, this traditional focus on academic articles and conferences may be limiting the true potential of higher education institutions. Is it time for a new approach that prioritizes real-world impact and development-oriented solutions?

Challenging the Academic Status Quo: The academic focus in higher education has historically been centered around producing knowledge and educating scholars. But what about the needs and priorities of society? Are we missing an opportunity to create real-world impact by prioritizing academic excellence over relevance?

Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

Breaking Down Barriers: The academic focus can also be a barrier to entry for scholars from less privileged backgrounds. The pressure to publish and present at conferences can be particularly challenging for those without access to resources and networks. How can we create a more equitable system that fosters innovation and creativity across all levels of society?

Embracing Diversity and Collaboration: To achieve real-world impact, we must embrace a diversity of approaches and perspectives, including qualitative, participatory, and action research. We must also foster collaboration across disciplines, sectors, and geographies to create more holistic solutions. How can we break down the silos of academia and bring together different forms of expertise and experience?

Higher education institutions have the potential to be powerful drivers of social and economic development. But to achieve this, we need to challenge the traditional focus on academic excellence and embrace new approaches that prioritize relevance, diversity, and collaboration. What are your thoughts? How can we create a higher education system that truly meets the needs of society?

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Sascha H. Funk

Head of Media Studies | BKK | New Media & ED #Volleyball, #MuayThai. https://saschafunk.com — hosting @FunkItPod | it’s not rain, it’s liquid sunshine