A Gulf between Higher Education (HE) Cultures
The Syria Programme (SP) recognises the considerable journey that most of its participants must make between two very different HE cultures, the first where critical thinking and theoretical concepts play no part, where red lines and self-censorship are ingrained, and outputs are predominantly descriptive. The SP Foundation Course was developed in order to introduce core research concepts, which are often entirely alien, as well as to link research and teaching. No SP participant may participate in SP-supported research without having completed this reflective eight-module introductory course.
Academic Skills Development activities seek to address skills gaps and support the challenging transition from a highly politicised, centralised and internationally isolated HE sector constrained by numerous red lines and self-censorship, to an autonomous, albeit regulated, UK HE sector that is committed to knowledge creation and critical thinking, in which everything is open to challenge. A weekly online E-learn Soiree series and ad-hoc training courses are combined with academic writing workshops linked to the Syria Programme commissioned (Strand 4) or grant supported research (Strand 5). The workshops are run in Turkiye to maximise participation. ASD activities individually and collectively help participants to build an understanding of broadly accepted international standards and good practice in both teaching and research, as well as introducing modern methods, practices and methodologies.