UW-Madison’s Michael W. Apple on Dec. 6 received an honorary degree from the University of Ljubljana in a ceremony on the campus of the oldest and largest university in Slovenia.
According to a University of Ljubljana news release celebrating the event, Apple was recognized for his “exceptional achievements in the field of critical analysis of modern education and also for the successful collaboration with the University of Ljubljana.”
"For me, the honorary doctorate from the University of Ljubljana is quite a special award,” Apple, the John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction
, and Educational Policy Studies
, said after returning to Madison “A number of my books became ‘movement books’ when Slovenia emerged from the break-up of Yugoslavia and I have been involved for years in the development of a tradition of critically democratic educational research, theory and practice there."
The news report out of the University of Ljubljana notes that in his formal address, Apple mentioned the position of higher education within the framework of larger changes, and also pointed out that market logic can lead to exceptionally fast erosion of democratically defined common values and institutions. The effects on education are increasingly visible, Apple said in his comments during the ceremony.
“We must merge many aspects of our lives, including the state and civil society, with the economy and economic logic,” Apple said in his remarks. “Although there will always be tendencies against domination in universities and other important institutions, our everyday interactions -– even our dreams and desires -– will be led by the market realities and relationships. According to this scenario, which is also our reality, the society and culture would no longer be based on common values and trust."
The University of Ljubljana report adds that, at the conclusion of his talk, Apple revealed a few of his key ethical and political principles, among which is the notion that higher education and education in general should be treated as an intergenerational gift.
"It is a source provided by the older generation for the benefit of all the children of the future generation," Apple said during his speech.
Apple’s visit to Slovenia marked the third time since the start of the fall 2016 semester that he has received such an honor. He received similar recognition from both the Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Sul and the Education University of Hong Kong.
The award is Apple’s 13th honorary degree or equivalent. Such honors are among the highest in academia, and usually are conferred as a way of recognizing a distinguished visitor’s contributions to a specific area of study -- or to society as a whole.
Apple is recognized across the world as one of the most important and influential education scholars of our time. In particular, he has made significant contributions to the development of critical educational theory, research and practice. Apple’s books, “Ideology and Curriculum,” and “Official Knowledge,” were listed as being among the 50 most significant education books during the 20th century.