Critical Edge Alliance is a global collaborative framework for universities that focus upon student-centered learning, critical thinking, interdisciplinary teaching and research, and social engagement. We encourage students and faculty to share experiences of learning and teaching, researchers to embark on joint projects, and administrators and staff to exchange information about the particular challenges and promises of progressive higher education.


The Alliance aims to create a new global community of learning and research, but also to promote the following ideals:

Democratic participation, social inclusion and social justice in order to encourage active citizenship in communities and the world at large.

Human understanding and empathy across national, ethnic, cultural, gender/sexual and religious differences.

Collaboration and partnerships of knowledge exploration, between university and society, across academic disciplines and among faculty and students.

Active and mutual learning towards personal and communal development

Combination of practice and theory in order to encourage reflection and critical questioning to identify and address problems in the world.


Many different intellectual traditions have nourished modern critical higher education. The ideal that higher education should transform students into independent and critical thinkers inspired university reforms starting in Europe’s Enlightenment period. Later reform movements have also questioned established authorities and emphasized the emancipatory and transformative potential of higher education. North American liberal arts colleges demonstrated that modern higher education did not have to focus upon professional and vocational training and found new ways to enable the students’ self-cultivation. South American and Indian critical pedagogy illustrated that higher education can serve democracy and social justice. The reform universities of the 1960s and 1970s delivered new models for interdisciplinary learning and research.

The Critical Edge Alliance has gathered universities that aim to continue, develop and renew these traditions of critical higher education. It is based upon collaboration among institutions that consider themselves as alternatives to conventional higher education and are dedicated to progressive and innovative forms of teaching and research.