Network Objectives

Higher education everywhere is currently undergoing major changes as a consequence of policy initiatives intended to manage budgets in the face of increasing demands for mass higher education, changing employment needs, changes in demographics (of academics and students), the impact of the new media and emerging staffing issues and professional registration requirements.

The objective of this network is to bring together people and projects working in higher education institutions across Europe (and beyond) in order to develop a clearer picture of policies, trends and developments in different countries, and to promote pan-European research collaboration and dissemination.

There is considerable debate around methodology and different ways of conceptualising the field of higher education. We expect this to be reflected in contributions to the ECER conference, where we will be looking to open debate on changing philosophies, policies and practices in higher education as much as to report the findings of research studies and development projects.

The network has five thematic research fields:

1.      Teaching, learning and assessment in higher education

This subtheme includes various topics relating to teaching, learning, feedback, assessment, guidance and supervision in higher education.

 2.      Student transitions and graduate employability

This subtheme considers transitions into and from higher education, employability of graduates, connections with lifelong learning, and the relationship between economic life and the academy.

 3.      Academic work and professional development

This subtheme is focused on the emergence of new professionals, professional development of university staff, academic/disciplinary cultures and identities, changes in academic work as well as issues relating to academics' and researchers’ well-being.

 4.      Policy, management and governance in higher education

This theme focuses on management and leadership of universities (including organizational change) as well as the relationship between state, market and higher education.  This includes the reformulation of national higher education systems and policies (such as the Bologna Process), the role of the supranational and intergovernmental organizations (for example OECD and EU) and the impact these reformulations have on the function and mission of higher education institutions.

5.      Inclusion and diversity in higher education settings

This subtheme welcomes papers relating to equality (both staff and students) in higher education including, but not limited to, disability, ethnicity, race, age, gender and religion. Widening participation and "under-represented groups" in higher education such as mature students or those with lower socio-economic background are also a particular focus. Papers dealing with the academic mobility, migration and academic diasporas are also welcomed.

Keywords

  • academic work;
  • employability;
  • governance;
  • higher education;
  • learning;
  • policy;
  • teaching

Interview with Convenor at ECER 2011