Conference theme: Higher Education on the Edge
As chair of the conference organising committee, and on behalf of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, and our colleagues in the Queensland universities, I extend a very warm invitation to you to participate in the HERDSA 2011 Annual Conference, Higher Education on the Edge.
Higher Education on the Edge captures the essence of ‘seismic’ shifts and ‘tectonic’ transformations occurring in the sector, both in Australia and internationally. Our deliberately ambiguous theme was chosen to reflect the edgy, uncertain and intellectually challenging times we face in higher education.
As well as providing a forum for the voices of academic staff, researchers and professional staff who find themselves at the front lines of a rapidly diversifying higher education workforce, the 2011 Conference aims to push some of the more traditional higher education boundaries by encouraging representation from colleagues in the vocational education and training sector, from schools and private providers. Also important will be the representation of colleagues from business, industry and the private sector. Senior institutional leaders and policy makers will play a pivotal role in our Conference as we consider both the policy and the practical implications of what it means to engage with higher education ‘on the edge’. We encourage undergraduate and postgraduate students to participate as we explore the many significant changes in the student experience and academia.
Arising from the conference theme are five research domains as follows:-
- Academic practice, work and identities
- Learning, teaching, assessment and curriculum
- Quality and standards in higher education
- Leadership, management, governance and policy in higher education
- Student pathways, experiences, expectations and outcomes
Some key questions to inform thinking about submissions in the above domains on the conference theme, Higher Education on the Edge: challenges to the academy as the boundaries change, are offered below:
Character of the Academy:
Is the essential character of Higher Education changing? How do we relate to our communities? We have thought of universities as places where learning takes place in the context of active research. Is this still the meaning of the Bachelor’s degree? Should it retain this character if a higher percentage of the population is participating? What are the relations between teaching and research – what does ‘teaching only’ mean in a higher education context? What do our students expect from a higher education? What should be the relationship between the VET sector and higher education?
Who are the people in higher education? The traditional academic, like the traditional student, may fast be nearing extinction – what should we preserve from ‘traditional’ academe? The number of ‘blended professionals’ (Whitchurch, 2009) in higher education is on the rise – how does their role relate to that of the more traditional discipline-based academic?; an increasing proportion of undergraduate teaching is now carried by sessional academic staff – what are the implications of this? What of the primary identity of academic staff – do they identify with their discipline or field of study, or are they rather the corporate citizens of their institutions? How do students build their identity in higher education? What are the relations with industry and the professions?
Quality and standards:
How well do we do what we claim to do in higher education? As the requirement for higher education broadens, is our quality keeping pace? Are we maintaining our standards? How capable are our graduates? Are our assessment arrangements adequate for a new generation of students and community stakeholders? Can we widen participation and maintain standards? Is student demand-driven funding a threat or an opportunity for the sector? How effective are the accountability mechanisms in higher education? Are they contributing to genuine improvement?
We invite our best, most creative minds to come together, to span traditional boundaries and silos and to engage in provocative debates about creative and rigorous strategies for meeting the challenges facing the academy. I do hope you consider being part of this important conference at such a significant time in the history of higher education.
Professor Kerri-Lee Krause (PhD)
Conference Chair, HERDSA Conference 2011
On behalf of the HERDSA 2011 Program Committee:
Ms. Claire Barratt, Web Publisher, Griffith Institute for Higher Education, Griffith University
Ms. Margaret Buckridge, Lecturer, Griffith Institute for Higher Education, Griffith University
Ms. Deanne Gannaway, Head, Evaluation Services Unit, Teaching and Educational Development Unit, The University of Queensland
Dr. Wendy Green, Lecturer in Higher Education, Teaching and Educational Development Unit, The University of Queensland
Ms. Christine Grimmer, Manager, Teaching Quality Enhancement, Griffith Institute for Higher Education, Griffith University
Dr. Clair Hughes, Lecturer in Higher Education, Teaching and Educational Development Unit, The University of Queensland
Professor Kerri-Lee Kraus, Director, Griffith Institute for Higher Education, Griffith University
Ms. Fiona Lombard, Manager, Learning and Teaching Development, Queensland University of Technology
Dr. Roger Moni, Senior Lecturer, Griffith Institute for Higher Education, Griffith University
Ms. Sally Purbrick-Illek, Project Officer, Griffith Institute for Higher Education, Griffith University
Professor Yoni Ryan, Director, Learning and Teaching centre, Australian Catholic University
Dr. Calvin Smith, Associate Director, Griffith Institute for Higher Education, Griffith University
Associate Professor Gail Wilson, Teaching and Learning Centre, Southern Cross University
Ms. Kayleen Wood, Educational Developer, Teaching and Learning Services, Bond University