Welcome from Convenors

On behalf of the conference planning committee and the Western Australian Branch, we invite you to join us for the 39th annual conference of the Higher Education research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) to be held 4 -7 July 2016 in Fremantle, Western Australia.

The theme for the conference is The Shape of Higher Education. This theme provides an opportunity to not only report and reflect upon and to critique and challenge the current shape and direction of higher education but also to look to the future and engage your colleagues in creative possibilities.

The planning committee has endeavoured to capture a range of issues that shape higher education under five sub-themes. The points under each sub-theme provide guidance of possible topics for you to address but we encourage you to interpret the theme as it best suits your context.

The evolving policy context both global and local
Sustaining mass higher education
Leadership across the academy
Challenging the changing nature and purpose of higher education
Ethics and values
Resilience, thriving and wellbeing in the academy

Designing curricula and assessment for quality learning
A holistic student experience that prepares future graduates
Modes and models of teaching and learning
Learning analytics to enhance and support learning
Expanding disciplinary boundaries and interprofessional education
Integrating academic and learning support

The broadening landscape of higher education providers
Alternative pathways, access and equity
Transitioning into, through and out of higher education
 Engaging community, industry and government
Student mobility and transnational partnerships

Supporting innovation in a competitive environment
Research training for diverse career pathways
Engaging undergraduate students in research
The scholarship of teaching and learning

Designing professional learning to support change
External influences and pressures on the nature of academic work
Career pathways for a diverse and changing academic workforce
Reward and recognition
Collective and individual activism and resistance  


There are many stakeholder perspectives from which to approach the Shape of Higher Education. We welcome contributions that reflect the diversity of participants in higher education including private and non-university higher education providers, the vocational education and training sector, teachers and researchers, undergraduate and postgraduate students, administrators and policy makers, government, community and industry partners, and our culturally diverse communities. We also welcome international delegates who can provide insights to the shape of higher education across other contexts and cultures.

The conference will be held in Fremantle, at the mouth of the Swan River, just 30 minutes from the Perth CBD. Fremantle is an eclectic mix of art, music, museums, shopping and markets, restaurants and entertainment set against a backdrop of 19th century heritage listed buildings, a maritime history that includes a working port and the fishing boat harbour which hosted the 1987 America's Cup yacht race. It is a walkable city with much to explore and occupy your free time.

We hope you can join us for HERDSA 2016, to network with colleagues, forge new collaborations and share and gain new insights into higher education as well as to enjoy the unique character of Fremantle and the many attractions that Perth and its surrounds have to offer.

HERDSA acknowledges the support of the five Perth-based universities - Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, The University of Notre Dame Australia and The University of Western Australia – in hosting the 2016 HERDSA conference. HERDSA acknowledges the Whadjuk Noongar people as the Traditional Owners of the land upon which this conference will be held and pays respect to elders past, present, and future.

Allan Goody

Melissa Davis