2018 HERDSA Conference: (Re)Valuing Higher Education

2-5 July 2018, Adelaide Convention Centre

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On behalf of the conference planning committee, we invite you to join us for the 41st annual conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), to be held 2-5 July 2018 (with pre-conference workshops on 2 July) at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide.

The theme for the conference is (Re)Valuing Higher Education. Higher education has undergone dramatic change in the last decade with an international agenda to open universities to a broader range of individuals while requiring researchers to focus on priorities set by government.

The sector is forced to continue to grapple with restrained budgets, increased student numbers, greater student diversity and government agendas requiring preparation of students for work and lifelong learning. It also faces an increasingly under resourced and corporatized and complex research environment.

Within this context we wish to consider what the value of higher education has become. By (Re)Valuing Higher Education we are revisiting the purpose and scope of what being a ‘university’ means as well as considering what differentiates ‘higher’ learning from other forms of post-secondary education.

We have identified areas and points of interest relevant to (Re)Valuing Higher Education as captured within our sub-themes. The points beneath these sub-themes are intended to help guide thinking and potential areas of interest for research. You are however, encouraged to interpret the themes as it best suits your own institutional or national context.

Sub Themes

  • social justice and inclusion
  • purposes of higher education
  • integrity in higher education
  • measures of success
  • academic futures – where to now?
  • emotional labour of academic work
  • staffing higher education
  • leadership in higher education
  • pushing the boundaries
  • places and spaces of teaching and learning
  • health and well-being within the sector
  • graduate futures
  • the use of student data – purposes and/or ethics
  • alternative pathways, access and equity
  • transitions into/through/out of higher education
  • working in partnership within and across communities
  • who are our communities?
  • higher education reforms
  • sustainability of higher education
  • commercialisation within higher education
  • internationalisation/ globalisation
  • innovation and/or renovation
  • new research methodologies and frameworks
  • learning technologies
  • professional development innovations
  • sharing innovative work and ideas

There are many diverse and wide-ranging perspectives from which to approach the notion of (Re)Valuing 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, educators, researchers and students, administrators and policy makers, government, community and industry partners, and our culturally diverse communities. We also welcome international delegates who can provide insights into the value of higher education from other contexts and cultures.

The conference will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre.  Those of you visiting Adelaide for the first time will find a wonderfully friendly and ‘walkable’ city, close to the international airport (10 minutes travel time), local beaches and parklands with plenty of great places to eat, drink, and socialise.   A short walk or free tram ride will take you to the Central Market (make sure you try the coffee at Lucia’s) or the National Wine Centre.  Or you might head into Rundle Street for Thai, Indian or Italian; or Gouger Street for Greek, Japanese or Argentinian food.  Make sure you cross the bridge over the River Torrens to visit Adelaide Oval and St. Peter’s Cathedral.  And for those of you who want to go further afield after the conference South Australia also offers fabulous wine country, stunning native wildlife on Kangaroo Island and the entrance to the outback through the Flinders Ranges.

We hope you can join us for HERDSA 2018, to share ideas and network with colleagues, forge new collaborations and gain new insights into the value of higher education as well as to enjoy the many attractions that Adelaide and its surrounds have to offer.


HERDSA acknowledges the Kaurna people as the Traditional Owners of the land upon which this conference will be held and pays respect to elders past, present, and future.