Network 22 had a very interesting and successful Conference this year.
Over 90 abstracts were sent to our Network for consideration, with a resulting programme of 81 presentations timetabled for the Conference by August.
- 76 paper presentations
- 1 roundtable of three papers
- 4 poster presentations
The Main Themes of the Network Programme this year were:
- Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (6 sessions)
- Teaching and Learning: Subject Specific Approaches
- Teaching and Learning: student motivation
- Academic and Staff Development (5 sessions)
- Research, Scholarship and Teaching in Higher Education (2 sessions)
- Internationalisation of Higher Education (2 sessions)
- Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Widening Participation (2 sessions)
- The use of technology in Higher Education
- Changing trends in Higher Education
- Changing forms and directions in university roles and governance
- Higher Education, the knowledge economy and employability issues
- Gender Issues and inequalities in Higher Education
- Transitions: moving into or towards Higher Education
- The role of Higher Education in health-related education and professional development
(Please note that each session usually contains 3 papers)
10 presenters either had to cancel at a late stage or failed to show up, but a paper written by one of them was distributed during the relevant session. Also, due to last minute changes and cancellations, we had to cancel one session and squeeze 4 papers into another session. A little confusing at the time, but sorted out eventually.
We had good attendance and excellent discussions. A particular pleasure was how individual papers built on and informed each other during the progress of the programme. This is something that we try to plan but does not always work as well as it did this year.
A number of participants very kindly commented on how well this Network was Chaired. So a thank you to all of the people who Chaired the sessions: Charles Anderson, Tony Brown, Rosemary Deem, Elinor Edvardsson Stiwne, Barica Marentic Pozarnik, Francis Mudge, Christine O’Hanlon, Kari Smith, Christine Teelken, Mary Thornton, Jani Ursin, and myself.
Network 22 held three meetings in Crete during the week of the Conference.
As suggested by our members, we had two pre-conference Network Meetings: one on Monday 20th September and a second one on Tuesday 21st September. These were to identify and discuss areas and issues important to the Network members for European Higher Education. In the event, the meetings were experienced as seminars where the participants, in free, open (and very enjoyable) conversations, explored what the anticipated challenges and core issues for HE would be in the future.
The third meeting was the normal Conference Network 22 meeting on Friday 24th September.
The following themes and issues were identified at the two pre-conference meetings:
- The effects and consequences of the Bologna declaration was an issue we agreed on would be of common interest in a European Network for some years to come: its consequences for lecturers and academics, and for curricula and pedagogy. Particular issues noted included:
- How will the move from Mode 1 to Mode 2 be enacted and how will this change develop in different European educational contexts?
- What will student mobility and student flexibility mean for departments and institutions?
- What will the 3rd stream mean when it comes to the Universities’ expected roles as economic and developmental driving factors in the Regions?
- What will the consequences be of the validation and accreditation systems, when “real competencies” are challenging “formal competencies” and when the University and academic staff have to face the competition form other educators and accreditors?
- The trend towards inter- and multi-disciplinarity: will the integrity of disciplines disappear at undergraduate level in the future?
- Students’ first year at university: the idea of students’ testing’ the idea of university - almost as a lifestyle choice. Also, how to limit attrition, and inculcate students into academic life and study.
- The increasing importance of lifelong leaning (LLL) and the role of higher education and universities within this wider framework of learning as the boundaries between educational sector boundaries begin to dissolve.
The rise of ’social pedagogy’ – where learning is taken out of the traditional and formal learning contexts into social and organisational contexts (such as work-based learning for example), and should LLL be part of the Higher Education Network?
- The policy drive for HE to make an accelerated impact on economic growth: the increasing tension between higher education purposes (and outputs) and the economic requirements of the labour market. The issues of supply and demand: student requirements and demands, employer and industry demands. The resulting change in curricula – offering a curriculum ‘smorgasbord’. The potential of increased stratification of university staffing.
- The policy drive towards ‘regionality’ in the UK and in Europe when considering universities’ and HE roles in HE/business/industry relationships and in knowledge transfer.
- Understanding the ‘knowledge economy’ and what exactly we mean by knowledge?
- University governance, and how universities should be managed in the future?
Further discussion in the third meeting resulted in the following thinking and proposals being suggested for ECER 2005 and 2006:
- Network 22 will continue to welcome symposia and papers on any aspect of higher education, but two foci of particular interest for future research, collaboration and writing will be:
The issue of ‘The consequences of the Bologna Declaration for academic staff and curriculum’. Within the Network we will encourage people to start discussing issues within this area, that could generate in a proposal for a Symposia or Roundtable in Dublin (ECER 2005) or as a start of joint research proposals for the EU or other funding agencies. If there is sufficient interest, we will set up a working group to plan and co-ordinate a pan- European survey to map the implementation process in member countries, the implications of implementation for European countries generally and in particular, and to consequently identify appropriate research questions.
The ‘new social pedagogy’ – where higher education teaching and learning is developing outside of its more traditional boundaries into social and organisational contexts and spaces.
- Invitation to contribute to a symposium. We already have one Symposium planned. The Conference will be held in the University which was founded on the basis of Newman’s work on: ’The Idea of a University’ and will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. The Higher Education and Philosophy Networks will be arranging a joint symposium on the theme of ‘The Idea of a University’ and welcome proposals for papers around this theme.
It would be helpful if you could notify myself (<link>email@example.com) or David Bridges (<link>firstname.lastname@example.org) if you propose to submit a paper for this symposium.
- Communication within the Network was discussed. We did set up a Network website a couple of years ago but it was not used. Currently, people use the Network e-mail list, but at this meeting we decided to re-visit the idea of a Network website. A number of people have projects, ideas and thinking they would like to share, and some have asked to have a list of members’ research interests. We agreed that it would be of little use starting a website that nobody takes responsibility for, updates and development. Jani Ursin has very kindly offered to begin this process again.
- Network members and participants indicated a wish to hold pre-conference meetings again next year. More information on this idea will be available next year through the Network e-mailing list.
Barbara Zamorski – Network Convenor
Elinor Edvardsson Stiwne – Network Co-Convenor