Higher Education Research & Development Call for papers for the 2020 Special Issue

Re-valuing Higher Education: Learning(s) and teaching(s) in contested spaces.

Higher Education Research & Development

Guest Editors: Sharron King, Ann Luzeckyj, and Susan Blackley

Today’s universities are shaped by multiple, concurrent and often conflicting forces. Once cherished values are now in tension with new, popularist or resurgent values. The rise of neo-liberalism in many countries, along with nationalism, xenophobia and other incendiary perspectives are pushing up against the more liberal and traditional imaginings of the role and purpose of the university in society. The valuing of the liberal arts, and scholarly ideals, such as reciprocity, collaboration, and academic freedom, are being eroded. Technological advances are changing contemporary educational environments, learning spaces and pedagogical practices. The Higher Education sector increasingly grapples with constrained budgets, massification, managerialism, greater student diversity, worrying rates of graduate employment and cynicism about the value of credentials and degrees. Confronted with these changes, many are questioning the value and values of and in Higher Education.

Governments, employers and community groups, university presidents and vice chancellors employ the prefix ‘re’ throughout their discourses on universities and Higher Education with increased frequency. In this context, it is now common to see calls for universities to ‘restructure’, ‘refresh’, ‘rejuvenate’, ‘revitalise’, ‘renew’. In each of these re-castings the underlying assumption is that what is fixed with the prefix ‘re’ will be new, better, different.  What does it mean then, in this context, to re-value Higher Education?

This Special Issue trains the spotlight on the value of Higher Education and the values that underpin practices in learning and teaching, research and engagement with the wider society. We question what it means to be an institution of Higher Education, and what, if anything, differentiates universities from Vocational and Education Training colleges.

We seek contributions that focus on the purposes of Higher Education in the 21st century, and the values that underpin how this is enacted. Submissions from those who can provide insights into the value of Higher Education in a range of contexts and cultures are welcome. In particular, submissions that respond to the following questions will be sought:

  • How might different perspectives (e.g., historical, philosophical) help illuminate discussions about the value of Higher Education?
  • What does being a university mean at this point in time, in different geo-political contexts, and from different stakeholder perspectives?
  • As the purpose and scope of Higher Education institutions change, for example, with the increasing focus on widening participation, massification, outcomes and employability, what values underpin university curricula, and learning and teaching practices?
  • What values are perceived, developed, embodied or contested by students and by faculty at the forefront of learning and teaching? 
  • What are the purposes of Higher Education in the 21st century?
  • What potential is there for advances in technology and learning analytics to enhance, change or diminish the value of Higher Education?
  • What (and how) curriculum changes have been enacted in order to create 21st century curricula, and how have these been evaluated?

Ready to submit?

Submission deadline: November 16, 2018

For full submissions details, visit the 'Instructions for Authors' page.