Tag: conference review

Conference review: Higher Education as a Critical Institution – the CHER 2016 Conference

lim

Miguel Antonio Lim  (University of Manchester)

Now that next year abstract deadlines are coming up, it is just about time for reflections of what the conference season had to offer in 2016. 

This guest entry is written by Miguel Antonio Lim. He is Lecturer in Education and International Development at the University of Manchester. His research interests include the sociology of evaluation, international higher education, and professional expertise. He has worked on research projects around global university rankings and audit culture in higher education. Miguel has previously been EU-Marie Curie Fellow at Aarhus University and Executive Director of the Global Public Policy Network Secretariat. He has worked for the Asia Pacific Center at Sciences Po-Paris and taught at the London School of Economics.

The 29th Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER) conference took place on the 5th-7th September at Cambridge University around the theme: ‘The University as a Critical Institution?’ While CHER is among the most popular and important research-oriented conferences in the field of higher education, the organizers noted an increased participation at the 2016 conference to almost 200 delegates.

CHER 2016 was marked by the strong presence of higher education researchers from around the world. There was a babble of languages spoken throughout the coffee breaks. Colleagues working in the UK, Russia, China, the USA, Germany, Italy, and the Nordic countries, among others, presented work about their various regions.

Apart from the geographical breadth of the conference, CHER 2016 also showcased a wide variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches towards the study of higher education. These were particularly apparent in the sessions of the conference in which Sue Wright, an anthropologist, and Vicky Boliver, a social policy scholar (using statistical methods) delivered their keynotes.




Conference review: Only connect – Collaboration, cooperation and capacity building through HE partnerships – EAIR 2016

Isabel Roessler  (CHE)

Dr. Isabel Roessler
(CHE)

In this report, Isabel Roessler writes about the 38th annual EAIR Forum. Isabel works at the German CHE – Centre for Higher Education and focus upon her research on Third Mission, applied research and the reform processes of the HE system.

About 200 participants from all over the world joined the 38th annual EAIR Forum in Birmingham. The conference was organised by the Birmingham City University and took place from the 31 August 2016 to 3 September 2016. This year the tried and trusted remained and a new “idea” stand the test.

The title “Collaboration, Cooperation and Capacity Building through HE partnerships” indicates that the conference deals with the work beyond the traditional boundaries and confines Higher Education. Teaching and research as the traditional missions of universities do not cover the whole spectrum of activities: Higher education institutions cooperate with a diverse range of external partners form outside and inside academia. They cooperate inter-departmental as well as inter-institutional, collaborate with local communities, with industrial and commercial sectors of the economy and organisations like NGO, NPO or foundations. Hence, this conference focused on the partnerships of HEI in and with Higher Education.

As usual the EAIR started with a number of special interest groups on Wednesday: “Impact of Quality insurance”, “Graduate School Management and Accreditation of PhD Programmes”, “Widening Access to Higher Education” and “Student as co-designers: creating contemporary curriculum” and in addition “How to get published”.

In the evening, the opening keynote was about “Students and Serial Killers: The Legacies of Clarice Starling”. No doubt, the conference promised to become special. The keynote of Thursday morning addressed directly the title of the conference: “Partnerships and collaboration – lessons from another setting”. Right after the keynote the sessions started. Plenty of presentations were given in six different tracks. The first track concentrated on “Working in partnerships with students: the importance of experience and engagement”. Familiar the track “Learning and teaching in higher education: the perfect partnership?” Participants with a stronger interest in innovation choose the track “Innovative higher education practice through partnership work”. The other three tracks were about “Emerging quality partnerships”, “Creating impact through higher education research partnerships” and “Higher education governance in an age of collaborative working”. In total 86 presentations and five keynotes. The not yet mentioned keynotes in a nutshell: “Higher education and its stakeholders: Protecting ‘the commons’” (Maarja Beerkens), “Internationalising initial teacher education – A case of partnership working across boarders” (Bärbel Diehr), and “Cultural Intelligence – the next big thing for HE” (Marie Mohan).




IPSA2016: Knowledge Policies and the State of Inequality – Instruments For or Against?

Dr. Jens Jungblut  (INCHER, Kassel)

Dr. Jens Jungblut
(INCHER, Kassel)

In this post, Jens Jungblut writes about the recent 24th IPSA World Congress of Political Science and the panel on higher education at the conference. 

The 24th World Congress of Political Science organized by the International Political Science Association (IPSA) took place from July 23 until July 28 2016 under the title “Politics in a World of Inequality”. The conference was held in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland) and around 3000 participants, mainly from political science, were attending it.

Originally the conference was supposed to take place in Istanbul, but due to the security situation as well as the contentious relationship between the Turkish political scientists and the Turkish government the IPSA and the local Turkish organizers decided earlier this year to move the conference to Poland. In light of this and due to the recent events in Turkey the topic of academic freedom was a reoccurring theme at the conference being addressed both in the opening as well as closing ceremonies and in the context of a special roundtable.

Members of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation organized a panel at the conference under the title “Knowledge Policies and the State of Inequality: Instruments For or Against?”. The panel examined how policy actors instrumentalize knowledge policies to increase and decrease the state of inequality between citizens, between nations, and between the world’s geographical regions. As a point of departure, the panel assumed that policymaking is a complex process, involving multiple actors across governance levels with diverse interests and preferences, and that instrument choice thus reflects the policy actors’ ambitions, compromises made, and the intended effects of implementation.




Review: ICPP conference featured multiple panels on higher education policy

ICPPIn this post, we share some experiences from the recent International Consortium for Public Policy (ICPP) conference. The 2nd ICPP conference was held in the beginning of July (1st to 4th) in Milan. The local organisation in Milan was by the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Éupolis Lombardia – Institute for Research, Statistics and Training. The post is written by Mari Elken. 

Milan greeted conference participants with burning heat and a gorgeous conference location at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. The conference attracted 1400 people this year, marking a considerable rise from the first conference in Grenoble in 2013. The conference featured 23 different thematic areas. 17 of these were focused on various aspects of policy analysis, and the remaining focused on specific topics or specific sectors in policy analysis.

Higher education was featured in the Comparative Policy theme, with two panels, “Patterns and pathways of convergence/divergence in higher education: A comparative perspective” and te panel “Higher Education Policy in Asia: Reform, Outcomes, Equity and Access”. Furthermore, education policy received a separate category was well, featuring two different panels – one organised by ERA-CRN with its main focus on “Governance of Knowledge Policies”, and the other was themed “Higher Education Governance between Historical Roots and Transnational Convergence Pressures”.




ECER 2014: The past, present and future of educational research in Europe

Ana Sofia Ribeiro dos Santos (Bielefeld Center for Education and Capability Research)

Ana Sofia Ribeiro dos Santos
(Bielefeld Center for Education and Capability Research)

This review is written by Ana Sofia Ribeiro dos Santos. She is a graduate of the Hedda Master programme, and currently undertaking her PhD dissertation research at the Bielefeld Center for Education and Capability Research and Instituto de Ciências Sociais at the University of Lisboa. Her research is undertaken as a part of EduWel, a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the EU. Her dissertation is titled: Mapping vulnerability through a capabilities approach: a biographical study of first generation students in Portuguese Higher Education. 

The European Conference of Educational Researchers (ECER) is easily the largest conference on education in Europe, both by the high number of participants and its comprehensive approach of the educational field. The Conference is an initiative of the European Educational Research Association (EERA), and its 2014 edition gathered in Oporto around 2500 participants, and I was among them. Although the ECER is not a specialised higher education conference, one of its largest networks is the higher education one, and for that reason the ECER has become a relevant meeting point for the field.

This year’s conference theme was “The past, present and future of educational research in Europe”, a self reflexive call for the need to evaluate the field’s evolution and its challenges, that range from budget cuts to interdisciplinarity demands. The theme also celebrated the 20th anniversary of EERA, and to this effect a specific event was held at Casa da Música, where Prof. Lejf Moos, from Aarhus University, delivered the Presidency of the Association to Prof.Theo Wubbles, from the University of Utrecht.

For those who never been to the ECER, I will explain its organisation. The Conference is divided in 2 sections: the Emerging Researchers conference, where PhD candidates present their on-going research projects, and the Main Conference, where the 31 research networks have their presentations, what generally means that there are over 20 parallel sessions from which to choose from! The variety of the sessions in one of the strongest points of the conference, since there are tracks about vocational training, pedagogies, history of education, assessment, ICT in education, you name it. Having said that, researchers interested in higher education can not only follow its track of expertise, but also take a look at other areas and topics that may match their own research. From my own experience, network sessions from Sociology of Education and Policy Studies and Politics of Education were very inspiring, namely a symposium about Early School Leaving in Europe, whose discussant was Roger Dale, from the University of Bristol. This year, the Higher Education Network (Network 22) presented 121 papers, 9 posters, 8 symposia and 1 workshop. The contributions were divided into 5 topics