Higher education institutions are currently being subjected to a variety of pressures that seek, primarily, to enhance higher education’s contribution to the successful creation of so-called ‘knowledge economies’, together with, and receiving only slightly less emphasis, the achievement of greater equity and social justice. These pressures have led to a differentiation between ‘elite’ and ‘mass’ functions, to changing and differentiated notions of ‘graduateness’ and ‘expertise’, to changing relationships between research and teaching functions, to a shifting balance between pre-career and ‘lifelong’ learning, and to changing relationships between higher education institutions and the communities they serve - locally, nationally and internationally. Above all, these pressures have challenged traditional structures and cultures of governance and steering of higher education systems and institutions. These represent the issues and themes that will be addressed during the conference, informed by the reports generated by the ESF Forward Look on Higher Education.
This conference will be of interest to academic and policy researchers in the field of higher education and to researchers in other relevant social science fields, e.g. science policy, regional development, governance, social equity.