Re-envisioning students in higher education: Needs, challenges and opportunities

Higher education has been widely influenced by three fundamental shifts. First, higher demand for access to education due to the changing financial, governmental and societal needs has brought expansion policies all around the world. This has given rise to massification of higher education at both national and international levels. Second, information technologies have been pushing the change in the structure of teaching and learning processes by bringing new technologies and delivery methods into education. Third, mobility trends have diversified the populations within societies including organizations and higher education institutions.

All these above-mentioned developments have led to a more diverse student body in higher education with a wide variety of backgrounds, needs and expectations. In this rapidly changing environment, higher education institutions are expected to respond timely and meaningfully to the needs of the student population. Thus, policy makers and leaders of higher education need to create mechanisms that would allow them to embrace the current student body through an analysis of the opportunities and the differentiated challenges. To this end, two main questions will be explored extensively to better understand the student population and develop ways in which higher education institutions engage this new community of learners into high quality educational experiences

  1. What are the changes in student population?
  2. How does higher education respond to the constantly changing student community?

Understanding the profile of higher education students and their needs together with the responses of higher education institutions towards this population necessitates the examination of several issues. In this regard, the 4th International Higher Education Studies Conference (IHEC 2019) targets to discuss the topics which must to be considered on the basis of the diverse characteristics of students and their expectations, and the opportunities and challenges they bring to the context of higher education.

Significance of the conference

Students have become one of the major foci of higher education since the demand for higher education has an increasing pattern in today’s world. In addition, we are living in a century where educational institutions are being scrutinized in terms of meeting the needs of the social, cultural and economic circles. As such, higher education institutions are going through change, re-structuring or transformation processes. While doing this, it is crucial to understand who the students are and what they experience during this change process.

Students, as the leaders of next generations, take place at the core of universities; they are unique in several ways, they have various aspirations and hopes. In this context, higher education can play a vital role in contributing to their psychological, social, cultural and academic development. To achieve this, higher education institutions need to examine, explore and appreciate the student population together with their needs and demands.

IHEC 2019 aims to create a platform to share ideas and research related to changing student body in higher education; its influence on a variety of processes including teaching and learning, organizational culture and climate, finance, leadership, and governance among several others; and the ways in which higher education institutions can respond to these emerging changes and forces. Therefore, IHEC 2019 intends to open a platform of discussion not only for understanding of student population and their influence on higher education institutions, but also for exploring their needs, the opportunities and challenges they bring to university life. The conference aims to share the new trends in the student population, contemporary theories and models in student affairs, teaching and learning, and shared governance among many others.

In order to delineate the conference theme from different angles, we hope that higher education policy makers, NGOs, industry and business world representatives, researchers and academics from all disciplines participate into our conference.

Topics of interests include the following areas:

  • Diverse student body
  • Academic, psychological, social and cultural development of students
  • Student engagement in learning
  • Academic support, mentoring and career planning
  • Graduate education and graduate students
  • Access, admission and student retention in higher education
  • Student assessment and evaluation in higher education
  • Lifelong education, adult learning, continuing education
  • Distance and virtual learning, open education
  • Globalization, internationalization and student mobility
  • 21st century learning spaces
  • Student finance and support
  • Youth studies