Participation in Higher Education: Voices and Experiences
Although the term participation in the literature generally refers to student access to or engagement in higher education, we are redefining it as “an action or involvement of the people” – students, faculty members, administrators, academic and administrative support staff, and alumni – in universities. We see it as encompassing the experience of all contributors to university life. For students, it is academic and socio-cultural engagement in university life. For faculty members, it is involvement in teaching, research, community service, and decision making. For administrators, it is the use of shared governance bodies. For academic and administrative support staff, it is the maintenance and progress of the system. For alumni, it is feedback in response to the education received and ongoing contributions to connecting the university with society and industry.
From this perspective, university can be defined as a “living organism which is dominated by rationality, kinship, generosity, indulgence; and whose capacity of critical thinking is not limited” (Tekeli, 2010, p. 367). It continues to exist through the active participation of its stakeholders in teaching and learning, research and innovation, community service and administration. It is important to note that participation as an action or involvement in higher education has been evolving over time in the presence of new opportunities but also unexpected uncertainties and crises such as pandemics.
The whole world has been going through a difficult time. The breakout of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020, has not only overwhelmed national health systems, but also resulted in border closures, lockdown of people at home, suspension of public services and severe economic contractions across the world. This has inevitably impacted the way we engage in higher education. Still, engagement or participation has always been one of the foci of higher education studies. At this time, we call upon the members of higher education to reflect on their participation before, during and after the pandemic regarding teaching, research, community service and the administration of universities.
To this end, the organizing committee of the IHEC 2021 invites all of you to discuss and share your work, perception and experience regarding participation in higher education before and during the pandemic from the perspective of education, research, community service and the administration of universities. Studies regarding the ‘new normal’ within the context of higher education are also welcome. Under the conference theme Participation in Higher Education, the sub-themes include but are not limited to:
- Academic and Administrative Support Services
- The Academic Profession, Career Pathways and Professional Development
- Adult Education, Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning
- Alumni and Alumni Associations
- Assessment, Curriculum, Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
- Challenges and Future Uncertainties in Higher Education
- Digitalization, Distance Learning and New Technologies in Higher Education
- Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in Higher Education
- The Function, Mission and Role of Universities
- Graduate Employment Potential: Opportunities and Possibilities
- Higher Education Policies
- Innovation, Knowledge Production and Research
- Internationalization, Localization and Regionalization of Higher Education
- Shared Governance of Higher Education
- Student Engagement and Experience in Higher Education
- University Partnerships with Community, Industry and Schools