Debating the Future of Higher Education post-COVID



*Please note this event is in the past.  For more information about the wider project this event on this topic, please visit our The Purpose and Future of Higher Education page.

This event will draw together Higher Education (HE) practitioners to discuss the purpose and future of HE in a post-Covid world. The debate will feed into the RSE/YAS Tertiary Education Futures project and the RSE’s Post-Covid-19 Commission.

While government, funding bodies and HE managers regularly come together to debate future paths for HE in Scotland and the UK, there are fewer opportunities for practitioners and students to join the conversation. As a result, change tends to be led by top-down reforms and initiatives, leaving the expertise, ideas and concerns of those ‘at the coalface’ under-represented.

In hosting this event, the Young Academy of Scotland seeks to provide a constructive, collaborative space for people across the sector to share ideas about their aspirations for the future of Higher Education, in response to changing national and international circumstances.

Our central question is simple: ‘What is Higher Education for?

In asking that, we hope to touch on a range of issues, including but not limited to: curricula of the future (the skills/knowledge spectrum, priority learning areas, interdisciplinarity, transnational courses, trigger warnings/‘safe spaces’, etc); future teaching, learning and assessment methodologies (e.g., virtual classrooms, e-learning, peripatetic courses, vocational learning, ‘living labs’); student demographics (falling numbers, diversity, equality/access, international admissions, mental health) and internationalisation (e.g. its impact on curricula and teaching/learning methods, the markets that drive this, implications for Human Rights).

We aim to look backwards as well as forward, to examine the history of different strands of HE in Scotland, going right back to the Scottish Enlightenment, as a way of better understanding where we are now and what our principles and priorities should be as we and our students navigate an unpredictable future.This is the first step of this discussion, with further events planned in the future. You can also join in the debate via twitter (#tertiaryedfutures) and we also welcome short video contributions, which we will edit to turn into a video. We will collate information during these events, which we will write up in the form of a report.Our panellists have prepared short introductory talks which we invite you to watch prior to the meeting:

Clare Peddie – The Future of HE from a teaching and administration perspective

Paul Hibbert – Dynamic capabilities and the future of higher education

Richard Whatmore – History and the Future

Anita Laidlaw – What is higher education research and how can it support us going forward?

Peter McColl – Innovation and trends in organisational practice

Event Details

Date & Time
Friday 22 May
12:00 – 2:00 pm

Virtual Event (register for link to attend)

Have your say!

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