Higher education (HE) is increasingly finding itself the object of research conducted by quite a wide range of actors, inside and outside of higher education, reflecting different interests and backgrounds.
However, this field remains marginal in most schools of education in the UK, is often poorly institutionalised and tends to lack the visibility required for research to be able to inform and engage critically with the policy sphere.
For all these reasons, a number of researchers sharing interest, experience and expertise in higher education policy and practice have decided to get together as a research group within the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. Initially composed of academics and research students from EDU, the group intends to open up to colleagues with similar research interests from outside the school. The group has also started to liaise with individuals beyond UEA towards possible institutional collaborations in research and teaching.
Deriving from a general focus on the implications of policy changes and societal transformations on HE landscapes in the UK and beyond, the following research areas have been identified as reflecting the current expertise and interests of the group.
The academic profession: Issues of initial training and professional development, The internationalisation of the academic workforce in the UK, trends in the international circulation of academics and consequences on national HE systems, as well as the implications of changing student identities and experience on academic practice.
The transformative impact of technology: Technology and pedagogical practice, the digital student experience on and off campus, issues of quality, access and equity in distance and open learning.
Globalisation and internationalisation of higher education: Forms of cooperation and dependencies in post colonial higher education. Trends in international student mobility and implications for pedagogy. A controlled expansion? Regulatory frameworks and funding mechanisms at local, national and international levels. The "Bologna process" in Europe and beyond.
Higher education in society: Discourses and practice of community engagement. Universities in the local economy, issues related to the studentification of cities. Comparative perspectives on barriers to, participation in, and access routes to higher education. The public roles of higher education: universities and their constituencies in contexts of conflicts and transitions.
Student identities and learning cultures: Subject identities in mass higher education, HE funding and impacts on student experience and engagement. Learning environments and learning processes.
Drawing on the existing networks of it founding members, the group is already developing collaborative research projects and dissemination events. The resulting increase in visibility of this research strength of EDU should have an impact on our recruitment of research students, on our relations with researchers in other schools (HE research is by nature an interdisciplinary field attracting interest from throughout the social and management sciences), and on our capacity to work collaboratively with similar groups outside UEA.
Current/recently completed research and capacity building projects of group members
David Bridges. European Educational Research Quality Indicators (EU Framework 7 Project led by Prof Ingrid Gogolin on behalf of the European Education Research Association. David Bridges is working on this project on behalf of the British Educational Research Association (2009 - September 2010).
David Bridges and Barbara Ridley. Applied educational research for development: building sustainable capacity for higher education in Ethiopia . DfID-DelPHE 2007-2009.
Geoff Hinchliffe(PI) and Adam Longcroft. Employer Conceptions of Graduate Employability, ESC, HEA 2009. A study of local employers aimed at deepening understandings of employability.
Geoff Hinchliffe - UEA Teaching Fellowship: Capabilities in the Curriculum. The research is being conducted by two lecturers in AHP and HIS. Hinchliffe initiated the project and acts as adviser.
Sandra Leaton Gray. Small group teaching and technological innovation within HE. TLRP and the Cambridge/MIT Institute (CMI). 2004-2006.
Yann Lebeau. What is learned at University. The social and organisational mediation of university learning. TLRP. 2004-2008.
Yann Lebeau. The role of universities in regional transformation: with John Brennan (Open University), Allan Cochrane (OU) and Ruth Williams (OU), ESRC 2007-2009.
Yann Lebeau. Mapping the circulation of concepts to, from and within the African social sciences. With Jimi Adesina (Rhodes University), Yann Lebeau, David Mills (Oxford University), John Fell Fund 2008-2009.
Rob Walker. ENSEMBLE (mobilising semantic web technologies to support HE courses where the curriculum is based on complex case material). ESRC-TEL project based at the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) in Cambridge.
Rob Walker. Visual Methods. ESRC Research Methods Workshop Series directed by Jon Prosser (Leeds). The series promotes the use of visual methods (photography, video, drawings and model-making) across the social sciences.
Barbara Zamorski. Research in Academic and Staff Development in Higher Education. With colleagues in Sweden (Linkoping University) and Estonia (University of Tartu).
Research & Development bids (on going and submitted)
Exploring international trends in higher education and their impacts on academic practice and curriculum. Forum and seminar series proposal submitted to ESCalate (October 2008) by Yann Lebeau and Vassiliki Papatsiba.
Semi-vocational degree courses and their impact on student identity. Research proposal submitted to ESRC (March 2009) by Sandra Leaton Gray and Yann Lebeau with colleague in Paris 5 (Catherine Agulhon).
Selected publications of group members
Bridges, D. (2008) ‘Assessing the quality of research in higher education: the UK Research Assessment Exercise' in Ed T.Besley, Assessing the quality of research in higher education: a comparative study, Sense Publication.
Watts, M. & Bridges, D. (2008) Widening participation: encounters with the pedagogies of higher education, Cambridge, Von Hügel Institute/ Aim Higher.
Bridges, D. (2007) ‘Research ethics, virtue and the practice of higher education', Socialinai Mokslai Nr 2 (56) pp 7-13.
Bridges,D., Juceviciene P, Jucevicius R, McLaughlin T.H. and Stankeviciute, J. eds. (2007) Higher education and national development: universities and societies in transition, London, Routledge/Falmer.
Hinchliffe, G (2009) ‘Capability and Deliberation', Studies in Philosophy and Education (in a special issue of SPE on capability, co-edited by Hinchliffe).
Lebeau, Y. (2008) 'Universities and social transformation in sub-Saharan Africa: global rhetoric and local contradictions', Compare: journal of comparative education, 38:2, 139 - 153.
Houston, M. & Lebeau, Y.(2006) The Social Mediation of University Learning. SOMUL Working Paper No 3. York. The Higher Education Academy.
Lebeau Y. (2006) ‘Universities as mediating spaces of the global into the local/les Universites espaces de médiation du global au local' Cahiers de la Recherche sur l‘Education et les Savoirs No 5. : 7-14.
Brennan, J., R. King, and Y. Lebeau. (2004). The role of universities in the transformation of societies. Synthesis report. London: Association of Commonwealth Universities/The Open University.
Ridley B (2008) Education and Adaptive Preferences in Ethiopia Human Development and Capability Association Conference, New Delhi.
Zamorski, B. (2006) ‘The audit and ‘embrace' of quality in a higher education system under change' In David Bridges et. al. (eds). Higher Education and National Development: universities and societies in transition, London and New York: Routledge London and New York: Routledge.
Zamorski, B. (2006) ‘Bringing Industry and Academia Closer Together: The Introduction of the Foundation degree in the UK'. In Paivi Tynjala, Jussi Valimaa & Gillian Boulton-Lewis (eds) Higher Education and Working Life: Collaborations, Confrontations and Challenges . Oxford and The Netherlands: Elsevier.
Membership of journal boards, networks and professional associations
David Bridges: Councils of the British (BERA) and European (EERA) Educational Research Associations.
Yann Lebeau: ESRC network "Cross regional perspectives on the transformative impact of higher education" established in January 2006. Founding member of the ‘Researching Students' Group (British Sociological Association). Editor (since July 2006) of the Journal of Higher Education in Africa (founded in 2002 by CIHE, Boston College and CODESRIA).
Barbara Zamorski: Lead Convenor and Chair of the European Educational Research Association (EERA) ‘Research in Higher Education' Network. Guest editor in 2009 of the European Educational Research Journal (EERJ) on quality issues in HE.
Current members of the RHES group:
Anna Robinson-Pant: currently researching international students' academic experiences.
Barbara Ridley: Interested in research capacity development. Has co-directed two capacity building projects in Ethiopia's higher education system.
Barbara Zamorski: Research in Academic and Staff Development in Higher Education
Christine O'Hanlon: writes about policy and practice in the 'inclusion' of students with special educational needs (SEN), and marginalised groups.
David Aldous: Recent work has focused on understanding the transitional experiences of agents within and between the context of Further and Higher Education.
Geoff Hinchliffe: exploring how conceptions of graduate identity can be used to understand the transition from student to employee. Also interested in seeing how the Capability Theory can be used to formulate a richer conception of employability that links to well-being.
Grahame McDonald: Current project looks at professional and academic identity formation among HE lecturers in further education.
John Elliott: Interest in the theory and practice of action research within the broad field of education and training
Julie Worrall: Community University Engagement Manager. Currently researching academics' perceptions of community engagement.
Rebecca Westrup: Research focuses on the construction of learner identities. Her recent work has focused on the development of undergraduate students' learner identities within academic writing practices.
Rob Walker: current research interests are in extending the use of case methods in university teaching, and in particular using semantic tools within case methodologies
Yann Lebeau: Broad research interest in higher education policies and impacts on academic experiences.
Tesfay Tsegay (Addis Ababa University): Research and professional development projects in higher education leadership.
For further information about the group's activities and membership, please contact Yann Lebeau (group convenor): firstname.lastname@example.org