SRHE - Society for Research into Higher Education           Society for Research into Higher Education
     Annual Research Conference 2010, 14 - 16 December 2010
     Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Conference, 13 - 14 December
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bullet Dr Amanda Goodall
bullet Dr Nicholas Maxwell
bullet Professor Etienne Wenger
bullet Professor Sir David Watson
bullet Dr Jill Jameson - Conference Chair


Dr Amanda Goodall - Conference Speaker
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Dr Amanda Goodall - Conference Speaker   Dr Amanda Goodall

Marketing and Strategic Management group
Warwick Business School

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Amanda Goodall is in the Marketing and Strategic Management group at Warwick Business School. Her research is on leadership and productivity, with a focus on knowledge-based organizations -- such as universities and hospitals. Amanda uses a mixture of quantitative and qualitative evidence to try to identify what kinds of leaders improve organizational performance. She has a book on the topic, ‘Socrates in the Boardroom: Why Research Universities Should be Led by Top Scholars’ (Princeton University Press). During the first half of 2008 Amanda was a Research Fellow at Cornell University, and she spent the latter part of the year as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Zurich. She gained her PhD in 2007 at Warwick Business School. Amanda’s journal publications and CV are available at www.amandagoodall.com.

Why managers should not replace Socrates in the boardroom

In specialist organizations like universities, experts not managers make the best leaders. My research shows that the performance of universities improves if they are led by presidents, vice chancellors or rectors who are outstanding scholars. A natural alternative argument is: what a university leader needs is primarily high managerial ability allied merely to some acceptable minimum level of technical ability. In contrast, my central argument is that where expert knowledge is the key factor that characterizes an organization’s core business, it is expert knowledge that should also be key in the selection of its leader.

Why has it become necessary to defend the position of scholars as leaders in universities?

In many countries, including the UK, universities have been exposed to a range of cumbersome management practices, and academics have experienced the pressures of external accountability, and a continuous cycle of performance monitoring and quality audits. In a review of Tony Blair’s era in the journal Nature, Robert May, former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, expressed fears that the ‘extreme growth of bureaucracy -- too often masquerading as accountability’, has ballooned out of all necessity. The suggestion is that managerial systems have become a means in themselves, rather than a means to an end.

The increase in managerial processes is correlated with a rise in the number of managers: between the years of 2003/4 to 2008/9, the number of managers employed in British universities increased from 10,740 to 14,250 (up 33%). During the same period, academic staff rose in numbers from 106, 900 to 116,495 (up 10%) and students rose from 220, 0180 to 239, 6055 (up 9%). (Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency).

How might an increase in managers, especially those in leadership positions, affect the productivity of scholars?

This question will be addressed in my talk. It is interesting here to consider what happens in other comparable organizations. For example, how likely is it that a major law firm would hire a non-lawyer (or an unsuccessful lawyer) as head of firm? Very un-likely; power always resides with the lawyers, the specialists. Consulting firms also share our collegial culture, indeed universities often call on firms such as McKinsey’s to help with recruitment of leaders. Some recruiters have placed managers and those from a non-university background into vice chancellorships. However, be assured that McKinsey’s would never promote into a leadership position anyone from outside consulting or even their firm; and, furthermore, only those thought to be among the best consultants would be considered. In a similar vein, we would expect our university’s HR director to be an expert in human resources, our CFO will specialize in financial matters, and our chefs should know something about cooking.

It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that specialists in universities -- academics -- should be expected to concede power to generalists, or managers. (Arguably, our proximity to government hasn’t helped us. But these matters will no doubt be discussed in much detail December 14-16).

Why should scholars lead universities? In short, and of relevance to the conference theme, it is because the knowledge acquired through having been a career academic, provides the necessary wisdom to make the right decisions when a leader.

The core business of universities is research and teaching. Leaders who are scholars have a deep understanding of the core business, and, therefore, are more likely to create the right conditions under which other scholars will thrive. Similarly, professional managers will create the necessary conditions for other managers. These are not interchangeable situations. An administration beset with burdensome managerial processes will likely have a negative impact on the productivity of researchers. Ultimately, those who can, will leave for another institution, or country, and the best students, as in the past, will refuse to enter academe. This is inefficient for both students and nations’ economies, especially during times of financial crises and climatic challenges.

If I have not convinced you thus far, note just that the best universities in the world are overwhelmingly led by outstanding scholars. And, as I will demonstrate, the evidence shows that causality follows the leader.

Questions for Group Discussions:
  1. Why has it become necessary to defend the position of scholars as leaders in universities?
  2. How might an increase in managers, especially those in leadership positions, affect the productivity of scholars?
  3. Discuss Amanda’s view that“The knowledge acquired through having been a career academic provides the necessary wisdom to make the right decisions when a leader.” Why should scholars lead universities? Or why shouldn’t they? What do you think?


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Dr Nicholas Maxwell - Conference Speaker
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Professor Merle Jacob - Conference Speaker   Dr Nicholas Maxwell

Emeritus Reader
University College London (UCL)

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Nicholas Maxwell is an Emeritus Reader at University College London (UCL). Nicholas is a philosopher who has devoted much of his working life to arguing that there is an urgent need to bring about a revolution in academia so that it seeks and promotes wisdom and does not just acquire knowledge. For nearly thirty years he taught philosophy of science at UCL. In 2003 he founded Friends of Wisdom, an international group of people sympathetic to the idea that academic inquiry should help humanity acquire more wisdom by rational means. Nicholas has published six books spelling out different aspects of the argument for an intellectual revolution, from knowledge to wisdom and has contributed to twenty three other books. He has published over seventy papers in scientific and philosophical journals on problems that range from consciousness, free will, value and art to the rationality of science, simplicity, scientific realism, explanation, time and quantum theory. Notable amongst the books Nicholas has written or contributed to are the following works: What’s Wrong With Science? (1976); From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution in the Aims and Methods of Science (1984); The Comprehensibility of the Universe: A New Conception of Science (1998); Cutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together Again: A New Approach to Philosophy (2010);  ed., with R. Barnett, Wisdom in the University (2008); and L. McHenry, ed., Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell (2009).

The Urgent Need for an Academic Revolution: From Knowledge to Wisdom

We urgently need to bring about a revolution in science, and in academic inquiry more generally, so that the basic intellectual aim becomes to seek and promote wisdom. Our schools and universities need to be transformed so that they become rationally devoted to helping humanity learn how to tackle our grave global problems, and thus make progress towards as good a world as possible.

For the last century or so, the academic enterprise has sought to help promote human welfare by, in the first instance, pursuing the intellectual aim of acquiring knowledge. First, knowledge and technological know-how are to be acquired; then, once acquired, they can be applied to help solve social problems. We may dub this approach knowledge-inquiry.

Despite the fact that it has long dominated academia, knowledge-inquiry is, nevertheless, damagingly irrational. It violates the two most elementary rules of rational problem-solving one can think of, namely (1) articulate, and try to improve the articulation of, the problem to be solved, and (2) propose and critically assess possible solutions. If our concern is to help promote human welfare – help people realize what is of value in life – then the problems we need to solve are, primarily, problems of living, of action, rather than problems of knowledge. Academic inquiry needs to give intellectual priority to the tasks of (1) articulating problems of living – individual, social, global – and (2) proposing and critically assessing possible solutions – possible and actual cooperative actions, policies, political programmes, philosophies of life. The tackling of problems of knowledge and technological know-how should then emerge out of, and feed back into, this central intellectual activity. The fundamental aim of inquiry, organized along these lines, would be to help people acquire wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, wisdom thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This approach may be called wisdom-inquiry.

Wisdom-inquiry is more rational, more intellectually rigorous than knowledge-inquiry because, at the very least, it puts the above two basic rules of rational problem-solving into practice, whereas knowledge-inquiry does not. It is this gross irrationality of academic inquiry (implementing knowledge-inquiry) during the last two centuries or so that is so damaging. It has made possible the development of all our current global problems. The immense success of science and technological research has led to modern industry and agriculture, to modern medicine and hygiene, and to all the great benefits of these things, but also to global warming, modern armaments and the lethal character of modern warfare, vast inequalities in wealth and power around the globe, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, pollution of earth, sea and air, depletion of natural resources such as oil, and even the Aids epidemic (Aids being spread by modern travel). Some blame science for all this. But the fault lies not so much with science, as with the successful pursuit of scientific knowledge dissociated from a more fundamental concern to help us resolve problems of living in increasingly cooperative ways. The problem, in other words, is our implementation of knowledge-inquiry, and our failure to implement wisdom-inquiry. Scientific knowledge enormously increases our power to act, but not our power to act wisely. This is the crisis behind all the others: science without wisdom – or rather, without wisdom-inquiry.

Questions for Group Discussion:
  1. Has the great success of modern scientific and technological research really made possible all our current global problems?
  2. What are the arguments for the view that academic inquiry should seek and promote wisdom by rational means, and should not just acquire knowledge? How valid are they?
  3. How does academic inquiry need to change if it is to give priority to the rational pursuit of wisdom – to the task of helping humanity create a better world? Are these changes what we really need to make?
  4. How do we go about transforming academic inquiry so that it begins to take wisdom, rather than just knowledge, as its basic intellectual aim? What obstacles are likely to arise, and how are they to be avoided or overcome?
  5. What changes have taken place in universities during the last decade that could be interpreted as moves towards the rational pursuit of wisdom?

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Professor Etienne Wenger - Conference Speaker
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Professor Etienne Wenger - Conference Speaker   Professor Etienne Wenger

Conference Speaker

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Etienne Wenger is a globally recognized thought leader in the field of social learning theory, communities of practice, and their application to organizations. He has authored and co-authored seminal articles and books on the topic, including Situated Learning, where the term “community of practice” was coined; Communities of Practice: learning, meaning, and identity, where he lays out a theory of learning based on the concept; Cultivating Communities of Practice, addressed to practitioners in organizations who want to base their knowledge strategy on communities of practice; and Digital Habitats, which tackles issues of technology. Etienne’s work is influencing both theory and practice in a range of disciplines, as well as a growing number of organizations in the private and public sectors. He helps organizations apply his ideas through consulting, public speaking, and workshops. He is also active in the academic sphere. He regularly speaks at conferences, conducts seminars, and is a visiting professor at the universities of Manchester and Aalborg. He recently received an honorary doctorate from the university of Brighton.

Knowledgeability in landscapes of practice: from curriculum to identity

Many institutions of learning proceed from a similar set of assumptions: that a body of knowledge is a curriculum, that learning is the result of teaching, that instructional settings are the locus of learning, and that the rest of life is application. But what if we started with a different set of assumptions: that learning takes place everywhere, that instructional settings are at best one specialized locus of learning, and that most learning takes places without teaching? And if knowledge has a body, it is not a curriculum, but a living landscape of communities of practice that contribute in various ways to the constitution of a field of inquiry. This landscape defines both “hills” of competence and boundaries between practices. Both communities and boundaries present opportunities for and obstacles to learning.

Our personal experience of learning can be seen as a journey through this landscape. Not all the practices we interact with have the same significance, of course. Our journey creates a variety of relationships to practices. Some practices we join and some we exit. Some we visit, merely catch a glimpse of, or ignore altogether. Some we explore deeply and some remain foreign. With some we identify strongly, with others lightly, and with many not at all. Some communities may welcome us, but others may reject us. Even so, joining or leaving a practice constitute major events; and so does crossing a significant boundary between practices.

In this journey through the landscape, practices, people, places, regimes of competence, communities, and boundaries become part of who we are. Participation in a landscape of practices provides the constitutive texture of an experience of identity. Over time this identity reflects an accumulation of memories, competencies, key formative events, stories, and relationships to people and places. Our identity incorporates the past and the future into the experience of the present. It also provides directions, aspirations, and projected images of ourselves that guide the shaping of our trajectory going forward. As a trajectory through a social landscape, learning is the becoming of a person who inhabits the landscape with an identity that is socially and dynamically constructed. It is not merely the acquisition of knowledge, but the achievement of an experience of knowledgeability.

In the twenty-first century, the landscape is complexifying; and so is the achievement of knowledgeability in it. Access to information is becoming less problematic; but building a coherent identity is becoming more challenging. If institutions of learning are going to help learners with the real challenges they face, these institutions will have to shift their focus from imparting a curriculum to supporting the negotiation of productive identities through landscapes of practices.

Questions for Group Discussion:
  1. Is this view of learning relevant to the research and teaching mission of the university?
  2. In what ways does it change how a university serves its students?
  3. How does it affect the role of the university in society at large?
  4. What would it take to institutionalize such a view?
  5. What implications does it have for research into Higher Education? What kind of research questions does this view call for?


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Professor Sir David Watson
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Professor Sir David Watson   Professor Sir David Watson

SRHE Honorary President
     
“Higher education and higher education research in the age of austerity.”

In this pre-reception presentation SRHE Honorary President David Watson reflects on the role of the Society in the current climate.

David Watson is an historian and Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford. He was Professor of Higher Education Management at the Institute of Education, University of London, from 2005-2010,  and   Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton between 1990 and 2005.  His most recent books are Managing Civic and Community Engagement (2007), The Dearing Report: ten years on (2007), and The Question of Morale: managing happiness and unhappiness in university life  (2009).

He has contributed widely to developments in UK higher education, including as a member of the Council for National Academic Awards (1977-1993), the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council (1988-92), and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (1992-96).  He was a member of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's National Commission on Education (1992-1993), and the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education chaired by Sir Ron Dearing (1996-1997). He was the elected chair of the Universities Association for Continuing Education between 1994 and 1998, and chaired the Longer Term Strategy Group of Universities UK between 1999 and 2005. He is President of the Society for Research into Higher Education, a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation, a Companion of the Institute of Management, and a National Teaching Fellow (2008). He chaired the national Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning, and co-authored its report Learning Through Life (2009). He was knighted in 1998 for services to higher education. In 2009 he received the Times Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award.


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Dr Jill Jameson - Conference Chair
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Dr Jill Jameson - Conference Chair   Dr Jill Jameson

Director of Research and Enterprise
School of Education at the University of Greenwich (UK)
     
Jill Jameson is Director of Research and Enterprise in the School of Education at the University of Greenwich (UK), Reader in Education research, Fellow of the Royal Society (FRSA) and Fellow of the Institute of Learning (FIfL). She has been a senior manager, academic researcher, governor, principal lecturer and teacher in higher and post-compulsory education during thirty-five years of experience, working with international colleagues in Europe, the USA and Africa.

Her research interests are in higher and post-compulsory education, e-learning, leadership, trust and communities of practice. Her book publications include Researching Post-Compulsory Education and Empowering Researchers in FE (2003, with Yvonne Hillier), Leadership in Post-Compulsory Education (2006, single authored) and The Ultimate Leadership and Management Handbook (2007, with Ian McNay). She was Guest Editor of the ALT-J (2000) Association for Learning Technology journal special edition on post-compulsory education with Gràinne Conole and Guest Editor of the British Journal of Educational Technology 2006 special edition on lifelong learning with Sara de Freitas. She was Series Editor for Continuum’s 24-book series on further education and Co-Chair of ALT-C 2008, ALT’s leading conference on Rethinking the Digital Divides, attended by around 670 international delegates. Jill’s research in trust, leadership and communities of practice developed from her e-learning specialist roles as Director of the eLISA and eLIDA CAMEL JISC-funded projects (2006-08) partnered by ALT, JISC infoNet, Oxford University and numerous colleagues from higher and further education. Jill is currently writing an e-Learning Reader with Sara de Freitas (2011) and carrying out continuing research on Trust and Leadership in higher and further education.

Jill is Chair of the SRHE Research and Development Committee, Convenor of the SRHE HE-FE Research Network and an Editorial Board member and reviewer for numerous international education research journals, including the International Journal of Leadership in Public Services and the AACE Journal.



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  NEW for SRHE Conference 2010

Additional Events and excursions available for all SRHE Conference Delegates

We are pleased this year to be able to offer all delegates at the SRHE Conference 2010 the opportunity to take advantage of a range of events, both cultural and academic, whilst visiting Wales for the Conference. We are able to offer these events through a link up with Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) at The University and Wales, Newport. They have very helpfully organised pre and post conference events for all out delegates to provide an opportunity to experience more than the Conference Resort venue-excellent as it is. We do hope that Conference delegates from around the UK as well as our international delegates will want to take advantage of these opportunities.

For further details on the range of events/visits available and how to book them please visit link below.
View Events Here..
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