The SRHE Conference is the leading research forum in the UK that brings researchers together to share and to test some of the best ideas in higher education research today. Higher education research can illuminate this landscape, deepening our understanding so that policy and practice has a firm basis in evidence.
More is required of universities than ever before, as they contribute to economic growth through research that has impact and as they educate citizens who can contribute to society and the working world. Tensions are inevitable but change produces new opportunities.
Longstanding traditions of disinterested enquiry, of critique and of learning for its own sake may contribute to economic ends but may also be in tension with them. A drive towards excellence may produce beneficial change but may conflict with a wish for inclusion. Efficiency and effectiveness need to be tempered with a concern for wellbeing. Thus there are major challenges at system, institutional and individual levels to balance the many purposes of a university in the twenty-first century.
This year’s conference provides an excellent opportunity to share our understandings of where we are today, to build for the future.