Theme 1: Teaching and Learning

On the distinctive features learning and challenges of teaching in higher education.

  • Teaching and learning in the university – how does it work? What is distinctive? How is it changing? How should it change?
  • Digital technologies in learning
  • On learner differences – class, locale, race, sex-sexuality-gender, (dis)abilities, culture, language and affinity
  • International students and the globalization of learning
  • Learners with disabilities
  • Ubiquitous learning – anywhere and anytime, just enough and just in time
  • The role of the university in lifelong and lifewide learning
  • Access and equity in higher education – addressing local, national and global inequalities
  • Addressing learner diversity, and student and faculty mobility
  • Program alternatives – core curriculum or choice
  • Instructional design for higher education
  • Assessment and evaluation of learning

Keywords: Universities, Teaching, Learning, Learner Differences, Assessment, Evaluation.


Theme 2: Research and Knowledge Formation

On the academic research in a time of changes in the sites and forms of knowledge production.

  • What constitutes academic knowledge? What are its particularities, its virtues, its limitations?
  • Paradigm shifts in knowledge making socially networked knowledge and the ‘wisdom of the crowd’
  • Research methodologies and analytical processes – is academic knowledge more reliable?
  • Knowledge systems – peer review, publishing infrastructures, dissemination and access
  • Basic and applied research – changing distinctions
  • Research ethics and applications of research
  • Discipinarity and interdisciplinarity – trends to specialization or interconnectivity
  • Changing disciplinary distinctions – the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, professions
  • Universality and knowledge transfer versus partiality and the localized specificity of knowledge
  • Objectivity and perspectivism in knowledge
  • Knowledge and culture – what kinds of knowledge are literature, art, and identity?
  • Public domain or commercialization – paths to society and market for academic knowledge
  • Intellectual property – forms of ownership and incentives to innovate
  • Disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity in the natural and human sciences
  • The changing work of scientists
  • Basic and applied sciences – changing dynamics
  • Global society – changing balances of economic and intellectual power
  • Cultural production and learning
  • Social capital
  • Regulation and deregulation of knowledge regimes and professions
  • Intellectual property laws and knowledge systems

Keywords: Universities, Research, Intellectual Property, Commercialization, Applied Knowledge, Social Capital.


Theme 3: University Administration

On the changing organization and management of universities.

  • Academic governance – the peculiarities of managing the university
  • Academic freedom
  • Academic leadership
  • Resourcing the university – financing higher education
  • Leadership and organizational development in higher education
  • Public and private education
  • Impacts of commercialization and privatization
  • Marketing and fundraising
  • Research management and training
  • Assessment of research quality
  • Program and curriculum design
  • Evaluation of teaching

Keywords: Universities, Organization, Management, Leadership, Governance, Academic Freedom, Resourcing.


Theme 4: The University and the Community

On the role of universities in a broader social and cultural context.

  • Collaborations cross-institutional, cross-sectoral and international research programs
  • International education – the University as a global player
  • Community service and outreach
  • The public intellectual in national and international communities
  • Informing the world – connecting with the media, traditional and new
  • Inter-University networks and alliances
  • Private-public partnerships
  • Relationships with governments, corporations and NGOs
  • Educational and research capacity-building
  • Global population movements and the shifting demography of campus
  • Knowledge movements – migration, diasporic networks and brain drain
  • Knowledge societies – securing the strategic centrality for universities in contemporary economic and social agendas
  • Practice orientations and applied learning – universities in the making of the professions
  • The economics of higher education
  • The economics of research and innovation
  • Research, innovation and education as measures of social progress

Keywords: Universities, Community Service, Outreach, Applied Learning.


Presentations at the conference, as well as the journals and books created in this knowledge community, are grouped around the themes listed here. Submissions are welcomed that cross more than one thematic area. Keywords are only indicative - please add your own keywords as you think necessary. The range of ideas listed in each thematic grouping and associated keywords is continually reviewed and revised by the participants in this knowledge community. Please suggest additions and changes.