German National Association for Student Affairs (DSW) and the European Council for Student Affairs (ECStA) are organising an International Bologna Conference: “The Social Dimension – Stocktaking and Future Perspectives of Student Affairs and Services”, which will take place in Berlin, Germany on 11-13 July 2011.
Research - teaching - student affairs and services: these are the pillars of well-performing higher education systems. Excellence in education calls for excellent social infrastructures and support mechanisms for students. The social dimension is a key factor for the success of the European Higher Education area.
The European Higher Education Area is shaped by student affairs and services – referred to as the social dimension - but they are organised differently, depending on educational concepts, the structure of universities, and the way the social support of students is organised.
The diversity of this situation holds the potential for benchmarking and exchange of good practice, and for mutual learning outcomes in the context of exchanges between student services/affairs professionals.
The conference therefore aims to:
    * analyse the social and economic situation of students in Europe
    * take stock of existing student affairs and services models
    * discuss challenges and future perspectives for student affairs and services
    * define the contribution that student affairs and services can make to improve the competitiveness of the European Higher Education Area
    * strengthen the social dimension of the Bologna process
Beginning with an analysis of the social and economic situation of students in Europe, and current developments of higher education institutions, the needs of universities and students are analysed in order to draw conclusions on the effects on student affairs and services.
Looking at different situations in various countries, the stocktaking of student affairs and services in Europe is done in case studies, looking at relevant practices, existing models, strengths and weaknesses as well as challenges for student affairs and services.
Based on current research on the effects and impacts that they have on students’ academic success and educational development, the strategic role of student affairs and services will be discussed. In conclusion, experts in student affairs and services from other continents will be asked to reflect on the social dimension of higher education in Europe.
The conference shall end with conclusions and a communiqué on the  further development of student affairs/student services in the European Higher Education are.
See also: Bologna-Seminar: “The European Dimension of Quality Assurance”.