EAIR 34th Annual Forum 2012, Stavanger, Norway, 5-8 September 2012. The Forum will be hosted by the University of Stavanger.
As your Forum Chair for the EAIR 34th Annual Forum in 2012 it is my privilege to invite you to Norway and the University of Stavanger (UoS) next September. We all know that Higher Education (HE) in Europe is undergoing very rapid change – as it must. Among many and sweeping changes, one trend that is recognizable all over Europe, is the professionalization of administration and management of HE institutions.
Also EAIR is changing – as it must. As leader of the Programme Committee, I can already now reveal that the programme for the 34th Forum in Stavanger will be as attractive to policy makers, sectorial and institutional researchers and HE managers as this year’s and last year’s Forum. In addition, we want to increase the attractiveness significantly especially for two delegate groups: Students, and those we may label as the «new professionals» in HE. This will be evident in an expansion of workshops, roundtables and demos during next year’s Forum.
The submission of the abstracts and outlines will be evaluated by the Track Chairs and the Programme Committee to determine the detailed content of the Forum tracks. Researchers, academics, policy makers, administrators and educators are invited to submit their proposals for a presentation or a poster during the Forum. Each accepted proposal will contribute to one of the seven specific programme tracks which are outlined below.
Overview Tracks:
Education as a vehicle of social justice

Enterprises – both private and public – meet an increasing demand from society to take social responsibility and to align their own value creation with social values in general and social justice in particular. Consequently, these enterprises expect higher education institutions to provide their students with knowledge and skills in relation to social justice and to train them in how such knowledge can be integrated in business, public management and society at large. How can and how should higher education institutions meet this demand? In addition to this, there is also an increasing expectation in society that higher education institutions themselves are more explicit in how they take social responsibility and how they contribute to more social justice. How should they meet this challenge?
Policy development for knowledge enhancement
Higher education institutions face the challenge to be continuously adaptive and responsive to societal needs and economic change. The increasing complexity of the environment requires institutional strategies focused on knowledge enhancement: basic and applied research focused on understanding the world around us and contributing to evidence-based solutions for current complex problems. This track addresses challenges in the area of education (how best to empower our students?), research (how do we stimulate and motivate our staff?), and organisation (which conditions are necessary to enable knowledge enhancement outside the higher educational institutions?).
Higher education in a competitive world

Many factors contribute to making higher education the locus of acute competition. Massification and global marketisation are two of the most important factors. Higher education institutions, being confronted with less funding, may end up in organisational crisis. On the other hand, the context may also offer opportunities. Papers are invited on various aspects of competition that may address some of the following questions:
• How does rivalry between institutions manifest itself?
• What are the most successful strategies to enable survival of institutions and individuals in a competitive world?
• What internal changes in governance, steering and organisational structures are needed in order to form a strong central steering core?
• How has the role of the state changed in order to deregulate and free up universities?
• What ethical issues are involved in making higher education institutions compete with each other?
• How can we construct theoretical models in relation to marketisation and competition?
Promoting higher education in decades of open access

One of the most significant changes in educational systems in the post-war period is the expansion of universities to include new groups of students. This development raises a number of interesting issues. This track deals with questions stemming from the trends of diversification and massification of higher education, and quality of higher education. Some suggestions for questions – this is a non-exhaustive list – would be:
• How (well) are students prepared for higher education?
• How to maintain/secure the quality of education for highly diverse student groups?
• How to balance, in curriculum matters, the expectations of different stakeholders (students, staff, employers, etc.)?
Student experience: Attractive learning and teaching

Students are at the heart of higher education, and teaching and learning, are at the core of their experience. Much work currently explores how to engage students in these activities. This is particularly important now because higher education has reached a crossroads. One road leads to a market-oriented sector where students will be passive consumers; the other is more risky, where students will be regarded as co-producers and higher education becomes a transformative partnership. In either case, there will be a social contract of sorts. How is that contract shaping up now? In this track, papers will focus on issues such as how students engage with learning and teaching; how they engage with their own skill development; and how this may affect the institution as a whole.
Management and governance: Friend or foe?

The call for the modernization of the universities has been loud and persistent centering in particular on the reform of governance and management structures as a key to improving the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of higher education institutions. Furthermore, the increased academic competition – nationally as well as globally, combined with tougher economic conditions worldwide, implies an even stronger focus on academic, administrative and strategic management and leadership to be flexible and dynamic. One consequence is that higher education institutions are seeking to concentrate the academic, economic and administrative resources into larger, more competitive and powerful units. Higher education institutions are challenged to be more proactive (entrepreneurial) and accountable, and at the same time handle more complexity with all kinds of consequences for management and governance.
Institutional research: Measuring effectiveness in higher education

Institutional Research (IR) combines a broad range of activities geared towards its major purpose of supporting policy information and decision making in higher education. In times of increasing societal demands on higher education institutions, management needs the appropriate information to form a more effective organisation. This track covers Measuring effectiveness in higher education institutions in a broad sense. Therefore papers may focus on teaching and learning, research and technology transfer, as well as higher education institutions’ contributions to society (third mission). Papers that focus on how findings can support decision-making are especially appreciated. More generally, proposals are invited that contribute to a better understanding of successful practices and processes to improve higher education.