The European Conference on Educational Research: the Power of Diversity and the contributions of the Universities Alliances to higher education
Shaping higher education by developing CIVIS as a catalyst for inclusion, societal impact, and innovation in education and research. This was the conclusion of the European Conference on Educational Research, in Glasgow.
Over 3 thousand participants from across Europe and beyond got together at the University of Glasgow, joining the ECER 2023 at the end of August.
In a discussion panel entitled ‘Transforming Higher Education Landscape in Europe: the power of diversity in University Alliances’, the panellists shared their vision and experiences in educational and research innovation, inclusion and equal opportunities and societal impact in the European and international context.
Starting from the role of the European Universities Alliances and their place and presence in the wider higher education context, the speakers explored how the alliances can better represent, respond to, and value its diversity. Civic engagement, better engagement of learners with different backgrounds, interdisciplinary approaches to educational programmes, inclusion of strategic partnership areas (i.e. African partner universities), decolonisation of higher education curriculum - all these are subjects pointing that diversity needs to be regarded from multiple voices at all times.
Discussing the capacity of the universities to respond, in a balanced way, to their multiple missions (social responsibility, learning and teaching, research), and on the impact of the alliances on these areas, the panellists reflected on how the process is underway, while alliances redesign the academic environment by testing, piloting, changing and adapting to the multiple voices within and across institutions. While universities that are part of alliances seek to find common ground on different areas of activity, sharing best practices, building transnational communities of students and staff, it is clear that the autonomy and specificity of each institution must be secured.
As the European Universities started as a political agenda vision, moving at different paces, in different cultures and contexts, the participation of the academic communities across Europe shows that the role of the Alliances is yet to be fully discovered and understood, not just for the community itself, but especially for the global educational policy agenda.
The CIVIS Alliance was represented at the Conference by professors Romiță Iucu, Irene Martín, Julie McAdam, Lucian Ciolan, and Ines Alves.