In recent decades the discourse about higher education (HE) has been dominated by an instrumentalist view that emphasized the labour market benefits for graduates and the net (social) returns to tax payers for the public funding of HE (Psacharopoulos and Patrinos 2010). Nonetheless, HE’s contribution to students’ development and life is much broader than that through several non-market benefits to graduates, including improved health, improved education prospects for children, and greater longevity (see McMahon 2009). Furthermore, the effects of HE are visible in many civic dimensions, such as strengthened citizenship and civic mindedness and participation in democratic institutions. Thus, in this chapter, we discuss the significance of the civic contribution of HE beyond a narrow version of economic effects and on education practices that foster students’ civic mindedness and civic engagement.
In diesem Bericht wird studierendenzentriertes Lernen und Lehren (im Folgenden auch SZL) als übergreifender Ansatz definiert, mit dem eine Hochschulbildung entwickelt werden kann, die auf dem Konzept des eigenverantwortlichen Lernende basiert. SZL bietet den Studierenden vor allem die Möglichkeit, selbst Verantwortung für ihre Lernwege und ihr Lernumfeld zu übernehmen, diese aktiv zu beeinflussen und über eine transformative Lernerfahrung die gewünschten Lernergebnisse zu erzielen. Außerdem sehen wir SZL als einen Ansatz, der über die bloße Didaktik hinausgeht und in Hochschuleinrichtungen und Instituten und sowie im gesamten Hochschulsystem auf regionaler, nationaler und supranationaler Ebene ein inklusives und unterstützendes didaktisches Umfeld schafft. Mit diesem Bericht werden zwei Ziele verfolgt. Erstens werden bereits erprobte studierendenzentrierte Lern- und Lehrmethoden kartografiert, d. h. Verfahren, die nachweislich das Potenzial haben, die Hochschulbildung besser und inklusiver zu machen. Im Rahmen dieser Arbeit wurde eine Reihe von besonders bewährten Verfahren des studierendenzentrierten Lernens und Lehrens identifiziert und die interessantesten davon als Fallstudien in diesem Bericht beschrieben. Wir sind davon überzeugt, dass diese Beispiele aus dem echten Leben, die bereits erfolgreich von Universitäten eingesetzt werden, andere europäische Universitäten auf besonders effektive Methoden ihrer Kollegen aufmerksam machen und interessierte Akteure dazu ermutigen können, über abstrakte theoretische Konzepte hinauszugehen und selbst eigene SZL-Verfahren einzuführen. Um zu gewährleisten, dass die kartografierten Methoden im europäischen Kontext relevant sind, haben wir uns besonders auf Universitäten konzentriert, die bereits zu einer European University Alliance gehören, d. h. der politischen Initiative der Kommission, mit der Netzwerke europäischer Universitäten aufgebaut werden sollen, die in der Hochschulbildung bereits vorbildliche Methoden nutzen. Außerdem wurden die SZL-Methoden von Projekten untersucht, die durch Horizont 2020 und Erasmus+ gefördert werden.
This report defines student-centred learning and teaching (hereafter also referred to as SCLT) as an overarching approach to designing higher education processes, which is founded on the concept of student agency. SCLT primarily concerns the capabilities of students to participate in, influence and take responsibility for their learning pathways and environments, in order to have a transformative learning experience and thus achieve deeper learning outcomes. Furthermore, we conceive SCLT as an approach that moves beyond classroom practice to construct inclusive and supportive learning and teaching environments – student-centred learning and teaching ecosystems - within higher education institutions (HEIs) and their subunits, as well as in broader higher education systems at regional, national and supranational levels. This report achieves two main objectives. First, it maps notable real-world practices of student-centred learning and teaching – namely, those practices with proven potential to contribute to the quality and inclusiveness of higher education. This mapping has identified a catalogue of best-practice examples of SCLT, the most interesting of which are presented as case studies in the report. We believe that these real-life examples, which have been successfully applied by universities, will allow stakeholders to move beyond abstract theoretical ideas, and to encourage the adoption of SCLT practices by drawing the attention of European universities to the most effective practices of their peers. To ensure relevance in the European context, when mapping the practices, we focused in particular on those applied by the universities that are now part of the European University Alliances – the Commission’s policy initiative designed to build networks of European universities working in line with the best practices in higher education. We have also examined best practices in SCLT applied as part of the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ projects.
The trend in liberal higher education is to afford students enhanced capabilities to intervene in their higher education environments, especially in quality assessment, accountability and performance. This development is premised on acknowledging that students have valuable insights into educational processes. Scholarship based on stakeholder theories explains student involvement in promoting quality through their contribution to the efficiency of decisions regarding quality. Scholarship based on student engagement theories conceives student involvement as part of building inclusive higher education communities and fostering student self-formation. This chapter discusses, first, the areas and pathways for student involvement in promoting quality. Next it addresses both the rationales and student motivations for such involvement. In the conclusion, more controversial questions concerning student participation in quality assessment and improvement are addressed: acceptance of students as ‘peers’, tokenistic involvement of students in decision processes, and the ‘domestication’ of students. Finally, the chapter argues that research has not caught up with the developments in practice. Several questions are identified for future exploration.
This chapter reviews and offers directions for future research on student politics in higher education in different parts of the world. The concept of student politics refers to the activities related to the power relations between students and other social actors in and out the higher education systems; more specifically, it pertains to the relationships between students and university authorities, as well as the interactions between students and state officials. In analyzing the various forms of student politics, we draw the distinction between representation and activism, as two distinct yet interrelated activities. The first pertains to students organizing into representative student associations, such as student governments, graduate student employee unions, party-affiliated student organizations, or other student interest groups. Activism, on the other hand, denotes practices of student collective action through various forms of political engagement, whereby students act in support of or in opposition to a specific cause and/or hold the authority accountable. The analysis is guided by questions on how the various forms of student politics emerge and how they develop their organizational characteristics and their respective strategic repertoires.
Keywords: student politics; student representation; student activism; student governments; graduate student unions; party-affiliated student organizations; student political behavior; college students
The article seeks to advance understanding of the involvement of transnational student associations in European governance of higher education policies within the European Union (EU) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Specifically, the article explores the mechanisms for interest intermediation that exist for transnational student associations in both policy arenas. Three transnational student associations stand out in terms of their involvement: European Students’ Union (ESU), Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and European Students’ Forum (AEGEE). The findings point to two distinct models of student interest intermediation in European policy-making. Within the EU, the European Commission interacts with all three transnational student associations; however, ESU and ESN participate in more expert and working groups. The roles afforded to each association in relation to the European Commission are demarcated and functionally differentiated. Within EHEA, in neo-corporatist fashion, ESU, as a representative platform of national student unions, holds representational monopoly. In the EHEA and the EU, the involvement of transnational student associations in policy-making can be attributed to the evolving nature of transnational governance regimes in which participation of transnational student associations not only brings expertise to but also aids the legitimacy of the policy processes and outcomes.
Erasmus+ is one of the European Union’s flagship programs which supports short-term international student mobility within Europe as one of its primary purposes. Erasmus students are uniquely well placed to compare educational processes of their home and host institutions, the learning environments and student life conditions. They are so far under-utilized resource of information on quality of educational practices and insights on how to improve student experiences. Furthermore, international students often lack a collective voice in university structures where they could contribute to the decisions concerning quality of educational practices. So far, student surveys have been the most frequently used approach in understanding lived experiences of Erasmus and international students. This commentary argues that qualitative approaches to collect data on student lived experiences are superior to survey research, yet more costly. In times when all students are digital natives, it has become possible, however, to canvass data from students through digital ethnographic approaches. The commentary introduces ErasmusShouts, a web application, which engages Erasmus students as auto-ethnographers and prompts them to reflect on, and record their lived experiences of Erasmus mobility. This approach can be adopted to generate large-scale qualitative data on international students’ experiences for use by higher education practitioners and researchers to improve educational practices and learning environments.