Abstract evaluation outcome

We have received over 150 contributions and the Scientific Committee has assessed them by way of blind reviews.

The Organizing Committee is now notifying authors of the evaluation outcome. Due the many high-quality abstracts received, only a very small percentage of them will actually be able to present as a speaker during round tables. Many more will however be part of a collection of written contributions. The authors of selected abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper to be published after the event.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact the Organizing Committee (info@bolognaprocess.it).

The Bologna Process beyond 2020

Future Challenges for EHEA, an academic perspective.

On June 24-25, 2019 the City and the University of Bologna will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Bologna Declaration, which in 1999 was signed by education ministers of 29 European countries. This marked the beginning of the so-called Bologna Process, creating the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), which by now encompasses 48 countries.

On this occasion the University of Bologna, in cooperation with Magna Charta Observatory, the European University Association and the European Students’ Union, will host an academic conference, to identify important future challenges for universities and their role in society. The conference is intended as an analytical as well as an agenda-setting contribution to the design of the Bologna Process in the years to come. The proceedings of this meeting will be input for the 2020 EHEA Ministerial Meeting in Rome.

Your inputs will be crucial to shape the future of EHEA.

It is only with the expert help of many in Europe and beyond that we shall be able to indeed deliver valuable input to the EHEA in the decades to come.

The Scientific Committee has assessed proposals through a double-blind review process and is now organizing the conference sessions as well as the book of proceedings. The authors of selected abstracts will be notified of the evaluation outcomes and, concurrently, they will be invited to develop their abstracts into a full paper to be published after the event. Speakers for round tables during parallel sessions will also be identified among selected abstracts.

The organizers have identified five clusters of themes that seem to be particularly relevant. They are connected by this leitmotif: in what way can universities be trustworthy communities of teaching and learning for a sustainable future for all citizens of our very diverse societies?

1. Academic and related civic values in changing societies.

Autonomy, academic freedom, equity and integrity have entered common usage in recent decades. They are considered to be among the core values of academia and crucial conditions for trust and reliability. Yet making declarations about such principles of good practice isn’t the same as actually embracing and practicing them.
Clientelism, commodification, corruption are only a few among the many deviations from good and fair practice. Operational autonomy of universities in relation to the state is often followed up by new and other regulators that are more influential than state bureaucracies have ever been. How can universities be safe havens of open debate and free expression in times of high political tension? How to build strong communities of shared values and how to monitor living or cheating academic values in the EHEA – these are the types of questions that we would like to see addressed.
Similarly, we would welcome contributions on knowledge production, transmission and dissemination as a public good. The high days of the concept of the public or common good in relation to higher education and research seem to be over. How to bend this trend?

2. Student-centred Learning.

Students are the primary raison d’être of any university. Their successful knowledge and skills acquisition and their subsequent graduate careers are what universities are for. So it comes as no surprise that student-centred learning has become a standard phrase in curriculum design, in quality assurance as well as in educational policies. At the same time mass enrolment, standardized performance measuring and classroom traditionalism are anything but promoting student agency, individual sense of ownership and freedom of choice.
We would like to invite colleagues to present cases of good practice and successful innovations. Above all we would like to encourage students or recent graduates themselves to participate and contribute; if possible not only by analysis and criticism, but also by presenting good practices of student-centred learning.

3. Providing Leadership for Sustainable Development, the Role of Higher Education.

The Sustainable Development Goals are set by the United Nations to achieve a more sustainable future for all. They each are specific and interconnected at the same time. It is crystal clear that working towards these goals requires skilled people and the right kind of policies, innovative solutions and constructive collaborations on many fields. Interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research at universities have a key role to play. For higher education institutions these goals require a deep rethinking of traditional education and the design of innovative research projects and programs.
It is our ambition to empower Higher Education and Research systems in the EHEA to play a more strategic and effective role in meeting these goals by identifying and sharing powerful arguments, attractive incentives and good practice already implemented in academia.

4. The Social Dimensions of Higher Education.

Universities do not exist for themselves or for members of their academic communities in the first place. Their role and use is a societal one. This poses a catalogue of challenges. If society is to benefit, how can this best be done? If society is to benefit, which society are we talking about? How can existing inequalities of Higher Education and Research in terms of access and outreach be smoothened? How could academia become a diverse community itself? As super-diversity is a characteristic of many societies in our time, it is a true challenge for universities to truly reflect and embrace this trait. Is HE ready to move beyond present indicators of productivity in research and teaching and integrate scientific excellence with social responsibility?
The rise of ‘populism’ with its strongly anti-elitist and anti-intellectual tendencies makes universities look as standing apart, on the side of cosmopolitanism, internationalism and other in the eyes of some undesirable isms. Can Higher Education regain its position in the centre of society and be making sense to all of it?

5. Careers and Skills for the Labour Market of the future.

There is already a long tradition of skills and competences-oriented education to respond to the assumed demands of a developing labour market. This has been a welcome addition and correction to a knowledge base driven curriculum. It seems, however, that additional adjustments are needed. Skills and competences have usually been defined in terms of a changing world of technological innovation, business reinventions and global connectivity. Isn’t another look at the labour market of the future needed, one that includes social innovation, local relevance and community development? Our societal developments require profound and agile skills in teachers, local leadership professions and competences for community build-up. Whereas in East Asia a recent trend has been pointing to the arts, the humanities and the social sciences as disciplinary fields where innovated knowledge and skills are needed in the interest of diverse societies, the same fields are very under pressure in the US and some place in Europe. Learning from Asian examples might be part of what we should do in the EHEA.

Against the backdrop of all this we invite colleagues to contribute by offering profound and empirical analysis, examples of good practice as well as recommendations for future policy and practice, in order to be able to present valuable input for the future EHEA agenda.