Praxis in higher education - With a focus on the Nordic context
Universities in the Nordic countries, as elsewhere in the world, are at a critical point historically. In an era characterised by globalisation, increasing accountability, strong ties between universities and national and regional economies, and sustainability imperatives, university communities are under great pressure to meet ever-increasing and often competing demands. What is sometimes lost is attention to universities’ civic responsibilities and education for the ‘public good’ (i.e., education as praxis), which involves, for example, supporting people to participate meaningfully in society and contributing to the creation of a society worth participating in (Kemmis et al., 2014). This is troubling when we consider the implications for teaching, learning and research in our universities, and ultimately for the students, communities, and societies our universities serve.
What is needed is focused consideration of important and urgent questions: How can we make academic work and educational practices more informed, sustainable, inclusive, equitable, and responsive to student and societal needs? How are ideals such as ethics, equality, and social responsibility realised (or how can they be realised) in higher education? What opportunities exist and/or can be created to ensure that arrangements and practices within our institutions enable, rather than work against, the realisation of praxis-oriented intentions? By sharing and discussing research related to these questions (especially from different Nordic perspectives), we open up a ‘communicative space’ for deepening our understanding of key issues, addressing concerns, and creating new possibilities for and in higher education.
With this in mind, a 3-day symposium is being held at the University of Borås for Nordic academics and invited guests from non-Nordic countries. The symposium is an opportunity for those concerned about higher education issues to share and discuss the latest research and thinking about key challenges for praxis in higher education in the spirit of a critical conversation. We are pleased to welcome Professor Eva Bendix Petersen, Roskilde University, Denmark, Professor Petri Salo, Åbo Akademi University, Finland, and Petra Angervall, University of Borås, as keynote speakers for the symposium.
Richard Baldwin, Marita Cronqvist, Giulia Messina Dahlberg, Lill Langelotz, Magnus Levinsson, Kathleen Mahon, Susanne Strömberg Jämsvi.