The Society for Research into Higher Education

Special Issues of Studies in Higher Education

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Mary-Louise Kearney

Mary-Louise Kearney

Dan Lincoln

Dan Lincoln

The intention of Special Issues is to tackle questions –the thornier the better -arising from the global Higher Education agenda (as defined by both policy-makers and researchers).  Priority domains include governance and leadership, R&D and innovation management, the academic profession, the changing demographics  of international students, financing, innovative approaches to teaching and learning and the concerns of specific groups such as students, women graduates and the challenges faced by certain regions and national contexts due to socio-economic change or the instance of disruptive  social conflict.These areas and topics of interest are then shaped into working titles, which provide the specific orientation of each issue.

We are calling this the Global Agenda because Tertiary/Higher Education has long been a key part of the global  economy and  all countries are facing similar challenges to ensure that they are performing with optimal competitiveness in this fast-moving environment. When a nation fails to keep pace with this situation, this is extremely detrimental to the social and equitable advancement of its citizens.

The process from the negotiation of a priority topic or area to the actual Special Issue title aims to ensure that the focus is both current and forward-looking in order to generate maximum interest and readership.

Authors are typically recruited via:

  • Participation in projects or conference proceedings, which are proposed for SIs
  • Open call
  • Invitation, or following a search by, the Special Issue co-editors

Special Issue authors have the following profile:

  • Sound academic or policy-related  credentials
  • Relevant expertise in the particular topic
  • A contribution to  wide geographical and/or disciplinary coverage of the topic
  • In certain instances, a new or younger voice on the topic.

These aspects are important since they raise the international profile, both of Studies in Higher Education and of the SRHE itself. Peer review is overseen by members of the Editorial Board, who possess recognized expertise on the topic at hand.

Special Issues to date


Research Universities: networking the global economy

Based on the papers presented at an international meeting at the  Higher  Education Centre of Boston  College (USA), this issue examines how    the best  research universities  (  Super  RUs) fulfil their role as key actors  as  knowledge  repositories and brokers in  the global economy.

The Purposes of Higher Education: responses from a globalized world

Papers at the 2013 SRHE Conference charted the worldwide debate on rapid changes affecting   Tertiary/Higher Education. From new approaches to governance to academic uses of social media, this current dynamic   helps track   the transformation of this sector in diverse socio-economic contexts.


Student Power in Global Perspective

This issue presents a range of views on the traditional role of student agency in the Higher Education debate and reform process.  Whether they associate as movements,   representative bodies or clients, students are integral stakeholders in the Higher Education enterprise and their views need to be understood by policy-makers and institutional leaders alike.

Higher Education Researchers and Policy-makers: a strategic alliance

Papers presented at an international seminar in Shanghai, China, explore   the specialized world of Tertiary/Higher Education research, which brings together experts from various   disciplines such a history, economics and sociology.  These academics should forge a critical alliance with policy-makers in order to assure the optimal renovation and reform in this sector.


Assessing competence in higher education

Featuring authors from Germany, Austria, Australia, Denmark, Japan and the USA, this research established a methodology to assess the qualitative and quantitative knowledge of students in various academic disciplines. This subject is currently on the Higher Education policy agenda in multiple OECD countries.

The changing academic profession: Generational change in academic work

This Special Issue is drawn from research originally presented at the 2013 World Congress on Comparative Education in Buenos Aires, Argentina,   which focuses on the important transformations in train in this area.


Current challenges for higher education in sub-Saharan Africa

This issue is being developed in cooperation with the International Network for Higher Education in Africa. It is expected to feature country and/or institutional case studies from South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Mozambique.

Women in Higher Education: From the academy to policy-making

A range of international experts will discuss existing and new challenges affecting the opportunities for women students, academics and graduates. A crucial perspective is how academic research and analysis can lead to more effective policies.

Future Perspectives

The  co-editors would be pleased to receive proposals for Special Issues from 2017 onwards to continue the important international conversation on the changing domain of higher education. To date, authors from more than 33 countries have been published in these issues and our intention is to further increase this rich diversity. In this way, Special Issues will help build the broadest possible policy and academic dialogue under the auspices of SRHE.

Mary-Louise Kearney and Daniel Lincoln, Special Issue Co-editors


Author: SRHE News Blog

An international learned society, concerned with supporting research and researchers into Higher Education

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