Higher Education Research Group

Higher Education Research Group

Covering all aspects of Higher Education, this blog features contributions from members of the Higher Education Research Group

John Loewenthal*   Higher education may discursively promise the prospects of brighter, more mobile, global futures that are better paid and more fulfilling. Black and Walsh (2019) contrast this discourse to the disappointments, disillusionment, labour market struggles and debts that exist among contemporary university graduates. In this post, I share how the notions of ‘existential […]

Tiffany Pang*   With a focus on developing learners’ English communicative competence in a specific domain, the approach of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has attracted worldwide attention for nearly half a century. While multiple benefits of the ESP approach have been uncovered and discussed, perhaps unsurprisingly, there have been numerous skeptical voices regarding its […]

Neil M Speirs* Classism on Campus ‘You know Neil, classism is all over campus – but nobody wants to talk about it’.  That’s what one of our widening participation students told me the other week – she wasn’t the first to say that to me either.  I have 20 years’ worth of stories that testify […]

Andrew Drybrough* Back in 2012, while a ‘Visiting Professor’ in a state university in South Korea, I was asked if I was interested in teaching a liberal arts course to a class of undergraduate students on ‘Global Citizenship’. This was a one-semester course through English medium instruction that I ended up designing and teaching on […]

Omar Kaissi* Across Northern and Southern academia, the problem of the future of academic freedom is gaining unprecedented traction. Tensions arise as higher education scholarly communities – in the words of Becher and Trowler (2001), the Academic Tribes and Territories of the ‘ivory tower’ – tear at each other’s throats over all sorts of imaginably […]

Xiaolan Jiang* Since the Chinese government announced the policy of higher education expansion in 1999, the unprecedented rapid expansion has made China’s higher education develop by leaps and bounds from elite to mass higher education, and the total number of students in higher education ranks first in the world now. China’s higher education is largely […]

Xiaomei Sun* For more than a decade, focus on student engagement has been ubiquitous in higher education (HE) research, practice, and policy making, as it is regarded as an important factor in student attendance and retention rates of HE institutions. Compared with student engagement, student voice places more emphasis on student agency, stressing the active […]

Gale Macleod*   What one item represents higher education to you? This deceptively simple question is one the members of the Higher Education Research Group at the University of Edinburgh have been considering recently. In June we hosted an event where invited speakers shared their suggestions, and argued for the inclusion of their ‘object’ in […]

HERG meets regularly to bring together colleagues across Moray House School of Education and Sport, the Institute for Academic Development, and beyond to discuss current higher education research, network, and advance collaboration. Whilst HERG is comprised mainly of University of Edinburgh colleagues, the group is also open to external members with an interest in Higher […]


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