Professor John Brennan
Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Research, the Open University
November 13, 2012
Whereas much research on higher education has strong orientations to policy and practice, its credentials as ‘respectable social science’ can sometimes be problematic. This talk will discuss two examples of efforts to better integrate higher education research with other relevant fields of social science. The first consists of two initiatives by the European Science Foundation, one a Forward Look review and foresight study of higher education research and the other an international research programme on the theme of Higher Education and Social Change. The second concerns efforts by higher education researchers from nine UK universities to create a Higher Education Research Consortium (HERC), through which to join forces and help build a stronger UK research capacity in higher education research with good links to other social science fields. Our multiple roles and identities as both actors and researchers within the same research field; the tensions between interests, advocacy and ‘good science'; and the balance between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ perspectives will be discussed.