Theme 1: In the Interest of the Academy: Perspectives on the Nature, Purpose and Working of the University

Theme 1A: Knowledge Designs
  • What constitutes academic knowledge? What are its particularities, its virtues, its limitations?
  • Paradigm shifts in knowledge making socially networked knowledge and the ‘wisdom of the crowd’.
  • Research methodologies and analytical processes - is academic knowledge more reliable?
  • Knowledge systems - peer review, publishing infrastructures, dissemination and access.
  • Basic and applied research - changing distinctions.
  • Research ethics and applications of research.
  • Discipinarity and interdisciplinarity - trends to specialisation or interconnectivity.
  • Changing disciplinary distinctions - the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, professions.
  • Universality and knowledge transfer versus partiality and the localised specificity of knowledge.
  • Objectivity and perspectivism in knowledge.
  • Knowledge and culture - what kinds of knowledge are literature, art, and identity?
  • Public domain or commercialisation - paths to society and market for academic knowledge.
  • Intellectual property - forms of ownership and incentives to innovate.
Theme 1B: Learning Designs
  • Learning in the University - how does it work? What is distinctive? How is it changing? How should it change?
  • Digital technologies in learning.
  • Ubiquitous learning - anywhere and anytime, just enough and just in time.
  • The role of the University in lifelong and lifewide learning.
  • Access and equity in higher education - addressing local, national and global inequalities.
  • Addressing learner diversity, and student and faculty mobility.
  • Program alternatives - core curriculum or choice.
  • Instructional design for higher education.
  • Assessment and evaluation of learning.
Theme 1C: Organisational Designs
  • Academic governance - the peculiarities of managing the University.
  • Academic freedom.
  • Resourcing the University - financing higher education.
  • Leadership and organizational development in higher education.
  • Public and private education.
  • Impacts of commercialisation and privatisation.
  • Marketing and fundraising.
  • Research management and training.
  • Assessment of research quality.
  • Program and curriculum design.
  • Evaluation of teaching.
Theme 1D: Designs on the World
  • Collaborations cross-institutional, cross-sectoral and international research programs.
  • International education - the University as a global player.
  • Community service and outreach.
  • The public intellectual in national and international communities.
  • Informing the world - connecting with the media, traditional and new.
  • Inter-University networks and alliances.
  • Private-public partnerships.
  • Relationships with governments, corporations and NGOs.
  • Educational and research capacity-building.
  • Global population movements and the shifting demography of campus.
  • Knowledge movements - migration, diasporic networks and brain drain.
  • Knowledge societies - securing the strategic centrality for universities in contemporary economic and social agendas.
  • Practice orientations - universities in the making of the professions.
  • The economics of higher education.
  • The economics of research and innovation.
  • Research, innovation and education as measures of social progress.

Theme 2: Academic Interests: Setting Intellectual and Practical Agendas

Theme 2A: Sciences
  • Disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity in the sciences.
  • The changing work of scientists.
  • Pedagogies for changing sciences.
  • Scientific responsibilities - climate change, sustainability and health.
  • Science and ethics - sensitive subjects and experimental methods.
  • Basic and applied sciences - changing dynamics.
  • Applied sciences and social meanings - computer interfaces, design methods and other humanising relationships.
Theme 2B: Technologies
  • Technology and human interests.
  • The social web and the digital divide.
  • Biomedical technologies and their impacts.
  • Participatory design.
Theme 2C: Cultures, Identities, Humanisms
  • Global society - changing balances of economic and intellectual power.
  • Faiths and rationalisms.
  • Cultures, civilisations and globalisms.
  • Independences and interdependencies of states, societies and cultures.
  • Multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism and identity politics.
  • Differences - class, locale, race, sex-sexuality-gender, (dis)abilities, culture, language and affinity.
  • Cultural production and learning.
Theme 2D: Resources and Welfare
  • Social capital.
  • Economics and human welfare.
  • Inequality and its remedies.
  • Trade, fair and free; physical and intellectual properties.
  • Development and uneven development.
  • Social services and the professions.
Theme 2E: Governance
  • Self-managing institutions, from the local to the global.
  • Changing patterns of sovereignty.
  • Politics and social formation, from the local to the international.
  • Human rights.
  • Non-government organizations.
  • Regulation and deregulation of knowledge regimes and professions.
  • Intellectual property laws and knowledge systems.