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Higher Education Research Centre

HERC Seminar Series and Conferences


HERC Seminar Series

Higher Education in Challenging Times: Questioning the Unquestioned is a seminar series aiming to stimulate debate between researchers and those engaged in policy and practice in higher education. At a critical time in Ireland and beyond, informed debate is vital to guide the decisions which will shape our higher education systems for decades to come. The series was launched in December 2010 under the auspices of HERC, the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance and the Higher Education Authority. The inaugural seminar was addressed by the renowned educator and scientist Professor Nelson Maculan, University of Rio de Janeiro and former Minister of Higher Education.


September 29, 2020

HERC Seminar on Inequality, Innovation and Reform in Higher Education: Challenges of Migration and Ageing Populations



A new book edited by the Director of HERC, Professor Maria Slowey with Hans Schuetze (Emeritus Professor, University of British Columbia)  and Tanya Zubrzycki (HERC) formed a topic for the HERC seminar held online on 29th of September, 2020.

Titled ‘Inequality, Innovation and Reform in Higher Education: Challenges of Migration and Ageing Populations’ (Springer 2020) the book addresses two important, and interrelated, socio-demographic challenges with significant implications for access to higher education. On the one hand, increasing longevity and ageing populations and, on the other, current patterns of mobility associated with mass migration, whether forced or by choice.

The event was opened by Professor Daire Keogh, President, Dublin City University. In his remarks Professor Keogh welcomed participants from over 20 countries, and congratulated all involved with the book. He highlighted major issues confronting contemporary societies, and the potential role which higher education institutions might play in helping address these. He emphasised that, by their own behaviour universities can act as ‘exemplars of good citizenship and social responsibility’ supporting the academic community to address some of the fundamental challenges presented by the matters discussed in the book through intellectual and moral leadership.

The event was chaired by Professor Maria Slowey who highlighted the  global approach chosen by the editors and thanked the book contributors – leading scholars of higher education, lifelong learning and adult education based in twelve countries from four continents: Europe (Germany, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom); North and South America (Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the USA); South-East Asia (Japan); Australia and New Zealand.

Three panellists offered their reflections on the themes of the book:  Pavel Zgaga, Professor of Education, University of Ljubljana; Gaële Goastellec, Professor of Sociology, University of Lausanne; and Tom Schuller, former Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD and author of The Paula Principle: how women lose out at work and what needs to be done about it.

The book is published as part of Springer Lifelong Learning Book Series and is designed to be of interest to a range of colleagues including: policy makers; education and training providers; trade unions; employers; and individuals.

The book and individual chapters are available from libraries and on the Springer website:



February 4, 2020

Living longer - working longer? Ageing population and new workforce dynamics in Ireland

People aged 65 and over represent the fastest growing population segment in Ireland. The fact that more people are living longer – and in better health – than previous generations should be a ‘good news’ story. However, all too often the focus of attention is on the ‘problems’ of ageing associated with, for example, pension and health costs. This seminar takes a very different perspective. It explores new opportunities opening for people at different stages of life with changing dynamics of work (paid and unpaid) and lifelong learning. As increasing numbers of older people decide to remain longer in the workforce – whether by choice or necessity – new prospects arise for individuals, educational providers, employers and businesses. A multi-faceted approach is required to address these matters. This seminar will involve short expert inputs with open discussion. It is designed to be of interest to a range of colleagues including: policy makers; employers; education and training providers; trade unions; businesses; researchers; and individuals

At 17:30 Professor Brian MacCraith, DCU President will launch Living longer, learning longer – working longer? Implications for new workforce dynamics, a report based on an analysis of relevant literature and expert interviews by Maria Slowey and Tanya Zubrzycki, Higher Education Research Centre (HERC).


Contributors include: 

Danny McCoy, CEO Ibec

Danny McCoy is CEO at Ibec, the group that represents Irish business domestically and internationally. Since becoming CEO in 2009, he has led a substantial transformation of Ibec increasing turnover to €26 million, leading a professional services staff of 180 in 7 locations and 40 plus sub-brands.

Prior to joining Ibec he was a senior economist at both the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Central Bank of Ireland.  He has held lecturing posts at Dublin City University, University College London, University of Oxford and Trinity College Dublin and has been visiting lecturer at the IMD Business School in Switzerland and Harvard University in the US. He has been a consultant for the European Commission and the OECD.

He is a member of the Irish National Competitiveness Council, the National Economic and Social Council and the Export Trade Council. His sits on BusinessEurope Executive Committee and the OECD-BIAC working group on Corporate Taxation.

Danny correctly identified the turnaround in the Irish economy prior to the EU Troika programme and initiated significant media campaigns around the driving the recovery domestically and internationally. Over recent years he has been made significant speeches to the United Nations ILO plenary in Geneva; to the European Business Summit in Brussels; spoken at conferences in the New York and London Stock Exchanges, at the IMF in Washington DC, the World Trade Organisation in Geneva; Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce; Taiwan business summit in Taipei and the OECD Economic Forum in Paris. He regularly presents to the Global Boards of international multinational organisation.

He is a regular contributor in the print and broadcast media and has written columns for the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Irish Times among other international newspapers. The Irish Times recently described Danny as one of the ‘50 people who runs Ireland’.

Ibec represents Irish business; home grown, multinational, big and small, spanning every sector of the economy. The organisation and its sector associations, work with government and policy makers nationally and internationally, to shape business conditions and drive economic growth.  It also provides a wide range of professional services direct to members.

Dr Mary-Liz Trant, Executive Director for Skills Development SOLAS

Dr Mary-Liz Trant is Executive Director in the further education and training authority SOLAS. She leads on expansion of the national apprenticeship and traineeship systems; upskilling in the Irish workforce; technology-enhanced learning; enterprise engagement; and professional development of teachers and tutors within further education and training. Previously Mary-Liz held senior posts in the HEA, leading on enterprise engagement and equity of access to higher education. Earlier in her career Mary-Liz taught at second and third-level. Mary-Liz holds a doctorate in Education; Masters’ Degrees in Education and in French; and a Higher Diploma in Education.

Professor Desmond O'Neill, consultant physician and Associate Professor of Medical Gerontology, TCD

Having trained in Dublin and Bristol, Prof O’Neill is a consultant geriatrician at Tallaght University Hospital, chair of the National Centre for Arts and Health, and co-chair of Medical and Health Humanities in TCD. His research interests cover neuroscience, ageing and the humanities, and in terms of dementia have covered a range from driving with dementia, neuro-imaging and policy, to engaging with the arts to augment quality of life in dementia.

With over 500 peer-reviewed publications, he has been the co-PI of the Irish National Audits of Stroke and Dementia Care, and led out on a range of policies relevant to ageing and dementia such as the national policy on elder abuse. His international profile includes presidency of the European Geriatric Medicine Society and he is the current chair of the Humanities and Arts Committee of the Gerontological Society of America. He has been honoured with the All-Ireland Inspirational Life Award in 2010 for services to older people, the Joseph T Freeman Award of the Gerontological Society of America.

Lalage Bown OBE, Professor Emerita, Glasgow University, international expert on education for adults

Lalage Bown FRSE, FAcSS, emeritus Professor of Adult Education, Glasgow, worked for 31 years in African universities and is a strong advocate for university-based adult education. Interests include adult learning for national identity, gender equality and economic and social development and she has published extensively on these topics. She has  chaired both the British Association for Comparative and International Education and the Development Studies Association and is currently a patron of the Adult Education 2019 campaign.

*Google Maps location: DCU Business School, Glasnevin Avenue, Whitehall, Dublin. There is a fee-paying Multi-Storey Car Park conveniently located on the right of the DCU main entrance on Collins Avenue.



May 9, 2017

Beyond access? Social mobility and life chances of non-traditional students after graduation.

Keynote: Professor John Field


While some progress has been made in widening access to higher education for students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and also different age groups, little is known about what happens after graduation.

In this seminar, Professor John Field drew on data from across Europe to examine patterns of social mobility and the impact of higher education on the life chances of ‘non-traditional’ students after they complete their studies. A response was given by Dr Anne Looney, Dean of the DCU Institute of Education, and recently Interim CEO of the Higher Education Authority in Ireland (photo on the right).

John Field is Adjunct Professor in HERC and Emeritus Professor in the School of Education, University of Stirling (photo below). Between 2002 and 2007, he was Deputy Principal (Research) leading the REF (Research Excellence Framework) strategy for Stirling. Previous positions include Professor and Director of Continuing Education at Warwick University and Director of Continuing Education, University of Ulster.

HERC Seminar Series

Professor Field has a long-standing interest and involvement in lifelong learning and extensive engagement with research and policy activities at national and international levels. He is author or editor of 9 books and over 200 chapters, papers and articles, including Lifelong Learning and the New Educational Order (first published in 2000 and now in its 3rd edition).

AONTAS Discussion of the Seminar

By Karen Williams, Learner Supports Officer, AONTAS

At a recent seminar hosted by Dublin City University’s (DCU) Higher Education Research Centre (HERC), Professor John Field, Adjunct Professor in HERC and previously Vice-Principal for Research in Stirling University, presented data from across Europe to examine patterns of social mobility and the impact of higher education on the life chances of non-traditional students after they complete their studies. AONTAS – the National Adult Learning Organisation attended this seminar and were invited by the HERC to provide our context and expertise to the discussion.


The mission of AONTAS is to advocate for the right of all adults in Ireland to quality learning throughout their lives, and to promote the value and benefits of lifelong learning. We have a specific focus on the most educationally disadvantaged and our work seeks to ensure that all adults have the right to participate in adult learning. AONTAS has extensive experience engaging with learners from all backgrounds who participate in non-formal and formal education such as, community education, Further Education and Training (FET), Higher Education and Lifelong Learning. Our strong understanding of the barriers and challenges which learners face when accessing and progressing in education stems from grass root level through our membership of individuals and organisations which range from voluntary, learners, providers and policy makers.

Lifelong Learning in Ireland

Engaging with learners in lifelong learning can provide greater context and data on a learners’ journey in education and also their progression paths. The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs recently published the “Lifelong Learning Participation Among Adults” Report (2017) which breaks down the Lifelong Learning participation rate in Ireland in terms of learning type, gender, age, educational level, region, work status and employment. Ireland’s lifelong learning participation rate is currently 6.5%, which falls behind the EU 28 average of nearly 11% (Eurostat, 2017). Age, education level and employment status are the strongest predictors for lifelong learning participation and John Field’s data highlighted how these factors primarily affect those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Interestingly, in an Irish context so-called “inactive people” have a higher level of participation in Lifelong Learning due to the policies/interventions that have primarily focused on the unemployed which differs from other EU countries, as the higher your education level, the higher your rate of Lifelong Learning participation.  Although these “in-active” people are engaging in learning, there is a need for greater employment prospects for this cohort in order to assist social mobility.

Widening Participation

AONTAS welcomes the Action Plan for Education (2016-2019) which has a lifelong learning participation rate target of 10% by 2020, however further consideration should be made regarding widening participation to include people who have experienced significant educational disadvantage. A further welcomed development is the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015-2019 which lists six traditionally under-presented cohorts of learners such as first-time mature students and part-time/flexible learners. Feedback to AONTAS from adult learners from a variety of educational settings indicates the need for an education system which is highly flexible and responds to the diverse needs of adults as they emerge. Expanding entry requirements for Higher Education programmes to take into consideration the life/work experience of adults through Recognition of Prior learning (RPL) models could widen participation. Entry requirements which are open to alternative methods for admissions based on a variety of criteria: work, life and prior education experience would further widen participation and access. There is no one-size fits all approach to engaging all learners. Using a variety of approaches that support meaningful learner participation in lifelong learning has proven to be successful.


While progress has been made in an Irish context through the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education (2015-2019) in widening access to higher education for learners from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and also different age groups; John field noted that little is known about what happens after graduation. As is well documented in relation to women, participation in higher education does not guarantee equality of subsequent outcomes. His presentation showed research from the EMPLOY project which seeks to understand employability from the student and graduate perspective and the impact of age, gender, class, ethnicity & disability on students’ employment prospects. Three student narratives were used to portray the student/graduate perspective on employability and highlighted how graduates are proportionately marginalised due to the simultaneous, intersecting nature of how they are read by others including (but not limited to) gender, race, class and nationality. Given the context of the Irish Higher education system where the predominant cohort of learners in higher education is white, middle class - the Irish labour market reflects this system which produces future employees. Therefore, there is a growing need to not only expand pathways to higher education but also encourage employers to enhance employment prospects and supports for non-traditional students/graduates in order to increase social mobility and life chances of the non-traditional student.

31 May, 2017



Empowering Through Upskilling? Evaluation of a Policy Response to Globalisation, Keynote: Professor Ewart Keep

The HERC seminar ‘Empowering Through Upskilling? Evaluation of a Policy Response to Globalisation’ was held on 9th December at DCU. This expanded the theme of higher education to the wider skills agenda taken up in a previous seminar. In her opening address, HERC director Professor Maria Slowey noted that there is “a dearth of high-quality empirical research” informing the contentious debate about skills training. She called for greater co-operation between researchers and policy makers to set the foundation for “evidence-based policy development”. To this end, she introduced the keynote speaker Professor Ewart Keep as an expert in skills policy and employer engagement who has also advised parliamentary committees in Westminster and Holyrood. Professor Keep currently holds a chair in Education, Training and Skills at Oxford University and is director of the Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE). The keynote speech was followed by presentations from Dr Bryan Fields, Director of Curriculum Development/Programme Innovation at SOLAS; Dr. Claire Gubbins, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of Learning Innovation and Knowledge Research Centre, DCU Business School; Dr Kara McGann, a policy executive at IBEC; and Professor Philip O'Connell, director of the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy. Click here for more information about this seminar


What Can We Learn From Research to Better Support Adult Learners in Higher Education? Keynote: Professor Miriam Zukas

HERC hosted a seminar on June 9th in DCU entitled “What can we learn from research to better support adult learners in higher education?”. The seminar was supported by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and was part of their seminar series 2014. HERC’s director, Professor Maria Slowey, opened the seminar and then introduced the keynote speaker, Professor Miriam Zukas, Executive Dean of the School of Social Science, History and Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London. The keynote speech was followed by three presentations on the research carried out in the field. Professor Mark Morgan - Cregan Professor of Education and Psychology, Emeritus, St Patrick’s College Drumcondra and Coordinator Growing Up in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin - focused on research on Cognitive Processes and Adult Learners. The second presentation by Dr. Esther Murphy - Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT), NCBI – focused on peer support and digital technology research to support adult learners with disabilities in further and higher education. Her primary area of research deals with working for people with sight loss and more specifically finding transition pathways to higher education for non-traditional/adult learners.The last presentation by Dr Mark Glynn - Head Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU), DCU – examined what research reveals about engaging adult learners. The seminar also had a very interesting contribution by Mrs Ann Reilly, the former Chair of the Mature Student Society of DCU. She talked about the difficulties and barriers that mature students face when studying in DCU. The last part of the seminar was devoted to a brainstorming session, led by Professor Anne Ryan, Department of Adult and Community Education, NUIM. Click here for more information about this seminar.


How to Tackle Intergenerational Equity Gaps in Knowledge and Skills? Keynote: Professor Andy Green

The symposium, “How to tackle intergenerational equity gaps in knowledge and skills?” was convened and chaired by Professor Maria Slowey, Director of HERC (Higher Education Research Centre) and offered an opportunity to locate Ireland in a wider international context.The results of OECD’s PIAAC (Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies) study – which assesses the skills of more than 160,000 people in 24 countries in literacy, numeracy and problem-solving – was the key focus for discussion. The event was hosted by the Higher Education Research Centre (HERC) Dublin City University in association with the Royal Irish Academy and the Centre for Learning and Life Chances (LLAKES) Institute of Education, University of London. And brought together researchers and policy makers with a shared interest in enhancing adult skills. The keynote speech was given by Professor Andy Green, Director of the LLAKES Centre, and included contributions by Victor Dukelow, Joint Head of Analytical Services, Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland; Professor John Field, Emeritus Professor of Lifelong Learning, Stirling University; Fiona Hartley, Executive Director, SOLAS; Donal Kelly, Central Statistics Office, responsible for administering the PIAAC survey in Ireland; and Professor Anne Ryan, Department of Adult and Community Education Maynooth. Please follow this link for more information about this seminar.


Changing Demographics of Higher Education: Policy Implications for Research, Teaching and Learning, Keynote: Professor Tom Schuller

Professor Tom Schuller is currently Director of Longview, presented a lecture entitled 'Changing demographics of higher education: policy implications for research, teaching and learning'. The lecture was introduced by Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU with expert panellists Professor Brendan Whelan, Research Advisor, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and previously Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Professor Mark Morgan, Cregan Professor of Education and Psychology, St Patrick's College Drumcondra and DCU and Acting Director 'Growing up in Ireland' and Trudy Corrigan, Lecturer in the School of Education Studies DCU and DCU Intergenerational Learning Programme Coordinator. Click here for more information about this seminar.


Governing Higher Education: The Limits of Public Regulation and Institutional Autonomy in a Connected World, Keynote: Professor Dirk Van Damme

Professor Van Damme presented a lecture entitled 'Governing higher education: the limits of public regulation and institutional autonomy in a connected world'. This was followed by an open discussion chaired by Professor Maria Slowey, Director of Higher Education Research, DCU, with participants and expert panellists including Tom Boland, Chief Executive, Higher Education Authority and Professor Shirley Walters, Director of the Division for Lifelong Learning, University of Western Cape, South Africa and former Chair of the South African Qualifications Authority. Click here for more information about this seminar.


Higher Education Reform in the Atlantic Isles: Similarities and Differences, Keynote: Professor Sir Peter Scott

On 16 May, Professor Sir Peter Scott, Professor of Higher Education, Institute of Education, London delivered a lecture Higher Education Reform in the Atlantic Isles: Similarities and Differences. This event was the fifth in a lecture series hosted by the Higher Education Research Centre (HERC) DCU, with support from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance (DRHEA). The welcome address was given by the President of DCU Professor Brian MacCraith. The event was chaired by Professor Maria Slowey, Director of Higher Education Research and Development, DCU, with participants and expert panellists Dr Mary Canning, Deputy-Chair of the HEA, Professor Mike Grenfell, Chair (1905) of Education and Head of School, Trinity College Dublin, and Professor Richard O'Kennedy, Vice-President for Learning Innovation, DCU and current Chair of the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance. Click here for more information about this seminar.


R&D the New Zealand Way: Funding and Prioritisation in Higher Education, Keynote: Dr. Di McCarthy

On Monday 7 March, Dr Di McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand delivered a lecture at the Royal Irish Academy entitled R&D - The New Zealand Way: Funding and Prioritisation in Higher Education. This event was jointly hosted by the Royal Irish Academy and the Higher Education Research Centre, Dublin City University. It was chaired by Professor Nicolas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy, and introduced by Professor Maria Slowey, Director of Higher Education Research and Development at DCU. Click here for more information about this seminar. 


Regional Engagement and Service Mission of Universities: North American Perspectives, Keynote: Professor Hans Schuetze

On 4 March, Hans G. Schuetze, Emeritus Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada delivered a talk entitled 'Regional Engagement and Service Mission of Universities: North American Perspectives'. This was the third of a lecture series co-sponsored by the Higher Education Research Centre (HERC) DCU, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance (DRHEA). The event was chaired by Professor Maria Slowey, Director of Higher Education Research and Development, DCU, with participants and discussants Professor Ronnie Munck, Head of Civic and Global Engagement, DCU, and Dr. Elaine Ward, Higher Education Policy Research Unit, DIT. Click here for more information about this seminar.


Does Higher Education Create Public Good(s) and Should It Be Publicaly Funded? Keynote: Professor Simon Marginson

The second event in the seminar series took place on Monday 21st of February, 2011. The main speaker for this event was Simon Marginson, Professor of Higher Education at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Professor Marginson provides advice for the OECD and the governments of Ireland, Australia and several countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and writes principally about globalization, higher education and education policy. He presented a lecture entitled 'Does higher education create public good(s) and should it be publicly funded?'. This was followed by an open discussion chaired by Professor Maria Slowey, Director of Higher Education Research, DCU, with participants and expert panellists including Professor Patrick Clancy, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, UCD, Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, Director of Research and Enterprise, DIT and Professor Shinichi Yamamoto, Director, Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University, Japan. Click here for more information about this seminar.


Globalisation and Higher Education: Policy and Practice in a BRIC Country, Keynote: Professor Nelson Maculan

The series was launched on Wednesday 8 December with a seminar entitled 'Globalisation and higher education: policy and practice in a BRIC country' by the renowned educator and scientist, Professor Nelson Maculan. A welcome address was given by Professor Brian MacCraith, President of Dublin City University. Introductions were made by Professor Maria Slowey, DCU who acknowledged the support of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance (DRHEA). We were also honoured to have the Brazilian Ambassador Pedro Fernando Brêtas Bastosin in attendance. The seminar was followed by an open discussion with participants and expert panellists including Dr. Bahram Bekhradnia, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, Oxford, Dr. Carmel Mulcahy, School of Education Studies, Dublin City University, Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority, and Professor John Field, Professor of Lifelong Learning at The Stirling Institute of Education. Click here for more information about this seminar.


HERC Conferences

13th International Workshop on Higher Education Reform (HER2016) Dublin, September 7-9, 2016

HER2016 International Workshop

In September 2016, The Higher Education Research Centre (HERC), Dublin City University was pleased to host the 13th International Workshop on Higher Education Reform (HER2016) in association with the Institute of Education, Dublin City University, and the Centre for Academic Values in Education (CAVE), Trinity College Dublin. 

HER2016 Workshop attracted over 60 participants from 13 countries with a focus on research investigating various aspects of policy reforms and other major changes in higher education. The conference opened up an international dialogue on this year’s theme of ‘Wider access, changing national demographics and international mass migration: implications for higher education reforms and policy’, providing a platform for researchers and senior higher education policy makers and leaders seeking to widen engagement, while also promoting new policy solutions at local, national and international levels.

The feedback from the delegates has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are very grateful to all of the participants for making the HER2016 Workshop a success! Conference Programme and the Book of Abstracts are available below. Next year’s HER2017 Workshop will be hosted by the University of Hiroshima, Japan.

A HERC News page with a Photo Gallery from the Workshop and the interviews of our Delegates can now be accessed here

HER2016 Presentations


Please find below presentations from the 13th HER Workshop available to view and download. More presentations are coming soon.

Day 1: Wednesday 7th September 2016

Keynote Speaker, Professor Pavel Zgaga, Mobility and migration: freedom and threat? (pdf, 1,57MB)

Day 2: Thursday 8th September 2016

Keynote Speaker, Mr. David Istance, Learning in retirement: a policy priority for the 21st century (pdf, 135KB)


Walter Archer, University of Alberta and William Kops, University of Manitoba (Canada), The Ageing Population: An Impetus for Reform of the Community-Engaged University (pdf, 1,1MB)

Sumin Li, Tianjin Normal University (China), Higher Education for the Aged in China (pdf, 114KB)

Shinichi Yamamoto, J.F. Oberlin University (Japan), The Role of Higher Education and Its Institutional Management in an Aging Society: The Case of Japan, and Implications for Others


Ana Ivenicki, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Higher Education in an Increasingly Multicultural Society: The Example of Brazil (pdf, 1,1MB)

John FitzGibbon, BC Council on Admissions and Transfer (Canada), Canada’s Response to Global Economic and Demographic Challenges: Mobility and Enrolment Trends in British Columbia’s Higher Education System (pdf, 1,2MB)


Andrä Wolter, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany), Migration and Higher Education in Germany (pdf, 1,4MB)


Martha Cleveland-Innes, Athabasca University (Canada), Student Change and Faculty Roles: New Ways Forward for Higher Education (pdf, 1MB)


Rosalba Genoveva Ramírez García, Center for Research and Advanced Studies (Mexico), Higher Education Policies in Mexico in View of Demographic Changes (pdf, 191KB)


Convenor: Professor Walter Archer, Panellists: Professors Wietse de Vries, William Kops, Maria Slowey and Shinichi Yamamoto, Higher education for older adults: what is happening around the world, and what reforms are needed (pdf, 1,7MB)


Carol Kasworm, North Carolina State University (USA), The Shifting Future of U.S. Higher Education for Adult Learners and Workers (pdf, 739KB)

Ike Mokhele, Central University of Technology (Free State Province, South Africa), Exploring the South African Post Schooling Education and Training System: Policy Reforms for Access, Equity, Transformation and Marketization of Tertiary Education (pdf, 289KB)


Hae-Joo Lee and Min-Seung Jung, Korea National Open University (Republic of Korea), Reflections on Multicultural Education in Korea

PANEL SESSION 3: Higher education expansion and aging population in Latin America

Convenor and panellist: Germán Álvarez Mendiola, Professor, Center of Educational Research and Advanced Studies, Mexico City, Mexico, Panellists: Ana Ivenicki, Professor of Education, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rosalba Ramírez, Center of Educational Research and Advanced Studies, Mexico City, Mexico

Ana Ivenicki, Professor of Education, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (pdf, 862KB)

Day 3: Friday 9th September 2016


Sylvie Didou Aupetit, Center for Research and Advanced Studies (Mexico), New Students, New Institutions: Challenges for Their Academic Legitimation and Social Sustainability in Mexico (pdf, 314KB)


Jennifer Bruen and Niamh Klelly, Dublin City University (Ireland), The Impact of “Super-Diversity” on the Student Experience in Higher Education: Implications and Recommendations for an Enhanced Delivery of Modern Foreign Languages at Third Level (pdf, 400KB)

PANEL SESSION 4: Good intentions but not reality (yet)? University reforms to embrace lifelong learning (LLL) 

Convenor: Professor Hans G. Schuetze, Panellists: Ana Ivenicki, Professor of Education, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carol Kasworm, Emerita Professor of Adult Education, North Carolina State University, USA, Shinichi Yamamoto, Professor, Graduate School of Higher Education Management, J.F. Oberlin University, Tokyo, Japan, Hae-Joo Lee, Professor, Korea National Open University, Republic of Korea

Ana Ivenicki, Professor of Education, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (pdf, 863KB)

Carol Kasworm, Emerita Professor of Adult Education, North Carolina State University, USA (pdf, 383KB)

HER2016 Keynote Speakers



 Keynote Speakers:

(Arranged by order of presentation)

Pavel Zgaga, Professor of Higher Education, Center for Educational Policy Studies, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Pavel Zgaga, Professor of Higher Education, Center for Educational Policy Studies, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, SloveniaPavel Zgaga is professor of the philosophy of education at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His central research interest is focused primarily on contemporary transformations of higher education and analyses of higher education policies and reforms (particularly the Bologna Process). He also addresses broader questions linked with the role of knowledge and education in contemporary society. In these areas, he has written six monographs (one as a co-author), as well as publishing a number of individual chapters in monographs and articles in scholarly journals. He has served as the editor or co-editor of twelve monographs. In 2006, he received the Prize of the Republic of Slovenia in the Field of Education for his research work, and in 2007 he was awarded the Golden Plaque of the University of Ljubljana as well as an honorary doctorate from Umeå University, Sweden.

Mobility and Migration: Freedom and Threat?

Short Abstract: In the contemporary period, we have understood mobility in higher education increasingly as a value. Both in Europe – with the Bologna process in particular – and in the global context, mobility is one of the main policy ideas: this is noticeable, for example, in the competition of higher education institutions and national systems to attract as many foreign students and academic staff as possible. In the recent years, academic mobility and migration are not only desirable phenomena promoted by specific policies; they have begun to represent a danger and a threat. This shift requires a change in current policies. Moreover, the issue of security challenges the established meaning structure. The changes that we have witnessed in recent months, particularly in Europe, will have a significant impact on the practice of higher education institutions as well as on existing institutional, national and transnational policies. This contribution will explore the issue in more detail.

Presentation of the Keynote Speaker, Professor Pavel Zgaga can be viewed and downloaded here (pdf, 1,57MB)

Mary E. Daly, Emerita Professor of History, University College Dublin; President of the Royal Irish Academy, Ireland

Mary E. Daly, Emerita Professor of History, University College Dublin; President of the Royal Irish Academy, IrelandProfessor Daly is Emerita Professor of History at University College Dublin (UCD) and served for seven years as Principal of UCD College of Arts and Celtic Studies, a Vice-President of University College Dublin, and a member of the UCD Governing Authority. She has also held visiting positions at Harvard and Boston College. From 2000 to 2004 she was Secretary of the Royal Irish Academy and vice-chair of the Academy’s Working Group on Higher Education. She was a member of the Higher Education Authority (the body that funds and oversees higher education in Ireland) from 2007 to 2012. She is currently a Governor of the National Gallery of Ireland, and a member of the Expert Advisory Group that advises the government on the commemoration of historical anniversaries. In 2015 she was awarded a D. Litt. (honoris causa) by the National University of Ireland, and she is a member of the Academia Europea.

Over the course of her distinguished career, Professor Daly has researched widely and published prolifically, notably: Dublin, the Deposed Capital: A Social and Economic History, 1860-1914 (1984); Women and Work in Ireland (1997); The Slow Failure: Population Decline and Independent Ireland, 1920-1973 (2006); and, with Theo Hoppen, Gladstone: Ireland and Beyond (2011). Her most recent book, Sixties Ireland, reshaping the economy, state and society, 1957-73, was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press.

Access to Higher Education – Religion, Gender, and Ethnicity: Some Aspects of the Irish Story at Home and Abroad 

Short Abstract: This presentation explores the historical challenges in access to higher education, both in Ireland and for the Irish emigrants to other countries, and contributes to our understanding of its evolution until now. It discusses the increasing level of awareness for the need for Irish higher education to reflect the ethnic and cultural background of the students, especially those from formerly under-represented groups, such the expansion of women’s studies; Black studies, post-colonial studies; the increasing emphasis in media or cultural studies on writers and artists from Africa or Asia, and their inclusion in degree programmes that would previously have been Eurocentric. Current issues are further highlighted as the Irish universities are seeing an increasing number of students from new immigrant families – both EU and farther afield – and there is a need to take this into consideration in terms of curriculum and future academic appointments, if Irish universities are to reflect and respond both to the student population and a changing society. 

David Istance, Senior Analyst, OECD (Schooling for Tomorrow; Innovative Learning Environment projects)

David Istance has spent most of his professional life in Paris at the OECD, with a period as an academic in Wales in the 1990s. He led the international projects "Innovative Learning Environments" and "Schooling for Tomorrow", wrote the OECD’s learning principles and schooling scenarios, and is now preparing a new innovation project focused on pedagogy. He is contributing to another international study on indigenous education and in 2015 led the OECD review of Scottish schooling. He has designed and compiled knowledge resources aimed at practitioners, including the “Trends Shaping Education” and “Education Today” published series.

In 2015, David guest-edited one issue in the special four-issue volume of the European Journal of Education to mark the journal’s 50th anniversary; together they covered the four pillars of learning from the 1996 UNESCO Delors report and his issue on “learning to be” included his own article on the retired. Earlier, he put together with Hans Schuetze and Tom Schuller an international reader, published in 2002, on lifelong learning. 

Learning in Retirement: A Policy Priority for the 21st Century

Short Abstract: David Istance argues that education and learning by older adults is commonly neglected, viewed as a matter of low community or policy relevance when instead it should be a prominent priority. He argues for “active ageing” in preference over “lifelong learning” as the main concept to address this priority, though with education, including higher education, playing a key role. The argument is supported by demographic, skills and educational evidence. International trends in longevity and retirement confirm that dramatic change is unfolding, calling for significant new social and educational responses. The evidence about skills is mixed rather than supporting a clear message of decline with age; in any case, slower average information processing with age, for instance, is irrelevant to most of the pertinent policy questions. And, relatively low current levels of educational participation among seniors and the wide diversity of their reasons to learn should both inform appropriate educational and community strategies.

Presentation of the Keynote Speaker, Mr. David Istance can be viewed and downloaded here (pdf, 135KB)

Thomas Collins, Chair of the Governing Bodies of DIT and IT Blanchardstown

Professor Tom Collins is Chair of the Working Group on Sudent Engagement, Chair of the Governing Authorities of Dublin Institute of Technology and Blanchardstown Institute of Technology and was interim President of Maynooth University in 2010 and President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland Bahrain campus.  Prior to this he was Professor and Head of the Education Department and Dean of Teaching and Learning at Maynooth University. He is the former Director of Dundalk Institute of Technology in which capacity he established the Centre for Renewable Energy, the National Centre for Fresh Water Studies and the Centre for Ageing. He was Government advisor on both the Green Paper (1998) and White Paper (2000) on Adult Education at which time he was Director of the Centre for Adult and Community Education at Maynooth University. Professor Collins has published and lectured widely in the area of Education and is a regular media columnist.

 Globalising the Academy – The Existential Challenge

Internationalisation of universities takes a number of forms. Most commonly, students move across borders to Western institutions to pursue their studies. What receives less attention in the discourse on globalisation and internationalisation is the phenomenon of western branch campuses being established overseas and the kinds of issues which this can give rise to. This presentation will propose that the cultural and political environments in which such campuses may find themselves can present the most fundamental challenges to the underpinning philosophical precepts of higher education. It will argue that where underpinning democratic principles and practices are absent or underdeveloped in the wider cultural or institutional context of the host country, silence will be the likely response to issues or positions around which there may be a pressing need to speak. Ultimately the authenticity and integrity of the institution and its sense of agency and self-worth becomes exposed, not only in the host country but in the parent institution also.


HER2016 Programme and Book of Abstracts



 Here you can download a final version of the HER2016 Workshop Programme (pdf, 700KB) and the Book of Abstracts (pdf, 1MB).

HER2016 Previous Hosts

Hosts of previous HER Workshops (2003-2015):

Tianjin China (2015)
Tianjin Normal University, China

St John’s (2014)
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Ljubljana (2013)
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Pittsburgh (2012)
University of Pittsburgh

Berlin (2011)
Humboldt University

Vancouver (2010)
University of British Columbia

Mexico City (2009)
Center for Research and Advanced Studies – Department of Educational Research

Shanghai (2008)
East China Normal University

Dublin (2007)
Dublin City University

Tokyo (2006)
University of Tsukuba

Vienna (2004)
University of Klagenfurt

Vancouver (2003)
University of British Columbia

 HER2016 International Scientific Committee

German Alvarez Mendiola, Professor, Centre for Advanced Research and Studies, Mexico City.

Walter Archer, Emeritus Professor, University of Alberta, Canada.

Sumin Li, Professor, School of Education, Tianjin Normal University, China.

Hans Schuetze, Emeritus Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Maria Slowey, Professor and Director HERC (Higher Education Research Centre), Dublin City University, and Chair National Organizing Committee, HER 2016.

Andrä Wolter, Professor, Institute for Educational Research, Humboldt University, Germany.

Shinichi Yamamoto, Professor, Graduate School of Higher Education Management, J.F. Oberlin University, Japan.

Pavel Zgaga, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Support from a number of entities is acknowledged, including the CSSHE (Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education)



48th eucen Conference, Dublin 01-03 June, 2016


In June 2016, Higher Education Research Centre (HERC) Dublin City University was pleased to host the 48th eucen conference focussed on the theme Crossing borders through lifelong learning: enhancing quality and equity in higher education. During the conference, eucen's 25th anniversary was also celebrated.

The conference attracted over 140 participants from 26 countries opening up an international dialogue about enhanced 'border crossings' to improve higher education access for a wide range of new groups of adult learners.

Contributors included:

Françoise de Viron, eucen President

Tom Boland, Chief Executive, Higher Education Authority of Ireland (HEA)

Margie Waters, Deputy Head of DG Education and Culture Unit B, European Commission

Brian MacCraith, President, Dublin City University

Maria Slowey, Director, Higher Education Research Centre, Dublin City University

The conference provided a platform for teachers, professors, managers, researchers and practitioners of continuing education who seek to widen engagement, while also promoting innovation and break down barriers by crossing borders in university lifelong learning. It also stimulated dialogue and debate with a view to developing new solutions to engagement with adult learners at local, national and international levels.