HE SIG Editorial by Professor Victoria de Rijke, Department of Education, Middlesex University

Come gather round people/wherever you roam/And admit that the waters/around you have grown. Accept that soon/you’ll be drenched to the bone/If your time is worth savin’/then you’ll better start swimmin’/Or you’ll sink like stone/For the times they are a changing….  (Bob Dylan, 1964)

Welcome, all, to a new, fully inclusive Special Interest Group (SIG) on Higher Education!

Hosted by the School of Education, our aim is to widen commentary, discussion and input to the changes facing us at Middlesex and the sector.  Designed to help us achieve our strategy learning organisation gaols, it will draw contributions from across the entire university and its campuses, inclusive of the SU, CAPE, the Executive, and all Faculties.

We’re envisioning a democratic learning environment based on expertise and passion for what we can do upholding and evidencing values of the university.  We want these values to shine brightly in the way we engage with issues that face the sector, its stakeholders and our own university.  To do this we will provide up to-date information on what is happening in terms of national and international policy, pedagogy and research practice. This will include working together to organise conferences, webinars and publications; agreeing a research agenda by reaching out to ALL colleagues to be involved where relevant.

This is the first editorial for our online HE “magazine” model, opening up pan-University dialogue with columnists making contributions of different kinds, so we can share an online resource on crucial matters affecting HE. These might be funding issues, academic autonomy and integrity, international students, quality assurance concerns, new ways of being at university, widening participation, assessments, relationships with the skills agenda, transfer of knowledge, the form of that knowledge, and much more. 

You will see here:

  • a short introductory editorial (by me at first, but open to guest editorials as we develop)
  • a leader article (by CAPE and Prof Jayne Osgood on the 2021 Learning & Teaching conference this time, but open to all)
  • a synthesis of all the current HE news (managed by Prof Paul Gibbs)
  • a student column (by CERS student member Maxine Joyce Stevenson at first, but open to student and SU guest contribution as we develop)
  • a more informal ‘Speak Up’ column for any contributors burning to speak up on HE issues
  • an events box for posting HE seminars/conferences/publications, etc.

Knowledge for change builds on creating partnerships. We want you to be active in this conversation, so please get in touch with Education’s RA Shams Sadiqi – s.sadiqi@mdx.ac.uk- if you want to make a contribution of any kind. If Middlesex is to learn, change, and create change, it needs all of our participation. Looking forward to working together for the change we want to see!

Warm Regards, Victoria

Professor Victoria de Rijke, Department of Education, Middlesex University