The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) will play host to an international higher education conference at its Paisley Campus this week (Wed 28 June – Fri 30 June) as part of its annual Festival of Learning.
The Higher Education Teaching and Learning conference (HETL) is being hosted in the UK for the first time ever. The event will see more than 250 delegates from four continents gather to help address challenges and opportunities within the higher education sector on the issues of inclusion and diversity.
Now in its 5th year, the conference is set within the context of growing participation rates in higher education across the world, thanks to increased internationalisation, a growing democratisation of higher education, and the emergence of lifelong learning being viewed as a basic human right.
Over the course of the three-day conference, delegates will take part in workshops and plenaries to address key questions on creating a more inclusive culture through exploring new teaching methods, curriculum innovation, community partnerships and emerging areas of research.
The conference will allow different institutions to share best practice and knowledge in the field. As a higher education institution, UWS is passionate about inclusion and diversity, and currently leads the way in Scotland in attracting students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
UWS Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Craig Mahoney, will deliver a keynote speech on inclusion and participation and will be joined by a number of other influential speakers.
We hope that by hosting the HETL conference here at UWS, we can help drive forward inclusivity and diversity – two principles which help form the backbone of a successful global higher education sector – alongside promoting innovative teaching and learning.
Dame Ruth Silver, who co-chairs the Skills Commission and who was heavily involved in the Scottish Government’s independent commission on widening access will share her experiences of shaping policy in higher education. Professor Lorraine Stefani of the University of Auckland, will speak on inclusive leadership, and Dr Jaimie Hoffman of the University of Southern California, whose research and leadership focuses on student experience and access to education, will share her knowledge of best practice.
Commenting ahead of the conference, Professor Craig Mahoney said: “We understand the need to develop integrated, inclusive educational experiences and teaching and learning environments. At UWS we strongly value and encourage diversity and aim to provide an innovative learning environment for our students. We are particularly proud that, compared to other Scottish universities, we attract the highest proportion of students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
“We hope that by hosting the HETL conference here at UWS, we can help drive forward inclusivity and diversity – two principles which help form the backbone of a successful global higher education sector – alongside promoting innovative teaching and learning.”
Dr Patrick Blessinger, Executive Director and Chief Research Scientist at HETL, said:
“As a result of the growing diversity of student populations, higher education institutions around the globe have started to move beyond relatively simple widening participation initiatives. There is now a move towards a total inclusion philosophy that is focused on transforming institution and cultures that embrace all backgrounds, abilities, identities.
“UWS is a prime example of an institution which takes an innovative person-centred approach to help tackle some of the inclusion challenges facing the sector and is making great strides in doing so. It was only fitting, therefore, that the 2017 HETL conference take place at UWS in Paisley, which this week will play host to some challenging and progressive debate from academics from across the world.”