Dr. Arshad Ahmad to Present Keynote Address at Higher Education Conference, Amsterdam

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Higher Education Conference 2019

LUMS Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad’s Keynote address "Change Management in the Research-teaching-praxis Nexus: Lessons from Canada & Pakistan"

Date: October 28-29, 2019
Venue: Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Keynote Abstract

Senior Administrators are obsessed by change management and often trapped by power-distance issues with faculty. But do they have to be? Their stories are often revealed in case studies that provide insights from managerial, socio-cultural and other perspectives (see for eg. Bamber et. al, 2009 and Kezar, 2014). Dr. Ahmad will share his experiments over 5 years as Vice-Provost, Teaching & Learning Centre at a top Canadian research-intensive university offer sobering lessons as well as traces of visible high-impact practices. According to him, as Vice Chancellor of a top comprehensive, learning-centered university in Pakistan, the windows of change appear to be bigger and the potential impact factors higher. Can that be explained by vastly different institutional, cultural and demographic profiles? What about faculty and student dispositions, as well as disciplinary perspectives? Or, should a different theory of change be used? This keynote describes an exploration of a comparative research-teaching-praxis nexus in a relatively old compared to a young university and invites attendees to identify their own assumptions about processes that accelerate change and redistribute power through decisions that make a difference in the student experience.

Conference Theme

Higher education has a central role in the education of professionals, traditionally intimately linked to the development of professions in medicine, law, theology and engineering (Grace, 2014). More recently, higher education is positioned as crucial in the production of employable citizens across multiple fields (Marginson, 2014). Therefore, all higher education is (in) directly connected to the professional practice of their alumni's professional fields. This shift raises a question about the function of academic knowledge in the education of high-level professionals. It also raises questions about the functional connection between research and teaching. Academic knowledge often focusses on generalisable knowledge, whereas professionals aim to influence a specific case. Therefore, higher education trained professionals are likely to encounter the application limits of their academic knowledge-base and related research methods in their professional work. Applied knowledge is also presumed to have a different methodological base (Gibbons et al., 1994).

For this conference, proposals were invited on higher education research that addresses linkages between research, teaching and/or professional practice (in which academic practice can also be considered a profession). How can research and teaching be linked in such a way that it educates flexible academics and/or professionals? How do research and practice collectively provide knowledge for educational programmes? What pedagogies lead to educating alumni who can be the linking-pin between new knowledge and their professional practice?