Symposium to reflect on the future role of universities

February 27, 2013

A Murdoch University symposium on March 4 seeks to elevate debate about the role of universities in today’s rapidly changing global environment.

The Symposium titled The 21st Century University: Transformation and resilience in a knowledge economy will bring together leading thinkers, academics and others from business, government and the community, to discuss how universities will develop in coming decades.

The plenary speaker Professor Tony Chan, President of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, will discuss some of the major global trends in higher education and the stellar rise of his own university into the ranks of the world’s top 100.

Murdoch Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Higgott described the rise of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology as a modern marvel in the higher education sector, taking little more than ten years to establish itself as one of Asia’s top ten research universities.

“Professor Chan’s presentation promises to be insightful and will no doubt provide valuable lessons for Australian universities moving forward,” said Professor Higgott.

Other speakers on the day include Professor Mark Considine, Dean of Arts from the University of Melbourne, who will discuss what makes the university enterprise distinct and Thomas Docherty, Professor of English and Comparative Literature University of Warwick, who will discuss why the ‘University Idea’ matters.

“The Symposium sets out to stimulate new and different ways of thinking about universities, their identity and function, for in contemporary times,” Professor Higgott said.

“We want to move the discussion beyond static characterisations and to begin to think creatively about how we may grasp the modern university’s mission in all its dynamism and complexity.”

The Symposium will conclude with Professor Richard Higgott summing up the day’s observations and discussions, which will form the basis of a communiqué, which will be made available to journalists.

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