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Seventh IOE International Summer School on Higher Education Research Takes Place in Saint Petersburg

Seventh IOE International Summer School on Higher Education Research Takes Place in Saint Petersburg

Between May 31 and June 6, Saint Petersburg, Russia is hosting more than 20 junior-career scholars from 10 countries to explore various theoretical and applied perspectives in modern studies of higher education as part of the 2019 International Summer School on Higher Education Research.

Held for the seventh straight year since 2013, the School ranks among the leading international forums to offer aspiring young academics in higher education unique opportunities to learn and receive firsthand feedback on their current R&D projects from a premier cohort of world-acclaimed experts in education.  

The Summer School sets itself apart as a genuinely multifaceted venue that aims to provide in-depth insights into a variety of specific concepts that studies of higher education adopt from across disciplines (e.g., political studies, sociology, history and cultural anthropology, economics, etc.), while also encouraging extensive hands-on exposures so that junior-career participants of different backgrounds can immediately engage in reinvigorating networking and build further R&D collaborations with their peers and distinguished academics from across the globe.

This comprehensive approach to how the Summer School is designed is one of the key factors to underpin the consistently strong interest that this learning venue has enjoyed over the years. The School’s admissions campaign in 2019 has recorded a particularly high rate of competition among international applicants with a bright group of 26 early-career researchers from India, China, Poland, the U.S., etc. shortlisted to get enrolled.  

The special focus of the Summer School 2019 is theoretical and conceptual perspectives in the study of higher education. As a multidisciplinary field, higher education research draws upon conceptual frameworks and traditions that have their origin in different scholarly realms. Studies of higher education often synthesize methods and approaches from across disciplinary dimensions in seeking to deliver more conclusive evidence to aid robust policies and practices so that higher education as well as broader socioeconomic dimensions benefit from positive change. Engaging in a vibrant mix of networking formats, the School faculty and participants have focused on such facets as: the pros and cons of various theories and concepts developed in economics, sociology, political science, cultural studies, etc., how they work in multidisciplinary scholarship of higher education, comparative perspectives on how these theories and concepts can be applied across different national HE contexts, etc.      


This year’s Summer School addresses the following areas and topics:

  • Major disciplinary developments in theories and concepts that are used in higher education research: how a particular body of ideas accumulated in sociology, economics, political science, cultural studies, etc. helps us understand higher education and what each may fail to cover
  • How higher education research as a distinct field is struggling to build its own body of theories and concepts
  • Why some theories and concepts have become more popular and whether everyone should use them
  • How to design and carry out a cross-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary study in higher education
  • Best strategies for choosing theoretical perspectives for a study
  • How to challenge existing theoretical models and come up with original ideas.

Presentations by the School faculty have spanned a variety of domains, including, among others, the historical (Dr. Jussi Välimaa, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland), the sociological (Dr. Gaële Goastellec, University of Lausanne, Switzerland), and the economic (Dr. Pedro Teixeira, University of Porto, Portugal) frameworks in higher education scholarship. Dr. Simon Marginson (Oxford, the UK), one of IOE’s long-standing partners for the Summer School, has talked about personality development perspectives as applied to higher education. Head of IOE, Dr. Isak Froumin has focused on certain aspects of the systems approach to the studies of higher education, while Dr. Tommaso Agasisti, Associate Professor at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and IOE Partner Expert, has presented about evaluating the feasibility and payoff of investments in the university sector.     

I was excited to come to the Summer School and network with and learn from higher education scholars from around the world. This year's theme was theoretical perspectives, and I could not wait to learn more about how to utilize theory from outside higher education more effectively in my research. 

Ty McNamee 
Doctoral Researcher, Teachers College, Columbia University

After reading about the focus of the summer school and the faculty attending, I developed high expectations that this summer school would be a good one. I am glad to share that my expectations were met, as I was able to learn from and contribute to an international group of young and established scholars. 

Yusuf İkbal Oldaç
PhD Candidate, Oxford University

Marking the onset of IOE’s summer learning & networking season of 2019, the International School on Higher Education Research is only one of the many more academic venues that IOE is happy to offer this year to international students and early-career researchers in various domains of education and allied fields.

Check out more about our International Summer Schools 2019.