From a rebel to consumer and now a digital user: the changing role of students in British university governance

15th April 2021 : 14:00 - 15:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Rille Raaper, Durham University; Janja Komljenovic, Lancaster University

Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Audience: Public

In this talk, we will focus on the changing role of students in British higher education governance. We will review three societal periods: the welfare state, the market society and the digital economy. Within the past three decades, the student has shifted from a partner with significant involvement in governing universities, to a consumer whose influence reflects in self-interest enacted via choice and consumer rights.

Our main argument is that the governing role of students is fundamentally tied to the role of the university in the society and prevailing economic order, and it is therefore changing yet again in the new phase of digital economy. We propose an approach to examine the student role in HE governance in the new digital economy as ‘governing with data’ and ‘governing of data’. In the first case, students are approached as digital users and data producers to inform university practices. In the second, they are made liable to various user agreements but have no actual influence on decision-making. We will discuss the direction of travel for the new student stakeholder as digital user in the contemporary digitalised university.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).