Here are more details from the conveners:
Abstract: There are many clichés about the turbulence of the past year. At the time of writing (May 2021) it looks as if higher education may be returning to some sort of normality in the coming academic year. But what will that look like, and how will higher education institutions adapt? After a busy year, the role of Ombuds offices in higher education is arguably more vital than ever. During the pandemic, we handled unique challenges and complaints on behalf of students. Universities and students now contemplate the return to study in an environment which may be quite changed from the ‘traditional’ model of academic life which had been in place for generations. Will ‘the student experience’ ever be the same again? Might it even be better, with blended learning being a positive benefit to some students? What is the role of Ombuds offices as we look forward to the post-Covid era?Possible topics: focusing on post-Covid recovery, the following broad topics are likely to be of interest to delegates but proposals on other topics will be welcomed:
- What has changed – for the better, or for the worse?
- Are those changes permanent/long-term/transitory?
- How have students coped/adapted?
- How have staff coped/adapted?
- How have HEI leaders reacted?
- How has Covid impacted the Ombuds in daily practice - and is the human connection still pivotal in a virtual world?
- What hopes and plans are institutions making for ‘the new normal’ in the coming academic years?
- From student focus to systemic change: is the pandemic an opportunity to return to our roots?
- How is your practice impacted by equity/equality diversity and inclusion?Call for papers: We invite contributions from speakers who will each deliver a short and focused talk for a maximum of 10 minutes (suggested maximum of six slides), sharing the virtual platform with two or three other speakers, with time for discussion after the speakers’ presentations. The organisers will place the speakers into cognate or complementary groups, so please ensure that you will be able to attend the full conference as you will be allocated to a session slot nearer the time.