Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Higher Education Research & Development

For a Special Issue on

Educating For Societal Transitions

Manuscript deadline
30 June 2024

Cover image - Higher Education Research & Development

Special Issue Editor(s)

Stephen Marshall, Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand
[email protected]

Giedre Kligyte, Transdisciplinary School, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
[email protected]

Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer, Transdisciplinary School, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) – Adjunct Fellow
[email protected]

Susanne Pratt, Transdisciplinary School, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
[email protected]

Alex Baumber, Transdisciplinary School, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
[email protected]

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Educating For Societal Transitions

This special issue explores innovations in higher education that engage with societal transitions. We welcome scholarly contributions that engage with practices and theories that address the challenges of navigating complexity and change in these uncertain times. This call emphasises that universities cannot work in isolation but must engage collaboratively with other sectors of society. Importantly, it underscores a broader commitment to societal futures that goes beyond economic concerns, challenging the notion that the purpose of university education is to meet industry needs. What are the creative seeds of change emerging in higher education that challenge traditional university boundaries, foster partnerships with external stakeholders, and adopt a longer-term perspective?

This call is positioned within the context of approaching 2025, a decade since adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and five years before their targeted achievement in 2030. There is a growing recognition of the necessity for significant societal transitions and an increasing need to share ways higher education can support transition pathways. These transitions are essential to foster more sustainable and equitable practices across various sectors, including education, energy, food, healthcare, transport, and finance, among others. Higher education plays a vital role in preparing students to actively guide such transitions, developing our collective capacity to respond and collaborate across different backgrounds, contexts, disciplines and professions.

Submissions exploring the following themes are strongly encouraged:

  • Navigating complexity and change:
    How can universities promote knowledge flows and build adaptive capacities for societal transitions characterised by complexity, uncertainty and change?
  • Transdisciplinary curriculum and education:
    What curricula and educational approaches equip university students with the skills to collaborate across disciplines, grapple with complex, interconnected challenges, and contribute meaningfully to societal transitions?
  • Mutual learning and partnerships:
    How can higher education institutions leverage their standing in society to prepare students for future uncertainties whilst offering mutual gains for diverse stakeholders?
  • Social and environmental responsibility:
    How can higher education promote students’ sense of social and environmental responsibility, nurture relationships with human and non-human others, and instil a sense of accountability to past and future generations, including considering unintended consequences?
  • Affect and activism in and beyond the classroom:
    What role can social movements play in preparing students for unpredictable futures, and how can institutions invite diverse voices and concerns while addressing their role in perpetuating the status quo?

Submission Instructions

Contributors are encouraged to submit original research, including theoretical papers, and case studies that provide insights, frameworks, and practical implications relevant to the higher education community. Submissions focusing on education for societal transitions beyond the employability discourse are sought. Papers examining higher education practices that transcend the traditional confines of university boundaries are of particular interest.

  • Papers for the special issue should be submitted in their final polished and complete state for review by the 30th of June 2024.
  • Submission should follow general HERD submission guidelines, available at HERD's Information for Authors.
  • All articles must propose fresh critical insights into the area being addressed and be appropriately framed for an international audience.
  • Word limit of 7,000 words per article, all-inclusive.
  • All authors considered for the special issue will be asked to review one other Special Issue article that aligns with their area of expertise.

Review timeline

Round 1 reviews returned: August 2024

Revisions completed: 15 November 2024

Articles finalised: March 2025

Copy-editing period: April–May 2025

Anticipated publication date: Issue 5 2025

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article