Higher Education Research and Policy

This was my professional field for the greater part of my academic career, and a continuing interest. A list of publications is given with my personal and professional background. Some papers to illustrate my work will be posted later together with a short piece or two related to current developments. For a recent paper see Management Implications of the Internaction between Extrinsic Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation. See Psychological Research.
A development which I opposed as a member of the Council of the University of Melbourne was the State Government's reconstitution of the governing bodies of the universities in such a way as to remove those members elected by the graduates. There is a background note and letter I wrote to the Chancellor on this subject.

One paper from the early stages of a longitudinal study of women's career development is now posted. More will be added in the future.

There is a review of research on higher education in Australia to 1986 which I prepared for the Australian Academy of Social Sciences trend report on educational research. It will provide a fairly comprehensive introduction to the field by way of background to that time. It includes an extensive bibliography and references to much of my own research. An abstract of the paper follows:

A general review is presented of Australian research in higher education over the past twenty years or so. Note is taken of the institutional and social circumstances in which the study of the field developed, the principal sources, some major findings and points at issue in current debate. Topics covered include participation, especially issues of purpose and equity, individual and group differences, retention in senior secondary school and related factors in transition, participation of women in higher education, the downturn of participation in the seventies and recent recovery, economics and student finances, and selective admissions. Studies of professional education are reviewed with reference to teacher education, medicine, architecture, and engineering and some important recent studies of curriculum and the learning process are reported. Major studies of the restructuring of higher education are covered briefly. Some observations are made on the relationship between policy related research and the policy process. The present stage of development of the field is seen as one at which scholars are beginning to move from problem oriented interdisciplinary application of basic social science disciplines towards the cumulative development of knowledge.

My current work in the Centre for Applied Educational Research at the University of Melbourne is concerned with the basic pyschology of intrinsic motivation and its applications in education, management and other professions, for which see Psychological Research on this site.

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Last Updated 14 January 2003 by David Beswick