How can learning and teaching help address issues of public trust?

In much of the world, higher education is a self-evident public good or seen as a vital contributor to social and economic growth. But, increasingly, the status and value of higher education is challenged. This is particularly the case in countries with well-established higher education systems that have transitioned to a ‘student pays’ model. For all we might question how far the ‘student as consumer’ ideal is real, the ‘student pays’ model has certainly changed the dynamic and called into question public trust and confidence in higher education more broadly.

Today, in an article for UK-based higher education policy blog WonkHE, I argue that learning and teaching plays a pivotal role in fighting the good fight. If students are indeed consumers, then the quality of the product they consume is a key factor in the overall reputation and status of the sector. The people who understand the needs of students best are those closest to them – educators. By providing support that enables educators to help each other, we can help to improve the health of the sector as a whole.

While research has established networks and online communities, support for educators engaged in learning and teaching is piecemeal and fragmented. Critically, there is a lack of investment into innovation and innovators. That’s why OneHE was created – the bring together the global network of educators who are passionate about learning and teaching to improve the impact and effectiveness of what they do everyday.

How can learning and teaching help address issues of public trust?