Proposals are due to the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) by May 5 at 5 p.m. For more information and to submit your proposal, visit the ASHE website.
The Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) convenes annually as a community of scholars dedicated to the study of higher education. ASHE encourages proposals that advance knowledge and understanding of a wide range of issues pertaining to higher education as a field of study. We welcome proposals from faculty, scholars, administrators, and students who work in higher education, public policy, or a related field; those who work within and across such disciplines as education, public policy, economics, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology; and those in state and federal agencies, philanthropic organizations, higher education associations, and other entities that use research to inform policy and practice.
2017 ANNUAL MEETING THEME: POWER TO THE PEOPLE
By Shaun R. Harper, ASHE President
They are not merely variables, statistics, and participant quotes – they are people. Scholars commonly write about institutions without acknowledging that people comprise postsecondary learning and workplace settings. While higher education policy analysts usually highlight the effects of policies on people, less attention is paid to those who create and enact policy, the power they possess, and the demographic mismatch between them and the people their legislative activities affect. Also not sufficiently considered in the literature are roles people who work in postsecondary education play in the annual production of underprepared college graduates who become power abusers in diverse societies. Myriad explanations are offered for persistent and pervasive inequities between people on college and university campuses; rarely are troubling trends and disparate outcomes attributed to power asymmetries.
In higher education research, power determines whose epistemologies are valued, which methods are legitimized and rewarded, and what counts as evidence. Researchers exercise power by deciding which questions are worthy of study and the best ways to pursue them. Methods often fall short of fully including participants’ expertise on their experiential realities. Many scholars become recognized as experts on particular populations without spending much time in homes, schools, and communities of people about whom they famously write and offer culturally decontextualized claims, practical recommendations, and policy prescriptions. Some theorize about oppression, for example, without engaging meaningfully with oppressed peoples. Consequently, the presumed oppression expert amasses considerably more power than does the person whose everyday circumstances manufacture an overlooked, seemingly less valuable form of expertise.
Through general and presidential sessions, keynote addresses, and a range of other exciting activities, the 2017 ASHE Annual Meeting will principally focus on restoring power to the people on whom our research, scholarly reputations, and career rewards are based. ASHE members are invited to consider the following in paper and symposium proposals:
- Power asymmetries and their effects on people, policies, and postsecondary places.
- Historical origins of powerlessness in higher education and the longstanding relationship between power and exclusion.
- Theoretical and methodological approaches to complicating understandings of power in higher education research.
- Interdisciplinary analyses of power – exploring how power inequities in P-12 schools, communities, governments, economies, criminal justice systems, and other social sectors within and beyond academe affect college opportunity, student success, campus cultures and organizational norms, and the stratification of the postsecondary workforce.
- How powerful institutions and people in them repeatedly accumulate, protect, and reproduce power.
- Ways in which people who have been historically and contemporarily denied access to power epicenters, as well as those abused by powerful institutional actors, resist marginalization and reframe success in higher education.
- The operation, contestation, and distribution of power at colleges and universities in nations beyond the U.S.
- Movements, policies, and practices that demonstrably disrupt power asymmetries among and between people from different backgrounds on campuses.
Topics beyond these that are focused on people and/or power in postsecondary contexts are welcome, so too are important, theoretically and conceptually complex, and methodologically rigorous proposals on a wide array of other subjects that will substantively advance the study of higher education.
Beyond sessions and speeches, a commitment to this theme will be evidenced throughout the 2017 ASHE Annual Meeting. Specifically, we will share what we have learned through our research on college access and success with high school teachers and counselors, families, city government leaders, and students attending Houston public schools and local postsecondary institutions. We will meet people in their communities and schools. Additionally, numerous people representing populations on which our research is based will meaningfully participate with us in several aspects of the conference.