EARLI SIG 4 Conference 2018

29-31 August, 2018

Giessen, Germany


Topography of research on higher education: Promoting deep conversations

Following the successful SIG 4 conference in 2014 in Leuven and the “Higher Education Conference” in 2016 in Amsterdam, the 2018 conference in Giessen will focus on deepening and extending collaborations among SIG members and other researchers and administrators in the field of higher education learning and teaching. By using an innovative format, the conference aims at enabling in-depth conversations about research projects, triggering well-founded discourse about research methodologies and theoretical concepts, and starting or deepening collaborations among conference participants.

Europe has a strong higher education research tradition. However, along with the changes in teaching and learning in higher education, the "landscape" of the research on higher education is also changing. Some of the current challenges in the research field may be the following; this is, however, not an exhaustive list of topics relevant to the conference:

● Aims of teaching and learning in Higher Education: What skills are expected of higher education graduates? How to align teachers’ and institutional aims with students’ goals?

● Empirical research: How can we assess the landscape of research on higher education? What aspects of higher education are missed by applying existing research methods?

● Digitization of higher education teaching and learning: How does web-based learning facilitate or impede learning? How will digital teaching change the topography of higher education?

● Teacher characteristics and training: How can teacher training contribute to their development of professional abilities, attitudes and?

● Quality management and development: How can we make use of research on higher education institutions? What can we learn from research on higher education in other national systems?


Researchers of all disciplines and specializations are invited to contribute to the conference.

Through this conference, we strive to map out the topography of research on changing landscape of higher education by building on existing knowledge as well as by identifying unexplored areas and new methodologies.


We are proud to present the keynote speakers:


Prof. Dr. Sari Lindblom, University of Helsinki, Finland:
"Factors explaining study progress and success in Bachelor and Master programmes"

Sari Lindblom is professor of higher education, director of the Centre for University Teaching and Learning and current vice-rector of the University of Helsinki.


Prof. Dr. Ada Pellert, University of Hagen, Germany:
"Higher education management: between theory and practice"

Ada Pellert is professor of continuing education, served as president and vice-president for several universities and is current rector of the Fernuniversität Hagen (University of Hagen).


Prof. Dr. Jan Hense, University of Gießen, Germany:
"Flat earth or round globe: How topographies shape our understanding of Higher Education Research"

Jan Hense is professor of higher education and evaluation and chairman of DeGEval/evaluation society.


Conference Formats

The conference will include the following conference formats, all of which are designed to trigger deep conversations about participants. 


Paper presentations: Paper sessions are oral presentations of three to four papers (which may be included in a symposium), followed by a discussion with the audience. Each presenter is given 15 to 20 minutes to present a clear argument, preferably based on empirical data. Paper presentations may be organized in symposia.


Symposia: Symposia present research on one topic or theme, providing a coherent set of papers for discussion. Symposia sessions consist of three to four oral paper presentations and a discussant. Symposia are directed by a chairperson and in each symposium the participants should come from at least two different countries. Please note that every participant must register individually.


Collaborative space: The 1.5-hour “collaborative space” is a room in which a maximum of ten participants discuss their ongoing or future research projects with the goal of establishing or deepening research collaborations. The session organizers are asked to present their project ideas to (parts of) the audience, and to develop collaborative projects in small-group discussions. The submission for a collaborative space should include the main content area for which collaboration shall be established or deepened. Please explain briefly why this area is new and worthwhile. Also, add possible research questions that can be addressed by the collaborators as well as the (probable) kind and planned outcomes of the collaboration. Only if you know in advance, you may add prospective participants of your collaborative space session; this is, however, not necessary for the submission.


Guided Poster presentations: Poster sessions involve a number of posters, which visually present current research. Each presenter is given three minutes for a short oral presentation to the audience, followed by an in-depth discussion with the audience. Each poster should be fixed to a (soft) presentation board for a maximum size of format A0 (84 x 119 cm; push pins will be provided).


Submission Process

Please submit your summary (200-500 words for each contribution) via the conference system at https://conference.earli.org/

Log in with your existing EARLI credentials, and click the green "new submission" button in your EARLI user dashboard. Select the SIG 04 Conference, and the submission type you wish to submit. All submitters and presenters will need an active EARLI account. Should you not have an EARLI account yet, you can easily create one (free of charge) at https://conference.earli.org/create-account

Please note: All submissions should be done completely anonymously, to ensure a fair review process. Please do not include your name in your submission.


Conference Fee


Early bird (registration until 31 May, 2018)

JURE member: 250 Euro

EARLI member: 300 Euro

Non-member: 350 Euro


Regular (registration after 31 May, 2018)

JURE member: 300 Euro

EARLI member: 350 Euro

Non-member: 400 Euro


Registration Process

Registration for this conference will be open on 3rd May, 2018. Please register, using your credentials, via the conference system at https://conference.earli.org/


Dates and Location


Conference Date

29 to 31 August, 2018


Conference Venue

Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany
Main Building and Registration: Bismarckstr. 37, D-35390 Giessen

Time Schedule

27 January, 2018: Submission deadline

30 April, 2018: Notification of acceptance

3 May, 2018: Start of registration (early bird)

31 May, 2018: Early bird registration deadline

10 August, 2018: Final deadline for registration

29 to 31 August, 2018: Conference



Travel and Hotel Recommendations


Here you find some Travel Information about how to get to Giessen...


By Airplane

We recommend flying directly to Frankfurt Rhein/Main Airport (FRA) and not to Frankfurt Hahn Airport. Having arrived at Frankfurt/Main Airport (FRA), take a train to Frankfurt Central Station (Hauptbahnhof). You can chose between local S-Bahn or regional trains (RE) or fast InterCity (IC) and ICE trains. Trains leave every 15 min from Airport Terminal 1. From Frankfurt Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) take train to Giessen, they leave at least every hour.

If you fly to Frankfurt Hahn Airport (which is actually located in the Hunsrück Mountains, about 150 kilometers away from Frankfurt/Main), take the Airport Bus to Frankfurt/Main Hauptbahnhof (main train station - takes about 1 hour and 45 min.). Trains from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Giessen leave every hour.


By Train

Giessen is well connected to Europe’s rail network. All European train connections to and from Giessen can be found in many languages on www.bahn.de.


By Bus

Giessen is connected through the main long-distance bus system. Please find all connections and make reservations in in many languages on www.flixbus.de.


By Car

Giessen is well connected to Germany’s/Europe’s Autobahn/Motorway system. Google Maps or other map systems enable you to find the fastest route to Giessen.



This is our recommendation for Getting Around in Giessen:


By Bike

Being a lovely small city, Giessen can be best explored by bike. If you are interested in renting a bike, we recommend using Nextbike. Main bike stations you would use are THM E10/Bismarckstraße and Bahnhof Giessen/Alte Post. You can access this system on www.nextbike.de/en/giessen/


By Bus

The public transportation system within (and beyond) Giessen can be accessed at www.rmv.de/auskunft/bin/jp/query.exe/en



These are the Hotels that we recommend for SIG4 conference participants. Please refer to the "EARLI SIG4 Conference" when making your reservations.


Hotel Alt Gießen: offer valid until 2 July

Address: Westanlage 30-32, 35390 GIESSEN, GERMANY
Phone: +49 641 39978200
Email: rezeption@hotel-alt-giessen.de
Description: different room categories, prices between 69 and 88 Euro per night; distance to Gießen station 800 m


Best Western Plus Hotel Steinsgarten: offer valid until 27 July

Address: Heinrich-Heckroth-Straße 20, 35390 GIESSEN, GERMANY
Phone: +49 641 38990
Email: info@hotel-steinsgarten.de

Description: 99 Euro single room per night, breakfast included; distance to Gießen station about 2 km, close to conference venue


AKZENT Hotel Köhler: offer valid until 27 July

Address: Westanlage 33-35, 35390 GIESSEN, GERMANY
Phone: +49 641 979990
Email: info@hotel-koehler.de

Description: 80 Euro for single room per night, breakfast included (98 Euro double/night); distance to Gießen station 800 m


Hotel am Ludwigsplatz: offer valid until 1 July

Address: Ludwigsplatz 8, 35390 GIESSEN,GERMANY
Phone: +49 641 931130
Email: info@hotel-am-ludwigsplatz.de

Description: 86 Euro for single room per night, breakfast included (109 Euro double/night); distance to Gießen station about 1,7 km, close to conference venue