The Higher Education Holiday Bookshelf: Top 5 Picks for Christmas

As the holiday season invites us to slow down and reflect, it’s the perfect opportunity to delve into reads that mirror the evolving landscape of higher education. I’ve curated a collection of this year’s publications that reflect the vibrant, transformative thinking in higher education, handpicked for their profound insights that offer a window into the sector’s ongoing adaptability and impart strategic insights for emerging and seasoned leaders.

These books guide you through the adaptive narratives of higher education as they traverse the complex currents of economic, social, political, and technological change. They provoke thought on the interconnectedness of global education, the culture of campuses, and the interplay of fiscal strategies, learning, leadership, and preparing students for the future. They honour the innovative hybrid learning models transforming our campus communities, blending tradition with boldness, and paving the way for the universities of tomorrow.

  1. Learner-centred Leadership in Higher Education by Kerrie-Lee Krause.

An indispensable resource and treasure trove of insights for our sector. It combines research-enriched frameworks with actionable strategies critical for post-pandemic leadership. Discover how learner-centred leadership can shape your career.

  • Mind of a Nation by Michael Wesley.

A provocative exploration of Australia’s complex relationship with its universities, urging us to contemplate the future role of higher education – its role and value in our changing world. Reflect on Michael’s thought-provoking insights.

  • The New Learning Economy by Martin Betts and Michael Rosemann.

They challenge us to confront and understand the economic dynamics that shape education and the pressing need for innovation and fresh learning methodologies. Explore the economic perspectives that Martin and Michael offer.

  • Higherimagination: A Future for Universities by Ant Bagshaw

Ant delivers a vital and timely dialogue on the future of higher education, suggesting a harmonious blend of the university’s social mission with practical realities to ensure growth and relevance in a rapidly changing educational landscape. Consider the innovative concepts that Ant brings to the table.

  • Rethinking Tertiary Education: building on the work of Peter Noonan edited by Peter Dawkins, Megan Lilly, and Robert Pascoe.

They propose ground-breaking reforms to bridge the gap between vocational and higher education. Examine their educational reform ideas that build upon the groundwork laid by Peter Noonan.

I’d also like to offer a couple of recommended readings:

  • Mapping Australian Higher Education 2023 by Andrew Norton and colleagues. This is an excellent resource (now updated in the sixth edition) for the sector, and I commend Andrew and colleagues for continuing to publish. Access a copy of the publication.
  • First-in-Family Students, University Experience and Family Life by Sarah O’Shea, Josephine May, Cathy Stone, and Janine Delahunty. This publication highlights some challenges for first-in-family learners in a year that has seen the sector improve its equity focus. Gain a deeper understanding of first-in-family student experiences.

I hope these selections spark your curiosity and become a guide for higher education in 2024. Additionally, they enrich your reflections and ignite the anticipation for what we envision as a landmark year for the sector on the back of the Australian Universities Accord.

My warmest holiday wishes to you all.

Mark Young is Director of Liquid Interactive.



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