Professor Gábor Király, Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Education and Dr Zsuzsanna Géring will be visiting the University of Nottingham 22-25 May 2023 to strengthen the collaboration between the School of Education's Centre for International Education Research (CIER) and the Future of Higher Education Research Centre (FHERC) at the Budapest Business School (BBS).
Here we introduce Gábor and Zsuzsa ahead of their visit.
Hi Gábor and Zsuzsa!
Could you introduce yourselves please?
Zsuzsanna: I’m a senior research fellow and the Director of Future of Higher Education Research Centre (FHERC) at Budapest Business School. My main research areas are corporate social responsibility, organisational communication, the future of business higher education and responsibilities of higher education institutions.
Gábor: I’m a professor at Budapest Business School and Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham School of Education. I’m also currently Dean of BBS Faculty of Finance and Accountancy and the Scientific Director of FHERC. My research areas include the future of higher education and the application of participatory processes in educational contexts.
Zsuzsanna and Gábor: Alongside the research centre, we have two other joint ‘projects’. They are called Dóra and Marcell and they are hopefully visiting Nottingham with us. They are life-long projects, as we are not only partners in research, but partners in real life too. We also have a black cat, but she will stay in Budapest guarding our flat.
What are the most recent projects you have been working on?
Gábor: We are currently at the end of a five-year-long research project covering the future of business education. As part of this project, we investigated what social roles highly ranked business schools attribute to themselves and what kind of future they envision in their communication. Furthermore, we explored the most influential trends and biggest challenges facing the HE sector and its institutions, which we channelled into a scenario-building process. As a result, we published our scenario report in 2022, which outlines four possible futures for higher education. Based on this, we are now running scenario workshops and getting feedback from different stakeholder groups within the university. These stakeholders can be leaders, lecturers, researchers of education and students. This approach gives us a more detailed picture of how these groups relate to the future not only on a cognitive but also on an affective level.
Zsuzsanna: We have also won a new four-year grant from the Hungarian Research Fund. The main topic is agency in HE, which was one of the most interesting themes that emerged from the previous research project. The aim of this new research is to map out how different actors in the field of higher education portray their social roles, and through that, their sense of agency – from an individual to a global level. In order to do that, we will analyse vision/mission statements of both international and Hungarian higher education institutions and collect data about action learning processes with HE lecturers and students. That will reveal how individuals’ sense of agency might change in a participatory context. It is important to us that the research outputs of both projects can be put to practical use in organisational development and organisational learning.
What aspects of your work is most relevant to colleagues at the School of Education and CIER?
Zsuzsanna: In our opinion, two areas could be relevant to colleagues. The first is textual analysis which boasts several advantages: it can be used in comparative studies and researchers can amass a large volume of up-to-date international data when building up the corpus of texts for analysis. This is quite unique. A wide variety of methods is available: quantitative content analysis, computer-based text analysis or qualitative discourse analysis.
Gábor: Applications of participatory research can be also interesting to those who are open to that strand of methodology. Implementing participatory methods in an educational context, for example, an action learning cycle with students, might be interesting in itself, but could also lead to comparative research, which is quite rare in this field.
You work with a large group of colleagues through FHERC from and beyond Hungary. How do you hope to develop this network?
Zsuzsanna: We plan to utilise the internationalisation strategy of our institution which allows us to invite visiting scholars and professors for a short duration. This can help us develop research ideas, and in turn, publications together. The European university initiative in which our institution is involved also grants us possibilities to build connections with both Central Eastern and Western European partners. But for the time being, finding common fields of interest with the burgeoning higher education research group at the School of Education would also be a promising start.
You will have an action packed week in Nottingham! For instance, on 24 May you will run a research methods workshop on web based research techniques. What can University of Nottingham colleagues - PGR students and staff - expect to learn?
Zsuzsanna: This workshop focuses on the peculiarities of web-based text analysis, such as the decisions the researchers have to make when they collect online texts, and the advantages and pitfalls of this type of data. Furthermore, we will show a few examples of different procedures to analyse a large corpus of text. We would like to illustrate how the combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches helps to get the ‘best of both worlds’.
University staff and students can signup for this in-person workshop
At a CIER seminar on 25 May you will talk about recent Journal of Futures Studies and Higher Education papers. Could you provide a teaser on the key points?
Gábor: The key point of these articles is how institutions use the term ‘future’ as a communication tool in terms of constructing legitimacy on the one hand, and agency (theirs and their students’ as well) on the other. These two topics are of course interrelated, as are the two papers themselves. As we argue, legitimacy is a key organisational question since higher education institutions are struggling to prove their social function in globalised late modernity. In relation to this social function, agency towards the future (again, both that of universities and their students) can be one of the ways they attempt to build legitimacy in the eyes of the public. The papers examine these issues using mixed methodological discourse analysis of external communication materials of highly ranked business schools.
Please register if you wish to attend this seminar (all welcome)
Do you have plans to explore Nottingham during your visit?
Gábor: Unfortunately, Zsuzsanna broke a bone in her right foot a few weeks ago so we cannot take big walks around the city, but we plan to visit the most important sites in the city centre.
Zsuzsanna: Nevertheless, as researchers, we also enjoy just to ‘feel’ and observe the rhythm of the city by sitting in a cafe, visiting a bookshop or just hanging around on campus. Hopefully we’ll also have time for that.
Posted on Thursday 18th May 2023