HES2023 Poster webThis year's edition of the Higher Education Summit was special: The 3-days online conference was the great result of a fruitful collaboration between the COPERNICUS Alliance and the students from oikos International. More than 100 participants joined the discussions on learner-driven education, which means that not only students, but also teachers and other educational and societal stakeholders learn by closely collaborating – a real Copernican Revolution in Higher Education! Recordings and further materials are available now.

A Copernican Revolution

How can the education system become an effective driving force for a more sustainable future? To address current and future challenges, the present mono-disciplinary educational system needs to change to tackle and navigate the complexity of sustainability challenges. This not only affects both educators and students (and other stakeholders), but also requires their proactive engagement. Preparing for the future entails a paradigm shift towards a more learner-driven education, which means that not only students, but also teachers and other educational and societal stakeholders learn by closely collaborating – a real Copernican Revolution in Higher Education. Putting the mindset of all these learners into the center of education implies adding a new dimension to long established roles and pedagogies, and challenging the current structures in place.

Collectice and collaborative learning

The Higher Education Summit, from 23-25 November 2023, explored how collective and/or collaborative learning spaces can foster and nurture transformative learning and integrate it into higher education. Such a learning environment is expected to increase active transformative learning for all (teachers and collaborating societal actors included), which is why it is also relevant and unavoidable to shed light on current assessment practices in Collaborative Learning Spaces, alternative evaluation methods, learner-driven credit systems, etc. Envisaging a Copernican Revolution for a sustainable future, we raised the question: "How can we foster collective transformative learning and structurally integrate it into higher education to make it future-proof?"

Materials available

The 2023 Higher Education Summit featured multiple formats including keynotes, podium discussions, a case fair and other interactive sessions. Recordings and other materials are available for free on the conference website.

Co-organized online conference

Following the tradition of organizing the Higher Education Summit with partners and members of the COPERNICUS Alliance, this time, we joined forces with oikos International, supported by SOS – Students Organizing for Sustainability International, the Green Office Movement, and the Club of Rome. The audience was composed by students, educators and changemakers in the field of transformative learning for sustainable development within higher education.

oikos Academy

The Higher Education Summit will marked the highlight of a full month of transforming education, which put students at the center, fostering a learner-driven drive in this transformation. The oikos Academy started on 22 October 2023 and involved several onsite events with oikos chapters. This change lab brings together students, professors, university management and additional stakeholders in higher education. The oikos Academy connects local initiatives on higher education with global peers. Students from oikos chapters (Barcelona, Delhi, Graz, Jamshedpur, Kano, St. Andrews) co-create and collaborate, facilitating interactive dialogue with their university management, professors and other stakeholders, fostering regenerative learning, while receiving coaching from LEAP researchers. LEAP is a program within the oikos Leadership Initiative which focuses on supporting personal and professional development of early career researchers – master and PhD students. From June to December 2023 LEAP Researchers participants support oikos Chapters through hosting workshops, coaching and mentoring.

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