Special feature: Can psychology revolutionise Higher Education?

Articles by Howard Gardner (Higher Education in the era of globalisation), Barry Jones (Alcohol consumption on the campus), Hazel Willis, Margaret Stroebe and Miles Hewstone (Homesick blues), and Rowan Bayne (Love, money and studying: You and your personality type at university).

Our members are a diverse bunch. The one area of common ground is that you have all got a psychology degree, or you are in the process of trying to get one. Maybe your contact with higher education has dwindled to an annual alumni newsletter – maybe you’re still firmly lodged in the ivory tower, the ‘eternal student’ tackling your PhD or the earnest lecturer trying to pass on a bit of your hard-earned knowledge. But how often do you actually stop to think about whether what you have learnt could improve the student experience? After all, understanding psychology and understanding university are both about ‘life’s rich tapestry’: from burning the midnight oil over your textbooks to propping up the bar in the Union, from fleeing to mum and dad at the end of freshers’ week with a big bundle of washing to never wanting to go home again, from inspirational teacher to monotone boffin, from first to fail. Psychology is about understanding all this behaviour. But it should be about more than that: as psychologists we should be using this knowledge to improve the student experience for all. This is just the first part of our special feature, and over its course you will be the judge of whether psychology can revolutionise higher education. In this issue our authors take a look at what learning should involve, and at drinking, homesickness and the effect of knowing your ‘personality type’. We have articles in the pipeline on debt, mental health, the foreign student, assessment, and whether lectures work. But don’t just sit there, write something – we welcome your views on whether research and evidence in your area of psychology can revolutionise higher education. Send contributions of up to 400 words to me on [email protected], or ask about longer contributions.

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