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In this keynote we wish to remind all of us about the history associated with this conference, in a way that informs future decisions. Lots of things have happened in higher education during the last couple of decades. The tremendous change that has taken place in the overall perception of teaching as an intriguing and challenging practice and the focus on student learning, owes a lot to a few individuals who shared a passion for improved student learning.
Now being at Lund University, 20 years into the ISL-Saga we want to take the opportunity of reflecting on this development by considering us being at a metaphorical bus-stop between the past and the future. Buses come from somewhere and depart to different, sometimes unknown places. In the turmoil of events it is easy to get confused about which bus to get on. We will illustrate that some destinations are already visible. New directions, shining buses fresh from the factory, might be attractive areas to explore. Other buses, perhaps rusty and worn down are indeed in the need for maintenance and loving care. They represent dreams and strategies of the past in need perhaps for renewed perspectives or interpretations.
Some new buses are informed by socio cultural perspectives or organisational theory; they integrate leadership with academic freedom and disciplinary identities. Some of the old clanky squeaky ones deal with student evaluations, pedagogical courses, and teaching portfolios and reward systems. These buses are clearly in the need of more research and renewed efforts. As is the entire bus-fleet. To improve teaching through research, to create arenas where research into student learning interacts with experiences from teaching practices is as much needed as ever before. Teaching as a means to improve student learning and to support personal development is a practice in constant need of new insights. The process of observation leading to discoveries that through integration and understanding informs the application in improved teaching is endless, but always dependent on inspiration and passion through reflection and critical conversation. This conference is and has been a constant source of inspiration for the university where we are right now, as for any university anywhere. And it is our hope that it will continuously be so.