Students at the Heart of Higher Education: An Introduction

Yusuf Ikbal OLDAC*, Lili YANG, Soyoung LEE

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsForeword / Postscript

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter introduces the main argument of this edited volume, which is to position students at the heart of higher education. The chapter highlights the concepts of agency and self-formation to do so. The chapter includes a historical overview of higher learning, starting from the medieval university, which constitutes the roots of higher education today. The historical overview highlights that students in higher learning have never been as narrowly defined as they tend to be in the last decades. The narrow definitions of the last decades include reducing students to consumers, income maximizers, or passive information receivers. The chapter also includes an overview of the relevant literature. The review of research on student experiences discusses how agency and self-formation are implied in the extensive theories and concepts of student development in higher education. Then, the emerging line of literature that engages with the agency and self-formation concepts more explicitly is introduced. The chapter concludes by introducing the chapters in the edited volume, which include diverse perspectives on agency and self-formation in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudent Agency and Self-Formation in Higher Education
EditorsYusuf Ikbal OLDAC, Lili YANG, Soyoung LEE
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783031448850
ISBN (Print)9783031448843
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Global Higher Education
VolumePart F1814
ISSN (Print)2662-4214
ISSN (Electronic)2662-4222

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Agency
  • Self-formation
  • History of higher education
  • Student experiences
  • Student development


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