Tag: diversity

Growing criticism towards German university alliances?

Jens Jungblut (University of Oslo)

Jens Jungblut (University of Oslo)

In this post, Hedda associate Jens Jungblut examines current developments with the German university alliances. Jens is working at the University of Oslo where he is writing his doctoral dissertation on the relationship between shifts in governments and changes in higher education policy. 

Institutional differentiation is something rather new to the German university landscape. While classically German universities were, and to a large extend still are, characterized by equality of funding and reputation, different recent activities aimed at creating more diversification in the system. The first and most influential of these activities was the excellence initiative by the federal and Länder governments. In a parallel process several universities formed alliances and associations, following the British example of the Russell-Group, to cooperate in a situation of growing competition for funding and students (see also an earlier article on this issue).

Open letter from a rector criticizing university alliances

Recently the debate around the differentiation of the German university system entered a new round. Ulrich Radtke, the rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen, published an open letter to the German rectors’ conference, in which he criticized the decision of his colleagues to form university alliances.

The University of Duisburg-Essen is the youngest universities in Germany and not a member of any of the German university associations. It is the result of a recent merger of two smaller universities and characterized by a relatively high percentage of students of non-traditional background.

Radtke criticizes several aspects of the newly established university alliances. He starts off by describing the university alliances as co-operations of the old and large universities against the young and smaller ones that try to enhance their position in a higher education system that is characterized by serious under-funding and student overload. For him the German higher education system offers a lot of excellent research environments but they are to be found on the departmental level and spread between many higher education institutions. For him there are maybe three or four universities in Germany that could claim to be overall stronger than the others, the rest are more or less equal.

Hedda podcast: Mapping horizontal diversity of higher education – U-Map project

Episode 38 of our podcast series features Drs. Frans Kaiser and Elisabeth Epping from CHEPS who share their experiences with U-Map, a project mapping horizontal diversity of higher education institutions in Europe and beyond (U-Map website).

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Dr. Frans Kaiser and Elisabeth Epping (CHEPS)

Drs. Frans Kaiser and Elisabeth Epping (CHEPS)

Drs. Frans Kaiser is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in University of Twente in Netherlands. He obtained his degree in public administration from the same institution in 1986, and further worked at the Department of Public Administration. Since 1988 he has worked at CHEPS and became the co-ordinator of the CHEPS International Higher Education Monitor in 1994. His research interests are linked to higher education classifications, use of indicators, comparative methodology and system level issues in higher education.

Elisabeth Epping is  a Junior Research Associate at CHEPS, and holds a Masters Degree cum laude in Public Administration from the University of Twente. At CHEPS she first worked as a project coordinator for the U-Multirank project, and since 2012 has worked as a coordinator of U-Map in the Nordic countries. Her main research interests are linked to classification of higher education, internationalisation and cross-border higher education.

Organisational diversity in higher education with Jeroen Huisman

Prof. Jeroen Huisman

Prof. Jeroen Huisman (University of Bath)

We are pleased to feature another recording from the academic seminar series of  the research group HEIK (Higher Education: Institutional dynamics and Knowledge cultures) at University of Oslo. The seminar was recorded in November 2012 in Oslo.

The presentation by prof. Jeroen Huisman (International Centre for Higher Education Management, University of Bath, United Kingdom) will focus on the state of the art in organisational diversity research in higher education, with a specific focus on frameworks for analysis, measurement issues and consequences for policy and practice.

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European Higher Education System Lacks Autonomy & Diversity

2008 European Business Summit logo.
According to EurActiv.com, Academic and industry leaders at the 2008 European Business Summit agreed that the European higher education system is in need of reform if it is to compete globally to attract the best minds, and reputation. Summit attendee’s agreed that lack of diversification, underfunding, over-regulation and lack of autonomy of university governance structures are all contributing to Europe’s poor ability to compete globally. One of the solutions presented at the Summit was to create sustainable business-academia partnerships. However, before this happens universities would need to be given more autonomy to look for, establish, and manage external funding and partnerships.
“Businesses must get interested in education – from primary education up to life-long learning – whereas schools and universities need to open up to the knowledge and influence of businesses,” said Education Commissioner Ján Figel’, adding that the “classical isolation” of higher education institutions is not the answer to today’s innovation challenges.
Professor Frans van Vught, a board member of the European University Association (EUA), noted that competition between universities for the best minds, funding and reputation is nowadays global and that European universities do not have the financial means to win this competition.