Tag: performance

Hedda podcast: Performance agreements in higher education with dr Ben Jongbloed

Dr. Ben Jongbloed  (CHEPS)

Dr. Ben Jongbloed
(CHEPS)

Episode 48 of our podcast series features Dr. Ben Jongbloed (CHEPS, University of Twente). In the podcast, he discusses performance agreements in higher education. He gives the basic characteristics of performance agreements as a funding mechanism with respect to the main results from a recently completed CHEPS report for the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. He reflects on the Dutch experiences with performance agreements, some of the impacts this far. He also shares his views on critical success factors for creating a well functioning performance agreement system.

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You can download the CHEPS report “Performance-based funding and Performance Agreements in fourteen Higher Education Systems” here.

Dr. Ben Jongbloed is a senior research associate at CHEPS. He studied econometrics at the University of Groningen and completed a PhD at the University of Twente (on the modelling of government expenditure in a macro-econometric framework).

His main research interests are in the area of governance and resource allocation issues in higher education. He has also been involved in a number of European Commission projects, with focus on reforms in higher education, public-private partnerships, and the building of a classification of European higher education institutions (U-Map). For the European Commission he is currently working on the implementation of a multi-dimensional ranking of universities worldwide (U-Multirank) and on policies aimed at improving student completion in higher education.




Guest blogger: From performance to conformance: The ‘coercive’ effect of performance-based governance systems

Dr. Peter Woelert

Dr. Peter Woelert

Dr Peter Woelert is a Research Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. He has training in sociology and philosophy. His research interests include current trends in university and research policy & governance, organizational change within universities, and organizational forms of university autonomy. 

Over recent decades, many governments have sought to comprehensively reform the system-level policy and governance arrangements for their public universities. One central element of this reform has been the strengthening of performance-based funding mechanisms, with a growing proportion of public funds being distributed to universities according to the results (or ‘outputs’) achieved by them.

A striking case in point for this trend is the Australian higher education system. Since the late 1980s, various Australian governments have developed a funding system for their universities that places paramount emphasis on the performance-based allocation of funds. Most far-reaching have been the changes to the funding of university-based research activities.

In Australia, all recurrent governmental research funding – as compared to the competitive research grant funding awarded by the two Australian research councils – is allocated to universities on the basis of an indicator-based funding formula. The key performance indicators in this regard are the number of publications, external research income, and the number of students completing research degrees such as a doctorate, and which are applied equally to all Australian universities. While indicator-based public research funds only form a relatively small proportion of the annual income of Australian universities (in between 5-10%), they are taken extremely seriously at the university level, and have had a lasting impact on institutional governance systems.

Most notably in this regard is that within the Australian university system, the reshaping of system-level funding arrangements has triggered a vertical adaptation process as a result of which various organizational levels of the university almost identically replicate the performance criteria that are applied to it from above.

This begins with the executive center of the university, which usually applies the same or nearly the same performance criteria across the university’s organizational divisions that the Australian government uses for the performance-based allocation of research funds across the entire university sector.




Norway: expert group suggesting the introduction of contracts

norwayflagIn April 2014, the Norwegian ministry of education set up a new expert group to examine the funding system in Norwegian higher education. At the time, we also interviewed professor Bjørn Stensaker who is a member of this expert group, and he highlighted that “one of the main aims of the Commission is to look into how quality within the sector can be fostered through the funding system.

The mandate of the expert group was to:

  • stimulate devlopment of quality in education and research
  • contribute to a diversified sector (division of labour and profiles)
  • contribute to cooperation with society and industry
  • provide strategic room to maneuver for the institutions while making them accountable for results
  •  contribute to cost-effective resource use
  • provide stability and predictability for the institutions
  • create incentives for competition in European arenas and strenghten international coperation

On January 7th, the commission delivered the report to the ministry, with a set of recommendations rgarding the funding system. The report gave an evaluation of the current funding system, as well as a set of recommendations for the future.

The report highlights that in principle, the system is of appropriate size, as there is low unemployment rates amongst the graduates, and the match between graduate profiles and labour market needs is in general rather good, with some exceptions. One problem where there has not been significant improvements in the last ten years is system efficiency, and the report highlights persistent dropout rates as an indication of this. Regarding research, there has been considerable increases in output – both in terms of publications and in terms of completed PhD degrees. The sector has become more international, both in terms of education and research. A key concern highlighted in the report is the fragmentation of the system with many small environments, while institutions have become more alike, and the report argues that this can be linked to the framework conditions and funding system that creates similar incentives for all institutions. 




Hedda podcast: Changes in academic work in Europe and the US with Dr. Ludvika Leisyte

Episode 35 of our podcast series features Dr Ludvika Leisyte who reflects on changes in academic work in Europe and the US, highlighting also important changes on how higher education is organised and the types of challenges it faces.


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Dr. Ludvika Leisyte (CHEPS)

Ludvika Leisyte is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in University of Twente in Netherlands. She obtained her PhD from the University of Twente in 2007, with focus on university governance and academic research. After that, she obtained a post-doctoral fellowship at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University.

Her research is mainly focused on research governance and management, internationalization and Europeanisation of higher education, and academic identities and practices. Liudvika has published two monographs, a number of chapters in edited books and peer-reviewed articles in Higher Education, Higher Education Policy, Public Administration, Science and Public Policy.

 




Neglected higher education in California “trending downward”?

A new report published by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy (IHELP) at Sacramento State University in Sacramento suggests that the higher education system in California is in decline. The report, titled “The Consequences of Neglect“, argues that some of the main factors leading to this decline in performance can be found in the lack of sufficient funding and lack of efficient state level coordination and planning.

California is one of the top regions in the world that is highly esteemed for its higher education system. However, the report shows some chilling trends and suggests that in the future, relying on reputation will not be enough, as the overall performance of the system is increasingly weakened.

Within the study, the performance of the Californian system for higher education was evaluated in six areas – preparation, affordability, participation, completion, benefits and finance. In four of these areas the report indicated an average performance, whereas within the area of participation California showed results better than most states. However, the report also indicated that it is likely the data that formed the basis for this judgement might be outdated and not take into account the recent developments linked to the economic crisis.