On the move towards research-led universities – Meeting of the HERANA project discusses institutional change in African flagship universities

This guest entry is written by Jens Jungblut and summarises some of the key activities at a recent HERANA workshop in Cape Town. Jens is currently a post-doctoral researcher at INCHER, University of Kassel. 

From November 20 until November 24 the Center for Higher Education Trust (CHET) organized a workshop in the context of the HERANA research project in Cape Town. During this meeting representatives of seven flagship universities from different Sub-Saharan African countries discussed together with a group of international experts the institutional developments of the different universities on their road to becoming research-led universities.

HERANA workshop participants

HERANA workshop participants

The workshop started out with a presentation of the activities of CHET by its director Nico Cloete, which was followed by a short lecture from Peter Maassen, professor of higher education at the Department of Education at the University of Oslo, who presented findings from a research project that investigated the characteristics of research flagship universities in Europe highlighting commonalities but also differences between several successful institutions. Afterwards, Åse Gornitzka, professor of political science at the University of Oslo, discussed organizational change processes in higher education with an emphasis on explanations from organizational theories why change processes can be slow, unpredictable and sometimes even fail. Professor Leo Goedegebuure, director at the LH Martin Institute in Melbourne, presented to the participants recent developments in higher education in South-East Asia and offered some conclusions on institutional factors that allowed some universities in Asia to strengthen their research function and catch up with global developments. His presentation was followed by a reflection from Fred Hayward on his work during the last years for USAID supporting the reform of higher education in Afghanistan in which he also highlighted some common challenges between Africa and Afghanistan. (more…)




Conference review: Higher Education as a Critical Institution – the CHER 2016 Conference

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Miguel Antonio Lim  (University of Manchester)

Now that next year abstract deadlines are coming up, it is just about time for reflections of what the conference season had to offer in 2016. 

This guest entry is written by Miguel Antonio Lim. He is Lecturer in Education and International Development at the University of Manchester. His research interests include the sociology of evaluation, international higher education, and professional expertise. He has worked on research projects around global university rankings and audit culture in higher education. Miguel has previously been EU-Marie Curie Fellow at Aarhus University and Executive Director of the Global Public Policy Network Secretariat. He has worked for the Asia Pacific Center at Sciences Po-Paris and taught at the London School of Economics.

The 29th Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER) conference took place on the 5th-7th September at Cambridge University around the theme: ‘The University as a Critical Institution?’ While CHER is among the most popular and important research-oriented conferences in the field of higher education, the organizers noted an increased participation at the 2016 conference to almost 200 delegates.

CHER 2016 was marked by the strong presence of higher education researchers from around the world. There was a babble of languages spoken throughout the coffee breaks. Colleagues working in the UK, Russia, China, the USA, Germany, Italy, and the Nordic countries, among others, presented work about their various regions.

Apart from the geographical breadth of the conference, CHER 2016 also showcased a wide variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches towards the study of higher education. These were particularly apparent in the sessions of the conference in which Sue Wright, an anthropologist, and Vicky Boliver, a social policy scholar (using statistical methods) delivered their keynotes. (more…)




List of conferences relevant for higher education in 2017

2017 coming up – what are your conference plans for the coming year? Calls for papers have been distributed and dates are confirmed. So time to start planning which conferences to attend in 2017. To make this easier for you, we are now compiling a list of relevant conferences for the fourth year now!

Remember, always double check with the conference websites for the dates or changes in deadlines, extensions and so forth. We still hope this can be a useful resource to plan your calendar for next year.

ECPR 2016 - Europe of Knowledge section

ECPR 2016 – Europe of Knowledge section

We have listed the conferences first as specific higher education conferences and then other disciplinary conferences that would likely be relevant for higher education researchers. The conferences are listed alphabetically in their respective sections. Where we have such reviews, we have also added a link to Hedda reviews from these conferences, to give some insight for how these conferences are like – just to make your selection process a little easier!

Again, if you have some to add – leave a comment and we add it to the list!

(Bi)Annual conferences (more…)




National systems for student fees and support systems in Europe – Eurydice report

eurydicereportEurydice has published a report that looks into student fees and support systems across Europe for 2016/2017 study year. The report provides an overview of key developments in Europe in this area, as well as more detailed national case studies.

Tuition fees and student support are a national issue, but under EU legislation, countries must accept other EU national on same terms as own nationals. However, behind this main logic the content of student fees and student support includes a multitude of practices. Furthermore, the report highlights that there is a significant difference in the amount of public funding provided (see also EUAs Public Funding Observatory for more information).

The data shows that there are four countries with no fees for students, and twelve countries that have universal fees. The report also analyses the relationship between fees and support, arguing that relationship to be crucial in understanding the reality students are facing. Countries are divided into four specific types, distinguishing between high and low (or no) share of fee paying students in the system, and high and low share of those getting grants.  (more…)




Podcast: Academic developers and quality management with Ester Fremstad and Tone Solbrekke

excid_logoWe are pleased to share with you some of the recordings that were made during a seminar that was arranged on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Oslo.

The presentations are made by members of the ExCID research group that focuses on studies of higher education and work, with particular emphasis on expert cultures and institutional dynamics.

The seminar recordings were made on 27th of September 2016.

In this presetation, Dr. Ester Fremstad and Prof. Tone Solbrekke present their ongoing study on academic development: Academic developers and quality management: perspectives from institutional leaders

Listen without the Flashplayer

View the powerpoint presentation for this seminar.

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View also the presentation by Peter Maassen on quality management in higher education. Stay tuned for even more content from the seminar!