Free access to “Arts and Humanities in Higher Education”, for one week…

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 21.53.12Free access for 10 days to Arts and Humanities in Higher Education: an international journal of theory, research and practice to download all articles in the issue, including “Making an impact: New directions for arts and humanities research” by HEPRU’s Ellen Hazelkorn. Also features articles by HERAVALUE colleagues Paul BenneworthMagnus Gulbrandsen, and Siri Aanstad.

Follow the journal on Twitter here: @AHHEresearch.


Student Fees in Ireland, 1996 – 2015 (expected)

This is just a quick graph I put together for a report, showing the increase in what has variously been known as the student contribution charge, or registration fee, since the introduction of “free” public higher education in Ireland. Data comes from a mixture of Eurostat, Department of Education and Skills, and Higher Education Authority sources (these will be linked to in due course). The fee of €3000 is expected for 2015-2016. Pre-2002 values directly converted from punts into euro, and all values are current/nominal prices.

Student Fees, 1995-2015

Student Fees, 1996-2015

Governance and Innovative Higher Education – Report

GAIHE report coverHigher education around the world is undergoing significant change. Globalisation and competition from new modes of provision have sparked a strong debate about how to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of higher education. These developments challenge the “traditional” model of university education and its future. How does the management of European universities adapt to these innovations? What are the new modes of education provision across Europe? What is the role of university governance and government policy in establishing and regulating innovative modes of education provision? What are the motivations, barriers and drivers for innovative education provision?

This report written by the HEPRU research team of Andrew Gibson, Barry Colfer, and Ellen Hazelkorn, provides initial findings and observations based on the 47 responses to the “Survey on the Governance and Adaptation to Innovative Modes of Higher Education Provision”. The survey was circulated on April 2014 to European higher education institutions (HEIs) based in 9 countries.

The full text of this report is available from DIT’s Arrow repository at this link.

In discussing desired changes in terms of governance and organizational structures, respondents from different countries pleaded an inability to introduce such changes due to the government’s role in defining what can or cannot be done in HEIs. It may very well be that there are real barriers to innovation existing at the governmental level; however, it may also be the perception by HEIs of such barriers which have become inhibitors of innovation. One way of clarifying this is via the idea of governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC). In the governance of higher education, especially public higher education, there may be more of an orientation towards compliance, ”acting in accordance with established laws, regulations, protocols, standards, and specifications.” Risk here is understood in the broader sense of being outside of these set norms, and as such includes opportunities as innovation affords. Implementing innovation by definition requires an attitude aligned more with a risk mind-set, rather than one that focuses on compliance and following a set path. This is as true in higher education governance as it is in corporate and private-sector governance.

It could be argued, based on the findings, that HEIs made easy cosmetic changes, e.g. redrafting mission statements, greater emphasis on quality assurance, and redefinition of the role of different staff members. There seems to be relatively little evidence of structural change becoming manifest. Further evidence for this is found in the fact that many of the changes were made at the module level, rather than at the programmatic or institutional level. As such, changes could be described as “low-hanging fruit”, and that further “real” innovations beyond this level would require significantly greater level of leadership, coordination and implementation.

Rankings in Institutional Strategies and Processes project report launched.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 14.24.30The RISP report was launched in Brussels at the European Universities Association on Thursday 6th November, 2014. From the University World News article by Ellen Hazelkorn: “Rankings in Institutional Strategies and Processes, RISP, is the first pan-European study of the impact and influence of rankings on European higher education. Co-funded by the European Commission and led by the European University Association, the project provides an insight into how rankings impact and influence European universities’ behaviour and decision-making.”

The full text of the report is available for download now from Dublin Institute of Technology’s Arrow repository now at this link.

Global University Rankings and national sovereignty

From HEPRU’s Prof. Ellen Hazelkorn on rankings and how they cannot capture the full complexity of higher education:

There are about 18,000 university-level institutions, according to the International Association of Universities. For Ireland, being in the top 500-600 represents the top 3 per cent of all universities worldwide. If we believed in rankings this is something of which we should be immensely proud.

It has been estimated that the annual budget of a top-100 university is about €1.7 billion. This is would consume almost all the annual budget for Irish higher education, which is about €2 billion. To pursue a national strategy based on rankings would require diverting the entire budget to a single university on an ongoing basis – because one injection of funding would not be sufficient.

But money isn’t the only issue at stake. It’s not evident that the indicators used by rankings measure what is meaningful. Thus, to shape our national higher education policy and priorities according to indicators chosen by (commercial) ranking organisations would constitute the abandonment of national sovereignty. Why should we do this?

Full article on the Irish Times website: “Devil is in the detail of global university rankings.”