19 Dec 2006
The Strategic Purposes and Significant Effects of Quality Assurance in German Higher Education
This paper attempts to explain how the German higher education system strategically used quality assurance, through the new system of accreditation, to offer globally recognisable degrees such as the Bachelor's (Bakkalaureaus) and Master's (Magister) degrees. We also discuss the types of effects that this strategy has produced on the current structure of the German higher education system. In order to strengthen this discussion, the fundamental impacts of quality-related funding on the system's structure are scrutinised.
19 Dec 2006
In this paper the authors describe the outline of an analysis of disruptive technologies presented by Christensen in his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. They go on to argue that the analysis can be applied to the practice of e-learning as it has been developed in higher education in the United Kingdom, and possibly elsewhere. They suggest that current moves away from fully developed e-learning and towards "blended learning" can be understood in terms of Christensen’s analysis, and that the move may be an indication that large, established organisations have difficulty in adjusting to disruptive technologies. They conclude that much research needs to be done in the area of e-learning, especially small scale studies of how e-learning can be used away from the established culture of formal education. This is an approach to market research that is also contained in Christensen’s analysis. In summary, they argue that Christensen’s analysis offers some important insights into the process of adopting e-learning solutions in higher education, and also suggests some fruitful directions for future research.
19 Dec 2006
British and German Education Students in a Shifting Scenario
An empirical study was undertaken of students in the United Kingdom and Germany in order to investigate whether their attitudes were moving away from traditional patterns towards those that might be expected in more marketised higher education systems. The British students were found to be more instrumental and materialistic in relation to their future career and earning prospects. They stressed the intellectual dimension of higher education, whereas the Germans tended to stress personal development, and were keener on socially useful work. However, the United Kingdom students cared much more about human relationships within their higher education institutions, and rated them much more positively. Despite fears that market-oriented knowledge concepts lead to theory-aversion, the United Kingdom students displayed more intellectual enthusiasm and expressed more interest in future graduate study and research. It is speculated that the underlying concept of knowledge may be different in the United Kingdom. The British students were more aware of quality assurance measures within their institutions and more satisfied with their courses than their German counterparts. By contrast, the British staff were in important respects less satisfied in their work than the German staff, so the satisfaction of the students seems to be achieved at their expense.
By Rosalind M.O. Pritchard
19 Dec 2006
Twenty Practices of an Entrepreneurial University
The idea of an entrepreneurial university caught on fast after the American sociologist Burton R. Clark published his books on entrepreneurship in universities (Creating Entrepreneurial Universities, 1998; Sustaining Changes in Universities, 2004). Inspired by the alluring of the notion of an entrepreneurial university, and by decreasing levels of state funding for universities, we undertook a study on four very active ECIU universities (ECIU = European Consortium of Innovative Universities, www.eciu.org). To evaluate and quantify their level of entrepreneurship, we extracted from Burton Clark’s case studies twenty organisational practices against which a University’s entrepreneurship can be measured. These twenty practices or factors in effect formed the basis for an entrepreneurship audit. During a series of interviews, the extent to which the universities are seen as entrepreneurial by the interviewees was surveyed. We showed that the practices have been implemented only to various degrees and rather unsystematically. There are important differences among the universities, to some extent depending on the level of ambition that each university has regarding each practice. There are also important similarities; especially that entrepreneurship within universities has to be welcomed and facilitated top-down, but organically occurs and develops bottom-up. Implementing entrepreneurship at universities is thus about stimulating a culture of organic intrapreneurship and we provide practical recommendations and further research options to that effect.
19 Dec 2006
Funding in Higher Education and Economic Growth in France and the United Kingdom, 1921-2003
The UK 2004 Higher Education Act generated important debates about the relationships between higher education (HE), economic growth and social progress. The range of positions expressed in relation to the increase of annual tuition fees raises crucial questions about the public and private funding of higher education and its individual and social economic benefits. Such controversies have a strong resonance in France where discussion about HE underfunding has already emerged. This article seeks to inform these current debates by combining economic and historical perspectives within a quantitative approach. The analysis of new historical series on funding and development of UK universities since the 1920s and the comparison with similar data for France has put into evidence a long-term link between HE funding and economic fluctuations. In both countries, the expansion in university resources was not linear and may be related to the impact of long economic cycles on public funding. Moreover, in the UK case, private funding periodically increased in order to replace diminishing public funding, rather than taking the form of additional resources. In consequence, private funds did not provide an overall rise in the universities’ income. The considerable fluctuations of funding, combined with a more consistent growth of enrolment, led to a recurrent mismatch between resources for and access to higher education. This can explain the wide fluctuations of resources per student over the period and the current underfunding situation. Such historical trends question whether, in the future, increased fees will be a substitute for public spending. Or will variable fees be combined with even greater increases in public funding as part of a national project to support HE students from all social backgrounds and to boost expenditure per student?
19 Dec 2006
Twelve Propositions on Diversity in Higher Education
This paper explores the relationship between the diversity within a higher education system and five key factors, namely: the environment, policy intervention, funding, competition and co-operation, and ranking. The exploration is based on the extent to which higher education systems, particularly those of Australia and New Zealand, have accommodated distinctive forms of higher education institutions characterised by the older traditional university at one extreme, and the newer university of technology at the other. Twelve interdependent propositions on diversity are proposed and discussed. These propositions indicate the ways in which each of the five key factors may influence institutional diversity or convergence. In the majority of circumstances, the convergent tendencies of institutions will predominate unless very specific environmental and economic conditions prevail, and/or specific directed policy is implemented.
19 Dec 2006
Revenue Generation and Organisational Change in Higher Education
This paper reports on a study of four major Canadian universities’ strategies for generating revenue in the face of prolonged cutbacks. The universities are placed on a continuum of higher education funding, institutional types and organisational attributes. The study produced new hypotheses about how universities’ organisational attributes change as a result of the need to generate revenue.