05 août 2009
The Incorporation of National Universities in Japan
In April 2004, all national universities, which had previously been legally subordinate to MEXT (Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture), were given a legal personality and became "National University Corporations". With this change, each national university now enjoys greater autonomy vis-à-vis the government in terms of how it uses its budget (block grants), personnel issues (recruitment, appointments, salaries, etc.), internal organisation, etc., although universities are still subject to government regulations in some areas, such as the size of enrolments and tuition fees. Now that national universities are no longer bound by the strict regulations imposed by the government, each of them should be able to develop its own individuality and specialise in certain fields.
This document will mainly focus on examining the initial reactions of the newly created National University Corporations. On the basis of recent information on national universities (National University Corporations), we shall show how they have clarified their strategic objectives and plans, and also how they have changed their organisational structures and staffing so as to achieve these objectives and plans. Some universities encountered serious problems in preparing their incorporation, particularly with regard to decision making processes, the apportionment of powers between the president and departments, and staffing. We shall then analyse the problems stemming from the incorporation of universities, and conclude by presenting some of the major problems faced and the directions that may be taken by universities and the government in our knowledge-based society.
05 août 2009
Managing Relations with Industry
For a long time, university-business relations were a matter of individual, informal and intermittent contacts. Once the innovation process picked up speed, businesses began asking more from universities (longer-term co-operative research, for example), and governments placed university-business interaction at the centre of their innovation strategies, with the universities having to organise interface structures as well as developing internal standards for the agendas of teachers-researchers, industrial property, etc.
In Brazil, universities started to do this during the 1990s. The Brazilian experience shows that the success of interface structures depends not only on the national innovation policy but above all on the conditions specific to each establishment. This article discusses the results of three surveys conducted by the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul concerning the technology transfer and intellectual property offices of Brazilian universities, and is set out as follows: 1) the background to university-business relations in Brazil; 2) the characteristics, strong points and weaknesses of university offices, based on their development over the last decade; and 3) benchmarks for the development of internal strategies.
05 août 2009
Rethinking or Hollowing out the University?
The development of the knowledge economy is placing universities at the heart of economic and social development processes in relation to their teaching, research and outreach functions. This new engagement places pressure on universities to consider the need for internal transformations to make them "fit for purpose" to meet their new more "entrepreneurial" roles. A core concern here is how best to re-orientate or re-mould the university in such a way as to meet new challenges while guarding the "essence" of the academic enterprise which is embedded in a culture of collegiality that is now at risk but which remains an essential foundation for innovation in knowledge production and its transmission.
05 août 2009
Reorganising the Teaching-Research Tension
In this paper we examine the tensions resulting from the transformation processes going on in research and teaching, typical at traditional universities that have been actively developing their research mission. We will also look at universities that only recently decided to focus on research and wonder if they will be able to better manage or even avoid such tensions.
More specifically, we will reflect on the possibility of unbundling the teaching and research missions and the resulting tasks of professors. A growing number of newcomers in higher education are taking up parts of the activities of traditional universities. How will they develop? What are the possible answers from traditional players? In addressing these questions, we will look at the value chain for each of the activities and see if and how reconfiguration can provide the answer.
The analysis will enhance our understanding and provide inspiration for new management approaches. In traditional institutions, unbundling seems to have started at the structural level but support systems are lacking and at the individual level academics are still expected to engage in research and teaching besides many other tasks, such as administration and service to the community at large.
We will discuss these issues in the context of the broader literature on the topic and draw conclusions that should be relevant for everyone in the higher education sector involved in managing tensions between research and teaching.
05 août 2009
Political Instruments Employed by Governments to Enhance University Research and Knowledge Transfer Capacity
Governments of developed nations use a variety of policy instruments to enhance university research and knowledge transfer capabilities. These include advocacy, persuasion and information; consultation and committees of enquiry; creation of major research centres and commercialisation agencies, and investment in research infrastructure; grants, subsidies and other financial incentives; and legislation and regulation. Comparatively little is known, however, about which instruments work best and in what situations, and why some instruments are chosen over others. Little also is known about who the main beneficiaries are of different programs and to what extent program proliferation, often with numerous different agencies involved, leads to duplication and inefficiencies, and works against national R&D priority-setting efforts.
05 août 2009
New IDEAs for Internationalisation within the Knowledge Society
In response to the Bologna declaration and the increasing competition in attracting the best students, four leading European technological universities (the IDEA League) established common educational quality management principles. Mutual recognition of degrees has been established with the key aim of enhancing student mobility as part of the curriculum. Students have the flexibility to move from one IDEA university to another after completing the first three years of study (bachelor level equivalence) in order to complete a master's degree at a partner university. Graduates will receive the degree of the hosting university, and will have a truly international qualification.
Implementation of these quality management and mobility features has led to partnerships with international companies. The article will discuss the challenges in establishing this new model of collaboration facing the different national systems and cultural backgrounds of the four universities, situated in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
By H.G. Büttner
05 août 2009
Institutional Mission vs Policy Constraint?
The research-intensive and competitive knowledge society is putting HEIs (higher education institutions) under the spotlight. While many HEIs around the world do not proclaim or wish to be research-intensive institutions the majority desire to intensify their research activity because it is seen as a sine qua non of higher education. Accordingly, HEIs are busy making critical strategic choices concerning human resources, the research environment, the teaching-research nexus, organisational and management structure, and funding. Governments are also making choices, using policies and financial instruments to help shape institutional mission, priorities and HE systems. But if governments genuinely desire to widen access to the knowledge society and achieve a greater contribution from higher education to economic and social development more is required. This paper applies Porter’s diamond of competitive advantage to illustrate the complex relationship between institutional mission and policy constraints, proposing changes in strategy and policy to unlock potential. There are important lessons for both institutions and government.
05 août 2009
What is a University in the 21st Century?
The term "university" has a longstanding history, yet its definition remains highly contentious at the turn of the century. According to conventional scholarship, the first university initially appeared as far back as the 12th century with the formation of the University of Paris and the University of Bologna (circa 1150 AD). Other scholars, however, contend that the university may have begun many centuries earlier, depending on the definition employed (Neave, 1999; Welch and Denman, 1997; Patterson, 1997). The intent of this article is to suggest a classification of universities for the 21st Century, with emphasis placed on the university's role in disseminating and advancing knowledge through scholarship and research. Drawing upon major historic events that have shaped universities in their various forms, this article discusses whether universities are designed to cater to market forces or are catalysts for change in an increasingly "knowledge-based" society.