09 août 2011

Bologna process - Stocktaking and prospects

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgACA’s German member – DAAD – together with the ACA Secretariat in Brussels produced an information note for the European Parliament (EP) on the main achievements, implementation status and future prospects of the Bologna Process. The note is based on the most recent Bologna evaluations and stocktaking reports (2009 and 2010) as well as on the authors’ expertise in Bologna-related issues, and was published on the EP website this month.
The 48-page document gives a general overview of the topics, developments and trends within the Bologna Process since the signing of the Sorbonne Declaration in 1998. It also provides analysis of the progress made with respect to the Bologna reforms, and identifies achievements and future challenges within the main Bologna action areas: degree and curricular reform, mobility, recognition of qualifications and lifelong learning, employability, social dimension, quality assurance, qualifications frameworks, linking the EHEA and ERA, and the external dimension. Overall, the report finds that good progress has been made in many of these fields, but further concerted action is needed in order to fully reach the Bologna goals by the end of this decade. Last but not least, the authors formulate a number of recommendations addressed to the EP, which outline concrete steps that could be taken to contribute to the achievement of the Bologna objectives. Download the note of Aca-Daad Bologna process - Stocktaking and prospects.
Abstract

The Bologna Process has led to fundamental changes in higher education across Europe. The launch of the EHEA in 2010 marked an important milestone on the way to an open area of higher learning with greater compatibility and comparability as well as increased international attractiveness and competitiveness of the European higher education systems. Good progress has been made in many fields, but much remains to be done in order to ensure full achievement of all Bologna goals in the next decade...
2.2.3. Recognition of Qualifications and Lifelong Learning
History

The importance of recognition for the emergence of an EHEA was already emphasised by the Sorbonne Declaration (1998). It was envisaged to improve international transparency of courses and ensure recognition of qualifications through gradual convergence towards a common framework of qualifications and cycles of study. The main recognition instrument and the only legally binding text is the Lisbon Recognition Convention of the Council of Europe/UNESCO (1997). The process of increasing transparency and improving recognition is facilitated by the ENIC and NARIC centres. Other recognition tools are the Diploma Supplement, ECTS and the QF EHEA. According to the Bergen Communiqué (2005) appropriate recognition procedures should create opportunities for flexible learning paths in higher education, including procedures for recognition of prior learning, and thus further embed lifelong learning in higher education.
Achievements and future challenges

According to the Stocktaking Report, the Diploma Supplement (DS) has been fully introduced in over half the Bologna countries (Rauhvargers, Deane & Pauwels 2009, p. 67). This means it is provided to all graduates automatically, free of charge and in a widely spoken European language (usually English). In the remaining countries the DS is either issued only on request or for a fee. In two countries the DS is not yet systematically issued (ibid.). Provision of the DS varies among student groups. While almost all countries issue the DS to holders of BA and MA degrees, fewer than two thirds of the countries issue the DS to doctoral candidates. In addition, in seven countries the DS is not issued to graduates of traditional degree programmes, while in four countries it is not issued to graduates of “short Bachelor” programmes (Rauhvargers, Deane & Pauwels 2009, p. 68).
In many cases, higher education institutions demand further reference documents in addition to the DS. This is mainly due to the fact that not enough graduates currently hold a DS. Thus it is apparent that awareness of the existence and utility of the DS must be increased further among students, higher education institutions and employers. Currently, there exists only limited information on whether and how the DS is used by these groups (Sursock & Smidt 2010, p. 56). Therefore appropriate monitoring procedures must be introduced in all countries. In addition, it is important to promote the usage of the DS according to the EU/CoE/UNESCO standards within the Bologna countries. In this respect, Sursock & Smidt (2010, p. 55) also report that the DS often varies in content, structure and layout, which minimises the quality of the document. The Europass framework should continue to be used for promoting the DS (Rauhvargers, Deane & Pauwels 2009, p. 70).
The Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC) has been ratified by almost all countries; however, its country-specific implementation differs widely (CHEPS, INCHER & ECOTEC 2010, p. 44). By January 2011, 46 Bologna signatory states have ratified the LRC. Only Greece has so far taken no steps at all in this regard. Despite these achievements the compatibility of national legislation with the LRC needs to be developed further in the Bologna countries. The ratification of the LRC cannot be equated with a uniform implementation of the LRC principles and subsidiary texts. Rather, interpretation of the LRC principles, terminology and recognition procedures diverge significantly (CHEPS, INCHER & ECOTEC 2010, p. 44). Regarding the application of the LRC principles, it is therefore necessary to find a shared language and uniform standards of implementation. Particular attention in this context must be given to the definition and interpretation of “substantial differences”, which differ greatly across the Bologna countries (ibid., p. 46). A prerequisite for this is that universities understand the transfer of the LRC principles and subsidiary texts into higher education law not as a threat to their autonomy but as an opportunity to strengthen their international profile.
All countries currently apply ECTS or a compatible system (EACEA/Eurydice 2010, p. 21).

Differences however exist in the procedures, the purposes for which credit points are awarded and the basis on which they are transferred. Full implementation of ECTS will be achieved when at least 75% of institutions and degree programmes use credit points to transfer and accumulate academic achievement, and implement them based on student workload and learning outcomes (ibid.). Recent research (CHEPS, INCHER & ECOTEC (2010)) shows that only 12 countries meet these requirements. 22 countries either evaluate only student workload (participation in attendance lectures) or learning outcomes; 13 other countries employ neither of these two concepts (see Annex fig. 2).
The extent to which credit points are awarded in doctoral programmes varies widely. No comparable indicators currently exist; therefore the evaluation reports make only general comments in this regard. In some countries, credit points are already awarded across all doctoral programmes, in some only for taught courses and in others not at all (Rauhvargers, Deane & Pauwels 2009, p. 48). The number of credit points awarded is regulated at institutional level.
An appropriate representation of formally acquired qualifications in the form of ECTS can only be achieved by awarding credit points based on learning outcomes. The EU’s ECTS Users’ Guide provides instructions on how to do this, and the EU Tuning project offers recommendations for practical implementation. Nevertheless, significant challenges remain, particularly regarding the proper linkage of credits with learning outcomes (Sursock & Smidt 2010, p. 55). Better interlinking would also increase the value of the DS and could contribute to achievements gained abroad being more easily recognised by students’ home institutions.
Only a few countries have a well established system for recognition of prior learning (RPL)
, including non-formal and informal qualifications acquired before entering a higher education programme. According to Rauhvargers, Deane & Pauwels (2009, p. 82), no significant progress has been made in this field compared to 2007. The use and prevalence of procedures for recognising prior learning has different traditions across the EHEA. In almost two thirds of the countries these qualifications are counted towards admission requirements for university degree programmes, while 25 countries recognise them in the form of exemption from certain requirements within study programmes. In 22 countries prior learning is translated into credit points (ibid.). RPL is in many cases at the discretion of the higher education institutions, and it is left to individuals to ask for recognition of their previous achievements.
RPL is only one aspect of lifelong learning (LLL).

According to the BFUG Coordinating Group on Lifelong Learning a number of activities have taken place to promote better understanding of LLL in higher education since 2007. The group also stated that considerable progress has been made towards increasing the understanding of LLL in higher education contexts. However, much remains to be done before LLL becomes a full reality in higher education systems across the EHEA. Moreover, there is a need for a Europe-wide accepted definition of the LLL concept as well as for comprehensive and reliable data, especially on funding of LLL (EACEA/Eurydice 2010, p. 34). Perhaps EUA’s European Universities’ Charter on LLL and future projects of EU’s LLL programme will contribute to make progress in this area. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 07:30 - - Permalien [#]


ACA wins LLP funding for two new projects

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgThe results of the 2011 call for proposals of the European Union’ Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) brought good news for ACA. Two of the ideas submitted for consideration under the Erasmus actions were positively received by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and were selected for funding.
The first is a multilateral project under the title Mapping "mobility windows" in European higher education. Examples from selected countries (MOWIN). This work will involve cooperation between ACA and its Finnish member, CIMO, as well as the HIS-Institute for Research on Higher Education, based in Germany. In general terms, the project aims to generate accurate and useful research results that can feed into and inform the debates occurring at various levels in Europe about the removal of obstacles to student mobility through the use of mobility-enhancing tools. More specifically, MOWIN aspires to create an inventory of types of curricular integrations of study abroad periods – in essence, a typology of “mobility windows” that reflects the variety of practices and models in chosen European countries. In addition, the project will examine how the different models are implemented in selected countries and institutions, as a means of identifying examples of good practice (or important pitfalls to avoid) at very operational levels.
Meanwhile, The European university in the 21st century. Reconciling the social dimension, excellence, internationalisation and sustainable funding (EUSEIF) is an ACA initiative that has been selected to receive Erasmus Accompanying Measures funding. This innovative project will address five core themes in a transversal fashion, exploring how the aspirations of the so-called ‘social dimension’ in European higher education are influenced by other key aims pursued simultaneously by European tertiary institutions, namely excellence, mobility, internationalisation and sustainable funding. Five concept papers based on these topics will be developed and used as the guiding framework for an international conference that will provide a forum for in-depth discussion and advancement of ideas about these areas and their intersecting aspects. A publication should serve as another key EUSEIF output. A number of ACA’s member organisations are expected to be drawn into this work. See European Commission - Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

Posté par pcassuto à 07:15 - - Permalien [#]

SEVAQ+ launches V2.0 of online tool for quality in elearning

VIDEOSCOP - Université Nancy 2As a Key Activity 4 project supported by the European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme, SEVAQ+ is engaging in widespread dissemination and exploitation of a multilingual online tool for the self-evaluation of quality in technology-enhanced learning. By merging the Kirkpatrick evaluation framework with the EFQM quality model, SEVAQ+ has engineered a holistic tool and approach for the generation of customised evaluation questionnaires.
http://www.univ-nancy2.fr/VIDEOSCOP/img/activites/logo-sevaq.jpgEvaluez en ligne la performance de vos dispositifs de formation
SEVAQ est une approche qualité européenne pour l'évaluation et l'amélioration en continu de vos dispositifs de formation en ligne, fondée à la fois sur une approche de qualité globale (EFQM) et selon les niveaux d'évaluation de la formation du modèle kirkpatrick.
Grâce à l'approche SEVAQ, vous pourrez prendre en charge simultanément

* toute la chaîne de processus nécessaires pour conduire une évaluation rigoureuse
* la diversité des contextes et des modalités dans lesquels se déroulent vos formations
* les centres d'intérêts des différentes parties prenantes intéressées par les résultats de l'évaluation
* une démarche qualité éprouvée (EFQM)
* les deux premiers niveaux d'évaluation de la formation (selon le modèle de Kirkpatrick)
* l'ensemble des rubriques, processus et domaines à prendre en compte dans le champ de l'évaluation de votre offre de formation en ligne.
9 partenaires de 7 pays européens (Norvège, Lituanie, Grande Bretagne, Espagne, Portugal, France et Belgique) ont contribué à la mise en place de la démarche SEVAQ.
Ils sont aujourd'hui correspondants de l'approche SEVAQ dans leurs pays respectifs.
Personne contact dans les différents organismes
Belgique

http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/efodl.gifEFODLEFODL - European Federation for Open and Digital Learning
Helga Van Heysbroeck - coordinator
Helga.Vanheysbroeck@vdab.be
Tel +32 9 265 49 24
http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/beodl.gifBE-ODLBE-ODL - Belgian Network for Open and Distance Learning
Inge De Vrieze coordinator
info@be-odl.org
Tel +32 9 265 49 21
http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/edwst.gifEDUWESTEDUWEST
Rik Dalle, coordinator
rik.dalle@eduwest.be
Tel +32 57 21 45 17 +32 478 299 851
http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/UHasselt.gifUNIVERSITY HASSELT
Jeanne Schreurs, Professor Business Informatics
Jeanne.Schreurs@uhasselt.be
Tel +32 11 268609 / +32 475 497099
Espagne
http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/cesi.gifCESI IBERIACESI IBERIA
Ana Isabel Velasco Montalvo, General Director
avelasco@cesi-iberia.com
Tel +34 91 593 24 00
France
http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/logos/preau.gifPREAU CCIPLE PREAU - CCIP
Anne-Marie Husson, Quality Expert
sevaq@preau.ccip.fr
Tel +33 1 49 23 57 05
http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/logos/nu_videoscop.pngVIDEOSCOP - Université Nancy 2VIDEOSCOP - Université Nancy 2
Edwige Morin, Project manager
Edwige.Morin@univ-nancy2.fr
Tel : +33 3 83 35 09 09
Grande-Bretagne

http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/bild.gifBILD BILD - British
Institute for Learning and Development
Brian Merison, project manager
brian@british-learning.com
Tel +44 771 141 9065 / +44 117 959 6517
Lituanie

http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/vmui.gifVytautas Magnus UniversityVytautas Magnus University
Ilona Lukoseviciute - coordinator
ilukoseviciute@gmail.com
Tel +370 37327829
Norvège

http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/nade.gifNADE NFFNADE - Norwegian Association for Distance and Flexible Education
Torhild Slaatto - executive director
slaatto@nade-nff.no
Tel +47 22510480 / +47 99586258
Portugal
http://www.sevaq.preau.ccip.fr/uploads/images/partenaires/isq.gifISQISQ
Rui Monteiro, Project Manager
RAMonteiro@isq.pt
Tel +351 21 423 4062
VIDEOSCOP - Université Nancy 2 Nagu põhitegevus 4 Projekti toetab Euroopa Komisjon elukestva õppe programmi, SEVAQ+ on alustamas laialdane levitamine ja kasutamine mitmekeelne vahend internetis enesehindamise kvaliteedi tehnoloogia abil tõhustatud õpet. Liitmise teel Kirkpatrick hindamise raamistik koos EFQM kvaliteedi mudel, SEVAQ + on projekteeritud terviklik lähenemisviis ning vahend põlvkonna Kohandatud hindamine küsimustikud. Veel...

Posté par pcassuto à 05:33 - - Permalien [#]

5th World Universities Forum - The role and future of the University in a changing world

http://ontheuniversity.com/files/2010/11/U12_Universities_banner.pngIn 2012, the Forum will be held at the University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece from 8 to 10 January. The Forum examines the role and future of the University in a changing world. It is ambitious in its intellectual and practical, agenda-setting scope, and broad in its themes. The World Universities Forum is held annually in different locations around the world. The Forum was held in Davos, Switzerland in 2008; in conjunction with the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay, Mumbai, India in 2009; in the Congress Center Davos, Davos, Switzerland in 2010; and in Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong in 2011.
Themes
Theme 1: In the Interest of the Academy: Perspectives on the Nature, Purpose and Working of the University
Theme 1A: Knowledge Designs

        * What constitutes academic knowledge? What are its particularities, its virtues, its limitations?
        * Paradigm shifts in knowledge making socially networked knowledge and the ‘wisdom of the crowd’.
        * Research methodologies and analytical processes – is academic knowledge more reliable?
        * Knowledge systems – peer review, publishing infrastructures, dissemination and access.
        * Basic and applied research – changing distinctions.
        * Research ethics and applications of research.
        * Discipinarity and interdisciplinarity – trends to specialisation or interconnectivity.
        * Changing disciplinary distinctions – the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, professions.
        * Universality and knowledge transfer versus partiality and the localised specificity of knowledge.
        * Objectivity and perspectivism in knowledge.
        * Knowledge and culture – what kinds of knowledge are literature, art, and identity?
        * Public domain or commercialisation – paths to society and market for academic knowledge.
        * Intellectual property – forms of ownership and incentives to innovate.
Theme 1B: Learning Designs

        * Learning in the University – how does it work? What is distinctive? How is it changing? How should it change?
        * Digital technologies in learning.
        * Ubiquitous learning – anywhere and anytime, just enough and just in time.
        * The role of the University in lifelong and lifewide learning.
        * Access and equity in higher education – addressing local, national and global inequalities.
        * Addressing learner diversity, and student and faculty mobility.
        * Program alternatives – core curriculum or choice.
        * Instructional design for higher education.
        * Assessment and evaluation of learning.
Theme 1C: Organisational Designs

        * Academic governance – the peculiarities of managing the University.
        * Academic freedom.
        * Resourcing the University – financing higher education.
        * Leadership and organizational development in higher education.
        * Public and private education.
        * Impacts of commercialisation and privatisation.
        * Marketing and fundraising.
        * Research management and training.
        * Assessment of research quality.
        * Program and curriculum design.
        * Evaluation of teaching.
Theme 1D: Designs on the World

        * Collaborations cross-institutional, cross-sectoral and international research programs.
        * International education – the University as a global player.
        * Community service and outreach.
        * The public intellectual in national and international communities.
        * Informing the world – connecting with the media, traditional and new.
        * Inter-University networks and alliances.
        * Private-public partnerships.
        * Relationships with governments, corporations and NGOs.
        * Educational and research capacity-building.
        * Global population movements and the shifting demography of campus.
        * Knowledge movements – migration, diasporic networks and brain drain.
        * Knowledge societies – securing the strategic centrality for universities in contemporary economic and social agendas.
        * Practice orientations – universities in the making of the professions.
        * The economics of higher education.
        * The economics of research and innovation.
        * Research, innovation and education as measures of social progress.

Theme 2: Academic Interests: Setting Intellectual and Practical Agendas
Theme 2A: Sciences

        * Disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity in the sciences.
        * The changing work of scientists.
        * Pedagogies for changing sciences.
        * Scientific responsibilities – climate change, sustainability and health.
        * Science and ethics – sensitive subjects and experimental methods.
        * Basic and applied sciences – changing dynamics.
        * Applied sciences and social meanings – computer interfaces, design methods and other humanising relationships.
Theme 2B: Technologies

        * Technology and human interests.
        * The social web and the digital divide.
        * Biomedical technologies and their impacts.
        * Participatory design.
Theme 2C: Cultures, Identities, Humanisms

        * Global society – changing balances of economic and intellectual power.
        * Faiths and rationalisms.
        * Cultures, civilisations and globalisms.
        * Independences and interdependencies of states, societies and cultures.
        * Multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism and identity politics.
        * Differences – class, locale, race, sex-sexuality-gender, (dis)abilities, culture, language and affinity.
        * Cultural production and learning.
Theme 2D: Resources and Welfare
        * Social capital.
        * Economics and human welfare.
        * Inequality and its remedies.
        * Trade, fair and free; physical and intellectual properties.
        * Development and uneven development.
        * Social services and the professions.
Theme 2E: Governance

        * Self-managing institutions, from the local to the global.
        * Changing patterns of sovereignty.
        * Politics and social formation, from the local to the international.
        * Human rights.
        * Non-government organizations.
        * Regulation and deregulation of knowledge regimes and professions.
        * Intellectual property laws and knowledge systems.

Posté par pcassuto à 04:53 - - Permalien [#]
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Strategic Management of Internationalisation

http://www.kongresslund.com/images/oecdlogos.jpgConference - Strategic Management of Internationalisation. Lund, Sweden, 15-16 December 2011.
Organised by the Nordic University Association (NUS), the Nordic Association of University Administrators (NUAS) and the OECD’s Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE).
The conference will examine some of the challenges facing universities and governments as a result of the growing internationalisation of higher education throughout the world. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts on global trends, to learn about new developments and to consider practical responses. Case studies of national policy and institutional practice will be debated and new approaches to the evaluation of internationalisation discussed.

Posté par pcassuto à 04:49 - - Permalien [#]


Managing Quality Teaching in Higher Education What Works Conference 5-6 December 2011 CETYS University, Mexicali, Mexico

http://www.oecd.org/vgn/images/portal/CIT_731/21/40/42572200IMHE-72.jpgManaging Quality Teaching in Higher Education, What Works Conference, 5-6 December 2011, CETYS University, Mexicali, Mexico. The Conference will reflect on the findings of the IMHE institutional reviews on quality teaching (underway) and discuss broader issues on institution-wide and national policies supporting quality of teaching and learning in higher education. IMHE organises a series of international events on various aspects of institutional management. These events are designed to assist member institutions by reviewing current policy and practice and by disseminating examples of successful innovation. They provide professional development for participants, and can lead to the publication of reports and/or the creation of informal networks.
The next What Works event is a conference on Managing Quality Teaching in Higher Education that will take place on 5-6 December 2011 at CETYS University, Mexicali, Mexico.
The Conference will reflect on the findings of the IMHE institutional reviews on quality teaching (underway) and discuss broader issues on institution-wide and national policies supporting quality of teaching and learning in higher education:
- Pedagogical innovations and effecting change in teaching and learning.
- Support for quality teaching and indicators of effective performance.
- Improving quality teaching with fewer resources and within a competitive setting.
This conference will provide a context in which to examine:

- Implementation strategies and practical approaches for institutions to promote quality teaching and pedagogical innovations;
- Institution-wide policies and practices that reinforce and foster student involvement in teaching, professional and program development, and technological and organisational change for creating conducive learning environments;
- Embedding improved and sustained quality teaching despite diminishing resources and an unpredictable future.
CORE TOPICS

- Indicators and measures of quality teaching
- Aligning the constituents of quality teaching within the institution
- Supporting, valuing and rewarding university teaching
- Engaging students as partners in the teaching process
- Professional development for faculty
- Program and curriculum development
- Organisational change
- Use of ICT for quality teaching. Meeting presentation. Contact: Fabrice.henard@oecd.org.
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/img/new/common/logo_en.gifA conference was held at Istanbul Technical University on 12-13 October 2009, and was entitled, "Quality Teaching in Higher Education". It examined ways in which quality teaching can be improved and the main constraints.
The August 2006 seminar attracted around 100 participants and looked at "Governing Bodies of Higher Education Institutions: Roles and Responsibilities". The changing patterns of governance formed the framework for the seminar. The focus was on top level institutional governance, where much has changed in the last decade. The keynote speaker was Alan Larsson, former Minister of Sweden.
The August 2005 seminar focused on human resource management. Many IMHE member institutions were represented, among them, more than 200 participants in the latest "What works - best practice" conference. The highlight of the conference for many was the presentation by the former head of human resources at Harvard University, Ms Polly Price, who started by asking whether professionals from the corporate world could succeed as managers in higher education.
The seminar held in Paris in August 2004 attracted 110 participants. Its theme, “Communicating in Higher Education – Image and Reality”, addressed how various audiences (all of those in contact with an institution, be they students, financial authorities or staff) view the impact of the image projected by higher education institutions. Aside from being part of an institution's broader strategy, image and communication are essential in recruiting students and staff as well as for funding and assessing quality. Also available: Les innovations qui marchent dans l'enseignement supérieur (French).

Posté par pcassuto à 03:08 - - Permalien [#]

EUROPE: Brussels pushes for more east-west mobility

http://www.universityworldnews.com/layout/UW/images/logoUWorld.gifBy Ard Jongsma. The European Union wants to increase mobility to and from its eastern neighbours. In general, the eastern neighbours agree. But a recent conference in Warsaw found that hurdles such as brain drain, visa issues, recognition and reciprocity still hamper a significant volume increase.
Brussels has set aside more funds for mobility under the EU's Eastern Partnership programme in the two years that remain before the anticipated grand overhaul of education and training programmes in 2014. But investing these funds in the most meaningful way is not so easy.
A large conference organised by the Polish presidency of the European Union in Warsaw on 6-7 July convened some 350 people from the EU and its eastern neighbours to discuss how best to expand and optimise mobility and its benefits for individuals, institutions and countries, and how the Eastern Partnership Platform IV, "Contact Between People", can contribute to this.
At the conference, education commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said she was hopeful that mobility could be increased but that some tenacious hurdles continue to thwart the development of mobility to its full potential. "There is no denying that the obstacles to mobility between our regions are numerous," Vassiliou said. "There is the lack of information about mobility opportunities, inadequate financial support and a poor knowledge of foreign languages. But there are also legal barriers, particularly when it comes to obtaining visas or work permits, and there are problems with the recognition of academic work completed abroad."
She was pleased, however, that the conference had identified areas where the two regions can work together to eliminate some of these obstacles. "We will provide financial support through our mobility programmes and we can also provide curricular support through a variety of mechanisms such as the Diploma Supplement and the European Credit Transfer System. But we must also lend more personal support, especially in the form of guidance and counselling, in order to more effectively convince a wider range of individuals to take part," Vassiliou told the conference. One of the people who has witnessed at first hand how mobility can be a life changer is Ukrainian Yegor Domanov. He travelled to Finland on a Marie Curie grant to perform research into lipid biophysics and now works as an engineer of advanced research at L'Oreal in Paris.
"My career track is a good example of how it should work," he said. It is, but it also exposes the caveats of mobility and the trial-and-error nature of European support to it. "I actually was funded twice by Marie Curie grants," said Domanov. "First I had the incoming international fellowship, which got me to the University of Helsinki. The second was a European Reintegration Grant, which got me to France and topped up a local foundation grant." European Reintegration Grants were originally meant to support reintegration in the sending country. That was a great idea but it failed to work. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 02:38 - - Permalien [#]

FRANCE: Responding to pressures to internationalise

http://www.universityworldnews.com/layout/UW/images/logoUWorld.gifBy Cecile Hoareau. French higher education has lived something of a revolution over the past decade. The specificities of French higher education, which put it at odds with the rest of the world and have accentuated France's reputation as a champion of anti-globalisation, are being washed away by the current government through a cumulative process of liberalisation and differentiation backed by unprecedented public investment. French universities are tacking up the challenge of globalisation in all its meanings. The previous system, which inspired Russia in the 19th Century and relied on differentiation between research institutions (CNRS), selective training schools for elite civil servants and managers (grandes ecoles) and non-selective universities, had left universities at the bottom of the pile, leading to an absence of international recognition.
Three particularly significant reforms, which benefited from earlier coordinated European efforts under the Bologna process as well as strategic political appointments of twice minister for higher education and research Francois Fillon as prime minister as well as the discreet advice of Bernard Belloc and Jean-Marc Monteil, respectively special advisors to the president and prime minister, have moved French higher education in a new direction.
The first reform is the law for the freedom and responsibilities of universities of 11 August 2007, which liberalised the French university landscape by giving more managerial autonomy to institutions, and hence to university presidents, in the recruitment of staff, the management of assets and the ability to raise income through the creation of foundations. From an Anglo-American perspective, this model of autonomous universities is common. And it would be hard to comprehend how significant this law is in bypassing the traditional opposition of the higher education community against a retreat of central government control. Earlier legislative proposals failed because of serious opposition, for example, in 1986 with Devaquet or 2003 under Luc Ferry. According to Christine Musselin from the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations in Sciences Po, this opposition comes from a traditional formation of academic life around discipline-oriented faculties, resulting in a distrust of academics toward the university president. More autonomy also involves an increase in workload to adapt to these reforms.
A second reform includes an effort toward differentiation based on public investment. This differentiation operates on perceived managerial and research excellence across faculty and institutions, and is based on the idea that globalisation and equality do not go hand in hand: certain institutions and scholars need to be favoured to become internationally visible. It includes the reform of the regulations of teachers-researchers of 22 April 2009, which set up performance-related bonuses and chairs of excellence. Operation Campus, a plan to concentrate public investment in flagship campuses, a spin-off from France's EUR35 billion (US$50 billion) investment Plan de Relance strategy to relaunch its economy, saw 12 universities get an unprecedented EUR5 billion in public investment.
Finally, French higher education is also opening up to the global environment, developing international partnerships and embracing the 'Great Brain Race' by targeting the international student market, particularly from Asia. Interestingly, in a somewhat paradoxical manner first underlined by Sophie Meunier and Philip Gordon in the case of trade, the French embraced globalisation at the same time as they shouted out loudly against it. The French government presented globalisation as a threat to justify and stimulate these reforms. The Shanghai university rankings, in which only a handful of French universities make it to the top 100, caused serious offence in a country which prided itself on its historic scholarly reputation, and still dominates debates regarding the reform of universities.
The publication of the Shanghai rankings coincided with the emergence of a very critical debate regarding French higher education. Aghion and Cohen's 2004 report for the Social and Economic Council underlined the common perception of 'crisis, impossible reforms and decline of French universities'. And a recent report by the Institut Montaigne entitled Gone for Good underlined the brain drain of French academics toward the US. The arguments took off. The French government did not meet the traditional opposition from the higher education sector to its new wave of reforms. The 2007 proposal even surprisingly brought in a certain level of consensus, opposition coming only from the relatively minor and most radical trade unions, such as the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (Communist Revolutionary League). Fundamentally speaking, the French government and its higher education landscape face the same double pressure as most other countries in the world; massification of higher education coupled with worldwide competition for the best and the brightest.
Implementing the reforms that respond to these pressures presents several challenges, including one of available human resources and expertise. New French universities require new managers trained in a more autonomous management style, who understand the challenges inherent to a global higher education landscape and embrace an open and free space to exchange best practice and think about policy-oriented solutions. These managerial challenges are tackled French-style with a strong input from the central government and the civil service. Expertise and policy solutions still mostly come from reports, which are centrally commissioned by the government. Aware of the new needs, the training school attached to the Ministry for National Education ESEN (Ecole Superieure de l'Education Nationale) and the publicly-funded organisation AMUE (Agence de Mutualisation des Universités et Etablissements) set up a training programme for existing university managers.
Another trend, according to a senior government official, would be to bring in civil servant managers of public administrations, trained in selective public school administration by the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, to take over managerial positions traditionally taken up by academics. This process of 'muddling through' new structures using pre-existing resources is defining the still uncertain shape of French higher education, one where global liberal pressures will have to embrace the French tradition of civil service.
Cecile Hoareau is a researcher in the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Her article "Globalisation and Dual Modes of Higher Education Policymaking in France: Je t'aime moi non plus" is available on the CSHE site.

Posté par pcassuto à 02:33 - - Permalien [#]

GLOBAL: Do rankings promote trickle down knowledge?

http://www.universityworldnews.com/layout/UW/images/logoUWorld.gifBy Ellen Hazelkorn. During the 1980s, US President Ronald Reagan promulgated a strategy for economic growth based on cutting the top tax bracket from 70% to 50% and then to 28%. 'Trickle down' economics or 'Reaganomics' argued that putting more money in the hands of the elite would create more jobs and lessen inequality. International evidence, however, shows the results have been the opposite of the one predicted: while there is some benefit eventually for those who are relatively poor, the distribution of income and wealth has been increasingly unequal. In fact, the huge budget deficits facing many countries today are the result of the low taxation policies favoured by this strategy.
Is there a lesson here for the way rankings are being used to justify concentrating resources in a few elite universities? Has self-interest become confused with public interest? For many governments, the world-class university has become the panacea for ensuring success in the global economy. This is especially true in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, albeit the trends were apparent before this. Institutions and nations are constantly measured against each other using indicators of global capacity and potential in which comparative and competitive advantages come into play, as part of a wider geo-political struggle. These factors are driving governments and institutions to make profound changes to their higher education systems, pursue more elite agendas, alter their education programmes and privilege some disciplines and fields of inquiry in order to conform to indicators set by global rankings.
Three brief implications of this phenomenon:
1- Excellence initiatives

France, Germany, Russia, Spain, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Finland, India, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Latvia - among many other countries - have launched 'excellence' initiatives to create what are euphemistically called 'world-class universities'. Individual US states (for example Texas and Kentucky) have also sought to build or boost flagship universities, elevating them to Tier One status, a reference to US News & World Report College Rankings. The prevailing response has been the neo-liberal model, which concentrates resources in a small number of elite universities, often referred to as the 'Harvard-here' model. The aim is to encourage greater vertical or hierarchical (reputational) differentiation between higher education institutions, with much greater distinction between research (elite) universities and teaching (mass) higher education institutions. Because few countries can afford the estimated EUR2 billion annually per institution required for a place among the world's top 20 without sacrificing other policy objectives, many governments are questioning their commitment to 'mass' higher education and asking whether their institutions are elite or selective enough. This comment by President Sarkozy in 2009 is typical: "We want the best universities in the world...How many universities do we have? 83? We're not going to divide the money by 83." Changes in UK funding policy are likely to intensify competition for elite students, increasing concentration in a handful of universities. Institutions have followed a similar strategy. There is mounting evidence of changes to admissions policies to attract more elite students because of the correlation between rankings and selectivity. This involves admitting students on a probationary or part-time basis or establishing associated colleges to hide weaker students from official data returns or limiting class or cohort size. Others have abandoned access or associated degree programmes because of their affect on graduation-completion rates.
2- The 'world-class teaching universities' retort

The over-emphasis on 'world-class' universities has provoked a retort which says we need not just 'world-class research universities' but also 'world-class teaching universities' - as if there are only two models. A much-criticised problem with rankings is their over-reliance on bibliometrics, which privileges basic big-lab research in the bio-medical sciences. But not only does this method value some disciplines, ideas and faculty as more important than others; it also assumes citation count is an appropriate measure of impact. It reduces research's contribution to society as something occurring only within the academy, and ignores the fact that global challenges require collaborative solutions and inter-locking knowledge and innovation systems. Likewise, assuming 'teaching' refers to educational provision, there is huge diversity in pedagogical, curricular, disciplinary approaches that is ignored by the simplicity of this construct. We would be aghast, for example, if all actors performed using the same technique! Not only is the diversity of institutional missions much broader than research versus teaching, but the attributes of research-teaching and 'world-class'-regional are not mutually exclusive.
3- The 'lift all boats' chorus

There is a strong and vocal chorus arguing that investment in a few elite universities or scientific disciplines will 'lift all boats'. This is based on the view that high-ranked universities are better than those lower ranked.
While it is true top-ranked universities produce the majority of all peer-reviewed papers, concentration is most relevant only in the four disciplines of 'big science'. However, it is not obvious that the elite model of knowledge creation will create sufficient, patentable or transferable knowledge that can be exploited and used by society. Indeed, there is mounting evidence that concentration could reduce overall national research capacity with specific "knock-on consequences for regional economic performance and the capacity for technology innovation", according to the 2003 Lambert Review.
The key factor underpinning improved research performance is the total level of investment. But ultimately it is the capacity to translate new knowledge into new or improved products and services - none of which is measured by rankings. The 'world-class' concept has promulgated a model of higher education derived from a handful of well-established US elite universities with considerable budgets and endowment earnings. But, should higher education policy simply be about "producing hordes of Nobel laureates or cabals of tenure and patent bearing professors", according to a 2008 Lisbon Council document?
Higher education operates within a complex eco-system; fundamental changes will have long-lasting implications for society and the economy. Governments and universities must stop obsessing about global rankings and the top 1% of the world's 15,000 institutions. Instead of simply rewarding the achievements of elites and flagship institutions, policy needs to focus on the quality of the system-as-a-whole. There is little evidence that trickle-down works.
Professor Ellen Hazelkorn is Vice President of research and enterprise, dean of the Graduate Research School and head of the Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU) at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. Her book Rankings and the Reshaping of Higher Education. The Battle for World-Class Excellence, is published by Palgrave MacMillan, 2011.

Posté par pcassuto à 02:23 - - Permalien [#]

EUROPE: Access and quality are not mutually exclusive

http://www.universityworldnews.com/layout/UW/images/logoUWorld.gifBy Allan Päll. It is true that governments in many developed countries see the need to increase higher education attainment rates, as William Patrick Leonard points out. And he is certainly sadly correct to highlight that increasing student numbers is often seen as a purely fiscal measure. But his arguments about the need to define the potential of learners better, however true that might be in certain cases, do not convince me that changes are needed in our higher education system.
The system has had to adapt rapidly to globalisation and the increased role of market economics in the running of higher education institutions. Future students are being told that higher education yields the same economic benefits as it did several decades ago or that it is a highway to a secure life. And thus expectations are being driven up, leading students to accept high debt levels resulting from the normalisation of higher education.
The personal (economic) benefit is to a degree dependent on the state of a country's economy or the societal values being nurtured in its education system and beyond. But despite all the negative talk, it is clear that if rapid economic development is to continue, we need more highly educated people and that many developed countries are, for example, already falling behind in the numbers of engineers they need to develop. This means that we should prioritise the actual competencies that students gain from higher education, which will help them stay in employment and benefit society in the long term.
There is thus a broad argument for supporting investment in higher education because of the societal gains it offers. I would therefore argue that increasing the number of people aspiring to a qualification is not the core of the problem. Rather, it is the lack of an adequate response from policy-makers and universities to the issue of maintaining standards while engaging more learners. Furthermore, a crucial argument for widening participation is the empowering role that higher education plays. It would be wrong to advocate some form of exact way of measuring the potential of those who might be suited to be students as sometimes this only emerges when certain conditions are met. And that cannot happen if some people are excluded.
We should also keep in mind that in a number of countries, a stratification of higher education institutions has emerged in which the older, traditional institutions that are more prestigious are filled with students who were almost guaranteed a place in higher education due to their socio-economic or cultural standing in society. But these institutions don't always do as much in transforming and creating potential in individual learners as many other institutions that actively engage students who mainly come from different backgrounds. So the question quickly becomes one about what the mission of educators and higher education is and the added value they confer on society as a whole. And in this, we should bear in mind that much of the added value will be difficult to measure. But one could say that educating those who are the first in their family to go into higher education is an accomplishment in itself. Elite institutions may also benefit from the potential that widening participation measures tap into.
So how do we both widen participation and maintain the quality of higher education? It boils down to what we learn, why we learn it, and how we best do that - these are questions which are not at the forefront when only economic arguments for higher education are used by students, families, employers or politicians. Thus the situation described by Leonard should rather be seen as a perverse reaction that is triggered by a lack of incentives for people to stay in higher education. Unemployment and high dropout rates should not be seen as unintended consequences of a failure to appropriately meet an increased demand for higher education, because unemployment, especially long-term unemployment, is still much lower for people with a higher education qualification.
Indeed it is not only institutional support, as Catherine Montgomery writes, but the holistic system of learning that enables people to become engaged in higher education. We need to find out more about why people are not incentivised to benefit from higher education, and why students drop out. It's not necessarily about throwing more financial resources at higher education but about bringing people together. And fortunately, in a world where 'facebooking' has become a verb, this is much easier to achieve than ever before. Thus the reaction towards increasing numbers of learners should be a focus on their autonomy as individuals and learners. We should talk more about the teaching methodology we use, the flexibility of our curricula and the changes that need to be made to support widening participation. In one of our projects in the European Students' Union we rolled out a student-centred learning concept based on research in the area that highlights some key issues in relation to this.
One of the most important issues that emerged about the effectiveness of learning is that different individuals from different backgrounds learn and engage in higher education in different ways. However, often the environment in higher education institutions or the structure of the curriculum conform to the notion of students being essentially the same as they were 30 years ago, and are blind to diversity. This means that higher education is less effective than it could be. So, enrolling more students but failing to adapt to a more diverse student body simply shows that higher education institutions have not planned properly for widening participation and is not necessarily an argument for building a more selective system. The answer to the issues raised by Leonard lies in changing our teaching methodology rather than in trying to avoid change by locking universities' doors.
One interesting example that has driven change in Europe is the increase in student mobility. Many institutions and student organisations have had to adapt and build new support systems after realising that they could not accept international students without providing specific support or counselling to help them overcome the difficulties of cultural adjustment. And with many surveys and research confirming that international experience is more valued than ever, this will also help to break traditional understandings of learning in a higher education context. It will also require us to reconfigure our mindset to understand that failure is an opportunity to learn. But, as Montgomery cleverly points out, obstacles often come as a result of the gaps between disciplines and failure can be averted by the provision of the right learning environment. Resources in institutions should thus be weighted heavily towards making students more autonomous at the beginning of their studies and that would save money in the long term. In the end, it is a question of how we make the best use of learning for every individual.

Posté par pcassuto à 02:17 - - Permalien [#]