28 août 2011

Globalisation and higher education -Rankings as globalization

http://uv-net.uio.no/wpmu/wp-content/blogs.dir/9/old-media/OUlogo230.jpgCHERI’s ‘last report’ has now been published. It is entitled Higher Education and Society in Changing Times: Looking back and looking forward. As the title suggests, the report looks back at developments in higher education, roughly over the lifetime of CHERI, but it also looks forward to the future, to the challenges facing higher education and at the changes that can be expected in the coming years.
Globalisation and higher education, by Roger King

The social structure of global higher education, both inter-state relations and the more a-territorial conceptions of global networks and national borderlessness, has become increasingly ‘thicker’ in recent years. Social interaction is now more intense, extensive, and elaborated between the individuals, institutions and states that constitute global higher education than two decades ago. Moreover, policy internationalization and diffusion, leading to isomorphism and similar forms of policy ‘synchrony’ between higher education states, appear widespread and characterized by such models as the New Public Management (NPM) and the Global Research University (GRU). International organizations such as the OECD, the WTO, the EU, and UNESCO have become more prominent and influential in higher education; and global rankings of universities have begun to exert powerful forces on both national states and many of their higher education organizations.
Prominent elements of globalization can be understood as the growth of shared forms of social coordination as the world reconstitutes itself around a series of networks – increasingly interlinked – that are strung around the globe on the basis of increasingly advanced communication technologies. By ‘network’ we refer to an interconnected group of people linked to one another in a way that makes them capable of beneficial collaboration (such as through the exchange of goods in markets, or through the exchange of ideas, or by possessing a common language). The way in which these networks operate, however, depends on the standards, the models - the norms of practice - that the individuals in them share, in a similar manner, say, to how standardized but technical protocols or codes enable computer networks to function.
Globalization is characterized increasingly in higher education by the worldwide dominance of particular models and ideas, which follows a process of diffusion best explained, at least after a certain level of adoption of the model, by social network and normative pressures on agents rather than necessarily following strictly rationalist calculation by such agents. Some models, such as the NPM, become widely diffused across a range of quite different local circumstances. As we shall explore, the fact that social relations such as networks and their standards are largely a function of ideas, does not hide the fact that they nonetheless confront actors (not necessarily oppressively) as external social facts with real, objective effects. Inequality and exploitation exist even when they are constituted predominantly by ideas rather than material resources. The meaning of power and the content of interests in such networks of social relations are constituted by knowledge (including the shared ideas found, for example, in the relations of production in capitalist economies, as outlined by Marx).
Yet it continues to remain important to avoid the perils at the other end of the agent-social structure continuum - the ‘over-socialisation’ that may occur, for example, in some theories of ‘world polity’ where actors are viewed as simply enacting global cultural scripts, sustained by symbolic and other rituals of legitimation, and producing forms of isomorphism and homogeneity within the global system as a direct cultural consequence.
In summary,
1) The global higher education structure predominantly is a social rather than a material phenomenon. As the basis of sociality is shared knowledge we may regard the system as being predominantly structured ideationally and as characterized by a distribution of knowledge – the socially-constituted beliefs and expectations that individuals, universities, and states respectively have of each other. Although material power and interests are still important, their meaning and consequences rest upon the system’s social structure. Moreover, the idea of social construction incorporates what is sometimes referred to as a ‘productive’ or discourse-generated sociality. For example, globalization has been created as a powerful discursive construct, by signs and significations in language. Yet, we retain the view that materiality and realism have their part to play in our social theories, that globalization refers to real observable developments upon which discursive notions of globalization then depend for their believability, as somehow referring to a materiality ‘out there’. Globalization is not simply a made-up fiction. Nonetheless, politicians and others are able to harness the discursive power of such constructs to argue rhetorically for a range of ‘inevitable’ policy directions, for strong or lighter regulation of the banks, for example.
2) The global system of higher education as much constructs agent identity and interests as reflecting them, although construction at the national domestic level remains important for both states and universities. Nonetheless, their identities are increasingly made possible by, and are embedded, in a global systemic environment.
Global sociality

Simon Marginson (2010a), in analyzing the effects on the knowledge economy of the communicative globalization of the contemporary age (‘the emergence of one-world systems operating in real time in communication, information and finance’), emphasizes the importance of agency, reflexivity, choice, and ‘imaginings’ in creating our global spatiality and the projects that both extend and take advantage of it. Both the socially-constructed and the more materialist self-organizing individual – in our terms - seem to be necessary for such an analysis, which stresses openness, creativity, and change. Yet, as Marginson notes, there are also less open dynamics at work in the global arena that a social theory of global higher education needs to take into account. These include ‘strategies of closure’, the attempts to maintain and promote status, power, identity, and material resources by shutting out the competition. Preserving ‘first-mover’ advantages, through instruments of status hierarchy and exclusive ownership (exemplified, respectively, by university rankings and intellectual property), are as much a dynamic of global space as openness and meritocracy. Some of the models and templates that help serve such processes of closure (the systems of research performance evaluation advocated by elite universities, for example) come to possess properties of dominance and marginalization.
The impact of social marginalization and exclusion as forms of power in the current global age are underlined by strong urges held by individuals: to communicate and empathize with others as human beings, to value common understandings, and to desire to be connected socially in an electronically-mediated world. These human attributes tend to produce imitative behaviour of many kinds (or ‘global synchrony’, see Marginson 2010a and 2010b). Simon Marginson (2010a: 138-9) illustrates these processes well (using the term ‘institution’ to apply to what we have referred to as ‘organization’). He notes that ‘imitation is a means of entering systems and signalling empathy with their requirements’. In policy terms, ‘voluntary convergence is apparent in the reform of higher education institutions in many nations to bring them closer to the dominant template, that of the comprehensive, science-based university on Anglo-American lines. This form of institution, which could be called the Global Research University, is powerfully valorized by university ranking systems. At bottom, national systems want to synchronize effectively with each other; the individual institutions want to synchronize with each other; and both want to be seen to do so....in the global knowledge economy all nations, and all institutions, share desires for global capacity, connectedness and success as measured by recognized templates. At bottom they do so because they have been drawn together into the single interdependent system of the global knowledge economy to which isolation is punished and there is no choice but to engage...the spontaneous synchronies of individual scholars with each other, researchers with each other, and institutions with each other are matched by mimetic approaches in government’.
Only the USA appears able to stand apart from such processes but it is the American model that provides the global exemplars, and world university rankings reinforce the strength of dominant models. Yet Marginson’s research indicates that all university leaders value the connectivity of consortia and other networks, often as much symbolically as instrumentally. Moreover, the accelerating conceptual notion of global ‘networks’ provides encouragement to the view that connectivity is vital. However, global university rankings effectively enjoin universities to be sure to connect with those of similar status (exceptionally, as Simon Marginson notes, the commercial exploitation of international student markets sees a relaxing of such injunctions in favour of economic joint ventures by those universities with differential statuses but a potentially lucrative division of market resources that can be operationalized to maximize earnings and ‘share’).
Consequently, Marginson notes that cross-border research collaborations and university partnerships are expanding quickly. He refers to Castells (2000) who describes the dynamic of networks as inherently expansionary. That is, when networks grow, the costs rise in a linear fashion but the advantages outstrip these as a result of a much higher volume of connections. Consequently, the disadvantages for being outside the network expand considerably (we consider this notion of ‘power as exclusion’ in more detail in our later discussion of network power, including as found in global higher education). Following Bourdieu, Marginson highlights the ‘field of power’ in the domain of global higher education which both includes and excludes: ‘the global power of the sub-field of restricted production (in the elite) rests on the exclusion of most institutions and nations from the global field and the subordination of the rest’. Although, as sustained by global rankings and international comparators of research performance, status rather than economic hierarchy predominantly characterizes the higher education domain, nonetheless this can often be parlayed into considerable financial holdings, as found amongst the high-status, richly-endowed Ivy league universities in the USA. But high student selectivity and a global lead in knowledge formation, rather than mass growth, is the key to value for universities in both status (predominantly) and economic hierarchization.
As we have noted, a key concept here is ‘synchrony’, or concurrence, or imitative similarity, which derives from sociability and the urge for meaningful connection to others. Consequently, ‘synchrony is more than simply establishing a communicative link across borders...it is part of the process of imagining ourselves close to those in distant locations’ (Marginson 2010b). It is often based on loose, frequently disposable, and fluid connections between people that are sustained in the current globalization predominantly through the Internet. Global research and science is increasingly ‘synchronized’ in this way despite the close regulatory and funding interest in such activity by national governments. Global model diffusion is not new, of course. Since the Treaty of Westphalia states have long regarded themselves as not only independent (at least for domestic purposes) but also as equal and often quite similar to each other in their ‘nationhood’ (Jakobi 2009). In Asia, for example, where learning from Western liberal democracy and capitalism is long-established, states are reforming their higher education systems to generate more international outlooks and connections as a means of enhancing creativity and innovation, economically and culturally. The Chinese government lays heavy stress in encouraging its leading universities to ally with world-class universities abroad, while Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan are seeking to raise the quality of their higher education systems through accessing high-status global higher education networks. In some cases, such movements are the product of imitative (or risk-avoiding) action by universities; in other cases, national states adopt templates and models from elsewhere and broadly impose them on their systems. The emergence of global benchmarks and rankings serve to reinforce such tendencies.
This global diffusion is hardly composed of independent events as their ‘wave-like’ unrolling suggests high levels of interdependence (King 2009; Wildavsky 2010). As we shall see, the pressures predominantly are normative, encompassing voluntary elements of emulation, learning, and imitation, but increasingly with diffusion of powerful models becoming more heavily and structurally constraining and ‘involuntary’ as a consequence of the sheer weight of existing model adopters. This is not to suggest a uniform convergence; both local conditions and the position of individual states in the world economy generate variations in model adoption and clustering based on location in the ‘world system’ of economic relationships, but the essential ‘DNA’ of the models remain. Although a number of explanations are offered for global model diffusion, such as US hegemonic promotion (although US higher education is quite inward-looking compared to many nations), and technological and politically-induced national competitiveness and globalization, here we focus more on how particular states find their own decisions increasingly hedged in by the prior choices of other states. Particular models and standards establish the means of access to important social networks by setting the conditions for interaction. This is a social process of accelerating structural power that establishes the constraints that strongly influence agent beliefs and action, in ways analogous to the programming of network protocols (Castells 2000).
Global culture

It is useful to conclude these early sections on social theory with a reference to what has been termed ‘world polity theory’ or the idea of globalization as an enactment of world culture, not least because of its applied empirical work in organizational and higher education studies. World polity theory strongly employs a cultural ontology and epistemology (including the notion of symbolic rituals) in both understanding and explaining social reality and explicitly avoids notions of material causality (Boli and Lechner 2009: 332). Meyer (2006), a leading exponent, highlights the culturally and institutionalized embedded nature of agency. In education, for example, schooling has advanced, in a self-propelling and self-generating manner, in all regions of the world. It has become regarded as a sign of ‘nationhood’ (rather than necessarily because it fulfils economic functions) and its rise has been independent of a nation’s ‘material’ characteristics, such as levels of economic development. Formal education has become a global process, mandated effectively by global culture that nations ignore at considerable loss of esteem and standing. It is a standard feature of a global cultural model of the state (Frank and Gabler 2006; Meyer 1994).
Many other features of the modern world have similarly ‘gone global’, such as the widespread worldwide extension of women’s rights, the initial adoption of which originally following pressures from nationally-based movements but which eventually snowballed into ‘a global script’ for nearly all nations once the model became consolidated (Finnemore and Sikkink 1999). Thus, in this view actors (such as states and other organizations) enact the cultural models that the wider, increasingly global culture provides (nations generally claim, however, that such actions follow processes undertaken on the grounds of rational calculation, values, and interest, although this often may be construed as after-the-event rationalization). The result of these global cultural scripts
is a considerable structural and rhetorical isomorphism exhibited by states and other organizations in their organizational structures. Imitative behaviour by states may be particularly noted when they are located in environments of considerable complexity and uncertainty, and where the requirements for legitimacy (an objective for states as they adopt cultural scripts) are particularly strong.
In these world culture models, international governmental bodies (OECD, UNESCO, WTO, and so on) are influential formers and transmitters, as are increasingly international non-governmental or civil society actors, not least the economics profession, formulating and pushing normative claims derived from the global moral order. Undoubtedly, such an approach can be highly suggestive. In the field of higher education, for example, Jakobi (2009:2) evidences recently what is described as ‘the emergence of an international norm that sees the promotion of Lifelong Learning as a necessity for modern statehood’. Jakobi skilfully demonstrates its promotion as tied to other cultural ideas, such as those for economic competitiveness, democracy, and participation. More especially, she regards international organizations (the OECD particularly) as playing a large part in constructing and globally diffusing the model of Lifelong Learning. The result is that ‘there appears to be little choice over whether or not governments address Lifelong Learning issues’; they are compelled to do so culturally. International organizations are thus moving the locus of education policymaking from national to global referents. Consequently, the widespread policy adoption of Lifelong Learning is driven by policy goals found at the global level and appears little if any connected to particular national circumstances. The result is a strongly homogenizing process as states converge around globally-shared ideas.
Although world culture models of this kind are valuable in helping to construct a social theory of global higher education, there is a danger that the agency dynamics of change, innovation, and structural diffusion become over-determined by culture. It is still necessary to explore the processes of power and contestation that underlie global cultural processes and this involves a consideration of global networks and the often powerful role of universalizing models and standards.
International standards

Here we draw on aspects of network theory as discussed above and the observations on social connectivity made by Castells (2009) and Marginson (2010a; 2010b). Globalization is a form of social coordination, expressed in the growth and inter-linkage of networks worldwide. It is characterized by the sphere of sociability and the desire of individuals to interact with each other in networks or run the risk of social marginalization. This includes governmental policymakers and their interconnections, too. Networks are governed by standards. Rather like diplomatic and computer protocols, standards enable network members to access one another. They are necessary to regulate relationships, as members are independent and not formally organized hierarchically. Interdependence occurs, therefore, on the basis of independence. Outside the standards there is no network. The standards are used as structures and resources by agents to constitute the space, the network, through their interactions and thus to reproduce and, over time, potentially to change the character and the power of the network. The emergence of international standards particularly has enabled us to coordinate our actions on a worldwide scale, facilitated by the modern technological compression of space. Dominant standards or models enabling global social coordination – the conventions, rules, norms, languages, and so on – display a form of network power (Grewal 2008). But as well as enabling access to one another, they also tend to elevate one solution (set of standards, a model) for solving coordination problems above others and threaten the elimination of alternative solutions.
When we say that dominant or universalizing models have ‘network power’, we mean that they have the capacity to pull in people who are current non-adopters. This derives from their normative strength as indexed by the number and status of users, an attraction which accelerates particularly once a certain threshold of adoption has been reached. Although the temptation is to use concepts such as ‘snowballing’ we need to be careful here, as individual autonomy – choice - is still at work; adoption is not inevitable or the result of overwhelming – ‘knockout’ – force. Rather, late-adopters come to the view that any rationalistic evaluation of the merits of competing models is almost hopeless as the normative strength of the universalizing model accelerates the disadvantages – the costs – of other standards and models as coordination solutions for networks. Dominant models privilege access to powerful networks as forms of worldwide social coordination. Consequently, network power implies that: a) standards are more valuable when greater numbers of people use them, thus constituting network membership; and b) that after a certain’ tipping point’ or level of adoption of a model, their pulling power to non-adopters gains increased velocity. Such a capacity serves as a structural – a cultural - constraint on individual choice. Such choice consequently feels increasingly non-autonomous (unfree). Such constraints are both liberating and entrapping – the standards provide access to important networks but, locally, they appear as being difficult to influence.
Thus, in the applied context of global higher education, national policymakers make higher education policy, for example, in the context of decisions taken by other autonomous states. And the choices of other countries produce constraints (and opportunities) that can lead to policy convergence and isomorphism through increasingly common model adoption. The models and standards that other states adopt can result in mechanisms of strong structural inhibition. The human search for connectivity and synchrony reinforces the network power of universalizing models. Policymakers are nearly always confronted by structuration dynamics, in which the free choices of individual agents (here, national states) generate structures of constraint which then act back on individual choice.
Of course, standards and models usually are rather abstract and generic entities. It is this very generalizability and transposability that allows solutions to apparently similar problems worldwide. Yet ‘domestication’ and the relative malleability of models do not necessarily hinder the increasing appeal of such models (rather they may enhance it) and the inherent core of the model is generally retained in global diffusion.
Private standards and sociability

Global university rankings especially are establishing influential models that exhibit the characteristics of network power. They confront university leaders with processes of structuration – rankings are utilized by those in higher education for their own purposes and in the context of being confronted by structures over which they have little control but feel forced to take serious account of as having major external and internal impacts. Rankings thus strongly constrain their purposeful options, despite such actors being formally free to set their own courses of action. Yet these very practices then ensure the social reproduction of such structures as key universalizing models.
The dynamics of league table power have emerged, for the most part, through private forms of standardization and sociability. Rankings have developed less as an act of collective decision-making and deliberative democracy (sovereignty) than from the accumulation of decentralized, individual decisions (to produce them, to use them) that, taken together as acts of sociability, produce a set of structural constraints for higher education actors.
Ideal typically we can distinguish two routes through which our social relations (including the mediating role of standards) take form. One is through an accumulation of decentralized, individual decisions that come to constitute over time large-scale social structures, including global standards and models, which coordinate users in worldwide networks. This is a form of power through sociability, or connectivity and synchrony, as outlined in earlier sections, and are found in markets as well as in, say, global science. The other route is when our social relations take place through political procedures (sovereignty or governmentalism). This works not through the collection of many individual decisions aggregated over time but through instances of collective decision-making by specially constituted (such as democratically-elected) political bodies.
Of course, in real situations sovereignty and sociability intermingle. The growing range of state-collected and other standardizing data on universities has made possible – and credible – the idea of formalizing and disseminating judgements on the hierarchical standing of universities as found in higher education league tables (and at an affordable cost). Governments have sought increased information about the institutions that they fund as part of policymaking and accountability objectives. This public function provides a key underpinning for the private authority exercised by the league table compilers. The decision by the EU to devise its own ‘alternative’ multidimensional global ranking system (to include the non-natural sciences, and teaching and learning indicators) and to ‘softly’ regulate other rankings may be regarded as an attempt to return university rankings to processes of sovereignty and governmentalism.
Consequently, consent to power is provided in two distinct ways. Either, as in relations of sociability, individuals consent to their individual circumstances through their (individual) choice-making. This, of course, is strongly structured by the choices of others, in the same way that one’s own choices affect the circumstances that others face (for example, in accepting the influence of league tables and acting so that they continue to be reproduced as structures of constraint). Or, alternatively, consent may be more expressly provided through a general consent to decisions undertaken collectively and properly by representatives effectively mandated to take them (by such representatives winning elections, for example, which provides some form of initial social contract by the people for them to undertake such decisions). While the former is consent through sociability, the latter is a found within sovereignty or governmentalism. University rankings take the first route: they elicit consent from higher education participants as social structures formed by decentralized sociability and its consent, not by acts of collective governmentalism. The consent flows from free but increasingly constrained choice-making.
Here we need a theory of structuration that ties together social structure and individual agency. Our social structures are both the product of our individual actions but also their grounding; that is, structures pattern or recursively organize our action as well as being reproduced across time and space by such actions. Thus, with university rankings, for example, we must be able to articulate why actors choose within a context that is itself highly constrained by the prior and simultaneous choices of others.
Rankings and network power

The data in rankings are subject to a variety of treatments by the compilers – they are not simply neutral. Outcomes are heavily influenced by the importance that the publishers attach to particular factors. The rankings do more than provide listings but are premised on a view of what higher education should be like as these are expressed in the criteria that the compilers operate. That is, the tables constitute standards and benchmarks for assessing the modern university. The major rankings (especially the two primary global ones, the SJTUAWRU and the THE) and the standards they promulgate display forms of network power which increase the more that their findings are taken up and utilized to constitute networks – which both include and exclude. That is, whatever the intrinsic merits of such tables, the models they promote have the power to coordinate various worldwide university strategies through the sheer weight and accumulation of stakeholders using them. Thus, they achieve a form of global ordering by elevating one approach or set of standards over others and threaten the elimination of alternative standards. University and other decision-makers are not forced to follow university rankings – their choices are as free agents – but increasingly such choices are involuntary as the global league tables especially generate universalizing and dominating templates and structures that inevitably act back on organizational strategies. These are processes of structuration.
Sauder and Espeland (2009) puzzle as to why relatively loose-coupled organizations such as universities that are well-versed in fending off external intrusions (such as by governmental quality assurance agencies) by engaging in forms of regulatory ritualism and symbolic compliance to secure legitimacy and to meet public expectations without disrupting basic activities, thus ‘buffering’ themselves from these outside influences, seem unable to do so in the case of university rankings. Taking law schools, they point to the influence of rankings at the heart of the organization as possessing high strategic force. ‘Rankings have changed the fundamental activities of law schools, transforming, for instance, how actors make decisions, do their jobs, and think about their schools.’ They apply Foucault’s notion of ‘discipline’ and the associated processes of surveillance and normalization to show how rankings alter perceptions of legal education in ways that are both coercive and seductive (Foucault 1980). Such processes reinforce tendencies to internalize the pressure of rankings and become ‘self-disciplining’. And why do university staffs internalize rankings? Rankings generate a form of psychic anxiety and an allure to do well in them, or to manipulate them. Even resistance promotes their increasing internalization as a guide to organizational and personal standing by generating an entanglement, a relationship that becomes invested in as a point of reference.
Sauder and Espeland, following Foucault, thus categorize rankings as a form of disciplinary power that act through processes of surveillance and normalization to change how both internal and external stakeholders view the field of legal education. Law schools become turned inside out and, unremittingly, are made ‘visible’ by rankings ( such tables are simple, transparent, and widely-known media products that are broad in scope, easily de-contextualized, and circulate readily): they become legible to external ‘outsiders’, and thus more ‘controllable’ by them. Yet this has the effect of generating forms of self-management as a result of changing university perceptions, expectations, and behaviour. Even ‘gaming the system’ or selectively using ‘the good parts’ of rankings in media promotions reinforces the acceptance of the field-constituting properties of rankings and indeed extends them through a process of seduction. Universities absorb, modify, but essentially incorporate rankings within the culture of the organization – rankings become ‘naturalized’ as structural and cultural phenomena. No one can feel safe and untouched while the fear persists that everyone else is trying to improve their rank (Hazelkorn 2011; Wedlin 2006).
University rankings are therefore constitutive of power relations that are everywhere. They provide norms of practice (models and standards) as a form of structural power, a classificatory system that both constitute agents as forming a particular ‘field’ (as equivalent items) but also by providing the means to differentiate them through processes of comparison and monitoring in a highly legible way. The notion of connectivity – and the threat of exclusion or marginalization – is useful here to account for universities conforming to normative standards that many disavow publicly. Not to be included in a ranking is worse than appearing at the very bottom: at least at the bottom of the table, the organization has been constituted as legitimate. It may not be perceived as possessing high status; rather it is confirmed in its low reputation. But at least it has been confirmed as existing in its defined field as a legitimate actor and is thus is better located than the zombie land inhabited by those entities that do not even merit inclusion (global rankings by definition are quite exclusive, but also some national rankings do not provide full coverage within their territory, using as exclusionary criteria factors such as organizational size, subject coverage or, in the case of business or professional schools, the lack of accreditation).
Conclusion: Rankings as globalization

In earlier sections we noted that prominent elements of globalization can be understood as the rise to dominance of shared standards for mediating social coordination. Global rankings and their standards especially are emerging to enable universities to coordinate their actions on a worldwide scale. They are examples of network power, which emerges in processes of structuration when a particular solution to a coordination game becomes a dominant point of reference – a universalizing standard – and attains a capacity to ‘pull in’ those who might otherwise rely on alternative models and standards. The standards gaining global prominence are not the products of common public deliberation but seem to emanate from and privilege certain higher education systems, such as those of the USA and others in the West.

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Hazelkorn, E. (2011) ‘Measuring World-class Excellence and the Global Obsession With Rankings’, in King, R., Marginson, S. and Naidoo, R. (eds) Handbook of Globalization and Higher Education, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (in press).
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Sauder, M. and Espeland, W. (2009) ‘The Discipline of Rankings: Tight Coupling and Organizational Change’, American Sociological Review, 74, 1, February, 63-82.
Wedlin, L. (2006) Ranking Business Schools: Forming Fields, Identities and Boundaries in International Management Education, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Wildavsky, B. (2010) The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World, Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press.
CHERI’s ‘last report’ has now been published. It is entitled Higher Education and Society in Changing Times: Looking back and looking forward.

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APEC Higher Education Diploma Supplement Project

http://www.cshe.unimelb.edu.au/template-assets-custom/10/images/sub-banner-mastercshe.jpgBy Richard James (project director), Kerri-Lee Harris, Lynn Meek (LHMartin Institute), Grant Harman (CHEMP, UNE). Higher Education Diploma Supplements Among APEC Member.
Around the world, higher education graduates are increasingly mobile. Students travel abroad for their university study, and then look for recognition of their qualifications at home or elsewhere. Graduating domestic students seek further study or work in other systems or economies. And economies recognise the importance of a mobile and more global work force. It is in this context that many institutions and governments are commiting resources to the international recognition of qualifications and the general support of graduate mobility. This project was commissioned by the Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum. The project examined the nature and extent of diploma supplement developments in the APEC member economies (MEs). In addition, the project explored the possibilities for consensus around common elements and guiding principles for diploma supplements, and sought to identify any related capacity-building needs of MEs. 
The European Diploma Supplement (EDS), developed through collaboration by European nations, is by far the most important recent innovation of its type. Diploma supplements provide additional, ‘third type’ documentation to higher education graduates for the purpose of enhancing the information available to other educational destinations and to prospective employers. This enhanced documentation is in a form that supports international recognition of qualifications, facilitating interpretation of the aims and content of particular awards and the achievements of graduates.
Over the past two decades, use of the EDS has spread widely throughout Europe and beyond. Many European countries have made significant progress in introduction of diploma supplements and the momentum is set to continue. At recent Ministerial meetings on the Bologna Process held in Bucharest and Vienna, European countries have confirmed their commitment that each graduate in their respective countries should receive a diploma supplement – automatically, without charge, and in a major European language. Outside Europe there has also been considerable interest and activity. Australia, for example, is in the process of introducing its own version of a diploma supplement, known as the Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (Guidelines for the Presentation of the Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (May 2010). Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Australian Government. Accessed 15 Sept 2010). In New Zealand, the Tertiary Education Qualifications Statement is being introduced, following a period of economy-wide consultation and the publication of guidelines for implementation (Guidelines for Implementing a Tertiary Qualifications Statement for New Zealand, (2009). New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Wellington).
The European Diploma Supplement
The EDS consists of documentation issued to higher education graduates with the aim of improving international transparency and facilitating international recognition of higher education qualifications. The document is provided by higher education institutions and may be selfcontained or attached to other documentation, such as the ‘testamur’, ‘diploma’ or ‘degree certificate’. Following a standardised format, the EDS presents information on the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were successfully completed by the individual named on the qualification. It thus promotes transparency about higher education qualifications and enables employers and universities offering post graduate study an additional mechanism to make fair and informed judgements about the standing and content of particular qualifications. The EDS is designed as an aid to recognition, but it is not a curriculum vitae or a substitute for an original testamur.
European higher education institutions produce diploma supplements according to templates agreed to by their national ministries and/or higher education associations. The original EDS template (Outline Structure of the Diploma Supplement, European Commission - Education & Training) developed jointly by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES specified eight sections of information, identifying the holder of the qualifications, the name of the qualification, its level and function, the content and the results gained, certification of the supplement, details of the national higher education system of the country of issue, and other relevant information.
Further detail on the origin and evolution of the EDS is provided in Appendix 1. For graduates, the EDS offers:
• Documentation that is accessible and easily comparable abroad;
• A precise description of the qualification, including the key learning objectives; and
• An objective description of the student’s achievements and competencies.
A key outcome is that diploma supplements facilitate employability and help foster the international mobility of graduates and professional personnel.
For higher education institutions, the main benefits of the EDS are: the facilitation of academic and professional recognition through the increased transparency of qualifications; the assistance with making informed judgements about qualifications completed in other educational contexts; the improved employability of their graduates, both nationally and internationally; and the reduced time spent addressing external enquiries about the nature and status of their awards.
European nations have varied in their enthusiasm and support for the EDS and in the level and type of support provided to institutions. The United Kingdom, for example, began the implementation process relatively late but has since allocated Government resources to a special Higher Education Europe Unit located in the secretariat of Universities UK. This unit produced an implementation guide for institutions and, with other institutions, developed both model diploma supplements and agreed statements about the characteristics of the higher education systems of each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Diploma Supplement, Europe Unit).

Posté par pcassuto à 01:25 - - Permalien [#]

Peer Review in Academic Promotion and Publishing: Its Meaning, Locus, and Future

http://escholarship.org/brand/cshe/institute_logo.gifBy Harley, Diane and Acord, Sophia Krzys, University of California, Berkeley. PEER REVIEW IN ACADEMIC PROMOTION AND PUBLISHING: ITS MEANING, LOCUS, AND FUTURE. A Project Report and Associated Recommendations, Proceedings from a Meeting, and Background Papers.
Abstract: Since 2005, and with generous support from the A.W. Mellon Foundation, The Future of Scholarly Communication Project at UC Berkeley's Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) has been exploring how academic values—including those related to peer review, publishing, sharing, and collaboration—influence scholarly communication practices and engagement with new technological affordances, open access publishing, and the public good. The current phase of the project focuses on peer review in the Academy; this deeper look at peer review is a natural extension of our findings in Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines (Harley et al. 2010), which stressed the need for a more nuanced academic reward system that is less dependent on citation metrics, the slavish adherence to marquee journals and university presses, and the growing tendency of institutions to outsource assessment of scholarship to such proxies as default promotion criteria. This investigation is made urgent by a host of new challenges facing institutional peer review, such as assessing interdisciplinary scholarship, hybrid disciplines, the development of new online forms of edition making and collaborative curation for community resource use, heavily computational subdisciplines, large-scale collaborations around grand challenge questions, an increase in multiple authorship, a growing flood of low-quality publications, and the call by governments, funding bodies, universities, and individuals for the open access publication of taxpayer-subsidized research, including original data sets.
The challenges of assessing the current and future state of peer review are exacerbated by pressing questions of how the significant costs of high-quality scholarly publishing can be borne in the face of calls for alternative, usually university-based and open access, publishing models for both journals and books. There is additionally the insidious and destructive “trickle down” of tenure and promotion requirements from elite research universities to less competitive and non-research-intensive institutions. The entire system is further stressed by the mounting—and often unrealistic—government pressure on scholars in developed and emerging economies alike to publish their research in the most select peer-reviewed outlets, ostensibly to determine the distribution of government funds (via research assessment exercises) and/or to meet national imperatives to achieve research distinction internationally. The global effect is a growing glut of low-quality publications that strains the efficient and effective practice of peer review, a practice that is, itself, primarily subsidized by universities in the form of faculty salaries. Library budgets and preservation services for this expansion of peer-reviewed publication have run out. Faculty time spent on peer review, in all of its guises, is being exhausted.
As part of our ongoing research, CSHE hosted two meetings to address the relationship between peer review in publication and that carried out for tenure and promotion. Our discussions included: The Dominant System of Peer Review: Types, Standards, Uses, Abuses, and Costs; A Very Tangled Web: Alternatives to the Current System of Peer Review; Creating New Models: The Role of Societies, Presses, Libraries, Information Technology Organizations, Commercial Publishers, and Other Stakeholders; and Open Access “Mandates” and Resolutions versus Developing New Models.
This report includes (1) an overview of the state of peer review in the Academy at large, (2) a set of recommendations for moving forward, (3) a proposed research agenda to examine in depth the effects of academic status-seeking on the entire academic enterprise, (4) proceedings from the workshop on the four topics noted above, and (5) four substantial and broadly conceived background papers on the workshop topics, with associated literature reviews. The document explores, in particular, the tightly intertwined phenomena of peer review in publication and academic promotion, the values and associated costs to the Academy of the current system, experimental forms of peer review in various disciplinary areas, the effects of scholarly practices on the publishing system, and the possibilities and real costs of creating alternative loci for peer review and publishing that link scholarly societies, libraries, institutional repositories, and university presses. We also explore the motivations and ingredients of successful open access resolutions that are directed at peer-reviewed article-length material. In doing so, this report suggests that creating a wider array of institutionally acceptable and cost-effective alternatives to peer reviewing and publishing scholarly work could maintain the quality of academic peer review, support greater research productivity, reduce the explosive growth of low-quality publications, increase the purchasing power of cash-strapped libraries, better support the free flow and preservation of ideas, and relieve the burden on overtaxed faculty of conducting too much peer review. PEER REVIEW IN ACADEMIC PROMOTION AND PUBLISHING ITS MEANING, LOCUS, AND FUTURE.

Posté par pcassuto à 01:12 - - Permalien [#]

US Higher Education as an Export: It is about the money, but also much more

http://escholarship.org/brand/cshe/institute_logo.gifBy John Douglass, Richard Edelstein and Cecile Hoareau. In a new CSHE research paper, “US Higher Education as an Export,” John Aubrey Douglass, Richard Edelstein, and Cecile Hoaraeu discuss the role of higher education in the US’s portfolio of service sector exports.
The following brief is part of a larger study by the authors on the economic impact of international students and is drawn from a pending proposal to create a California Global Higher Education Hub in the San Francisco/Bay Area. Here, the authors state, “Higher education is the best export, not only because it is profitable and meets labor market and growth needs. Higher education also fulfills a diplomatic and cultural mission like no other form of trade. It diffuses the best of the US’s values across the world, strengthens the US’s image and international position and creates personal relationships which are ever so important in stabilizing the world’s global order.”
The authors argue that, “The US could, and should strategize, to double its enrollment of international students by 2020.” Currently, the US enrolls some 691,000 international students; these students pay tuition and fees estimated to a total of $13 billion dollars during the 2009-10 academic year. Discounting financial aid, and adding the cost of living expenses for students and their families, they estimate that the direct total economic impact of international students is nearly $19 billion a year.”
In his first year of office, and facing the challenge of an economy in severe decline, President Obama identified a key element for future economic growth for the US: we need to “export more of our goods.” The US trade deficit remains a source for other economic maladies, including huge personal and government borrowing to help buy goods and services from abroad that, in turn, has helped to sustain the quality of living for many Americans – or at least until the onset of the Great Recession. The Obama administration set a goal to double the exports of goods and services by 2015 – less than five years.
Is this an achievable goal? The fact is that the nation’s ability to significantly grow the export of non-high tech manufactured goods, or even natural resources, is fairly limited, even if the dollar declines in its value as many predict if US borrowing continues unabated. America’s most significant growth potential is probably in the service sector. This includes financial services, patent royalties and licensing fees, management and consulting, entertainment, telecommunications, and education.
Among the top service sectors in which the US had a trade surplus in 2008, education ranks sixth - more important than entertainment (Film, TV, Sports and the Arts), advertising and even communications.). Most of the “import” costs relate to US students going abroad for education programs.
“Higher education is the best export, not only because of it is profitable and meets labor market and growth needs,” they state. “Higher education also fulfills a diplomatic and cultural mission like no other form of trade. It diffuses the best of the US’s values across the world, strengthens the US’s image and international position and creates personal relationships which are ever so important in stabilizing the world’s global order.”
Download US Higher Education as an Export: It is about the money, but also much more.

Posté par pcassuto à 00:50 - - Permalien [#]
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Mergers and Higher Education Cooperation

http://uv-net.uio.no/wpmu/hedda/files/2011/08/fb-bg-240x300.pngHedda (Higher Education Development Association) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a one-day conference on 4th of November, 2011. The conference is themed “Mergers and Higher Education Cooperation”, and takes place at the University of Oslo, the coordinating institution of Hedda.
The conference includes presentations from leading international and Nordic researchers and experts, bringing together the expertise of researchers and the insights and experiences from top executives in merger processes.
The main target groups for the conference includes both researchers and administrators, as well as policymakers who work with issues related to higher education.
Registration deadline – 15th of October. The conference is free of charge, however, there is a limited number of places available.
The aim of the conference is to bring together research and practice, featuring keynotes from top international researchers in the field and providing the practical insights from people who have held top executive positions in a merger process. We have already confirmed three keynote speakers, including Dr. Leo Goedegebuure (LH Martin Institute, Australia), Dr. Sissel Østberg (former rector of Oslo University College) and Dr. Yuzhuo Cai (University of Tampere). Please note that additional keynote speakers will be added and updated information on the keynote speakers and the conference programme will be available on the conference website.
Keynote Speakers
Dr. Leo Goedegebuure has extensive experience in researching institutional mergers in various contexts, and he has published over 100 articles and approximately 15 books on topics linked to governance and management, system dynamics including large scale restructuring policies, university-industry relationships, and institutional mergers. Currently he is an associate professor and the Deputy Director of LH Martin Institute at University of Melbourne (Australia). Based on his extensive experience, he can provide up to date research based knowledge on institutional mergers.
Dr. Sissel Østberg has first hand knowledge of being involved in a merger process as a top executive. She was the rector for the Oslo University College (HiO) in Norway, during the time when the college was merged with Akershus University College, a process finished in 2011. She will be sharing some of her insights of this experience, adding to a further understanding of how these processes take place in practice.
Dr. Yuzhuo Cai is an assistant professor  at the Higher Education Group at the University of Tampere in Finland. He has been involved in a number of projects and authored  publications focusing on Finnish and Chinese higher education, both of these countries have experience with institutional mergers.

Posté par pcassuto à 00:37 - - Permalien [#]
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11º. Congreso Retos y Expectativas de la Universidad

http://www.archivos.ujat.mx/2011/Eventos/restos_expectativas/portada_retos.jpgLa Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, como sede del 11º. Congreso Retos y Expectativas de la Universidad, les espera en este foro que es un espacio de reflexión para la comunidad universitaria al que concurren investigadores, profesores, estudiantes y funcionarios administrativos en un ambiente plural y abierto a diversas temáticas, con el fin de comparar y compartir experiencias para lograr una mayor calidad y pertinencia de los servicios educativos. Este evento se celebrará del 5 al 7 de octubre de 2011, en las instalaciones del Centro Internacional de Vinculación y Enseñanza, en la ciudad de Villahermosa, Tabasco.
Objetivo General

Ofrecer un espacio académico de debate y conocimiento respecto de las diversas experiencias de innovación y generación de alternativas de las Instituciones de Educación Superior a nivel nacional e internacional.

El 11º. Congreso Internacional Retos y Expectativas de la Universidad representa un esfuerzo interinstitucional, principalmente de las universidades públicas de los estados e instituciones de educación superior de la República  Mexicana –en colaboración con la Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior (ANUIES)- que inició en el año 2000, a propuesta de la Universidad de Guadalajara. Desde ese año y hasta el presente, se ha configurado como un espacio de reflexión plural, horizontal e incluyente acerca de los asuntos sustanciales de la universidad, determinada históricamente por la responsabilidad social para la construcción de mejores realidades nacionales. La esencia y la misión de una universidad se define como una institución de carácter social, trascendente, dedicada a la formación de profesionales, la generación y aplicación del conocimiento, y a la difusión y preservación de la cultura.
Actualmente las sociedades contemporáneas se enfrentan al reto de proyectarse y adaptarse a un proceso de cambio que viene avanzando rápidamente hacia la construcción de sociedades del conocimiento. Este proceso es dinamizado esencialmente por el desarrollo de nuevas tendencias en la generación, difusión y utilización del conocimiento,  demandando la revisión y adecuación de muchas empresas y organizaciones sociales, así como la creación de otras nuevas con capacidad para asumir y orientar el cambio. Una sociedad del conocimiento es una organización con capacidad para generar, apropiar y utilizar el conocimiento para atender las necesidades de su desarrollo y así construir su propio futuro, convirtiendo la creación y trasferencia del conocimiento en herramienta de la sociedad para su propio beneficio, donde las IES tienen un papel importante.
Las nuevas tendencias están relacionadas con tres procesos muy dinámicos y de vasto alcance: la "informatización" de la sociedad, la globalización y las nuevas tecnologías. La convergencia y vertiginoso desarrollo de tecnologías relacionadas con la informática, las telecomunicaciones y el procesamiento de datos, y sus casi ilimitadas posibilidades de aplicación, están transformando las sociedades modernas en sociedades de la información. El proceso de "informatización", se ha constituido a su vez, en la base técnica del fenómeno de la globalización, puesto que ha posibilitado por primera vez en la historia superar las distancias y la dispersión geográfica, para poner en contacto grupos sociales de todo el mundo a un mismo tiempo. Aún cuando el fenómeno de la globalización se ha hecho más visible en el sistema económico, lo cierto es que tiene un impacto mucho más trascendente, en la medida en que está posibilitando el surgimiento de una verdadera sociedad global con el desarrollo de nuevos valores, actitudes y de nuevas instituciones sociales. Sin embargo, la revolución en las tecnologías y, sobre todo, en la tecnología de la información, no garantiza la trasferencia de conocimiento, sólo la facilita.
Asimismo nuestras universidades están llevando a cabo diversas, experiencias y construcción de alternativas, tanto en el ámbito de las TIC´s como se ha hecho referencia con antelación, como también en la docencia, en la investigación, en la innovación académica y organizacional para hacer frente a los retos de la sociedad del conocimiento. Los convocantes dan con ello continuidad a un esfuerzo magnífico que se ha desplegado a lo largo  de 10 años, pero ahora, buscando propiciar el intercambio de las experiencias y de transformación en el quehacer de las funciones sustantivas y adjetivas de la universidad.
Ello sin demérito del debate académico más amplio  y conceptual respecto del papel que juega la universidad en la construcción de una sociedad que aprovecha y valoriza los conocimientos, los nuevos aprendizajes y transferencia de la ciencia y la tecnología en el mejoramiento y desarrollo de nuestra sociedad.

Posté par pcassuto à 00:06 - - Permalien [#]
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