Tag Archives: higher education system

CfP: Conference on Higher Education Partnership Trends and Policy Issues between African and European Higher Education Institutions

The conference is organized by the Workgroup “Higher Education and Society in Africa” and will take place at Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth on 3-4 November 2016.

Deadline of submission is 10 June 2016.

Please find the full call for papers here.

Impressions from 2015 EFMD Higher Education Conference in Oxford

On the 3rd and 4th of June Jetta Frost, Fabian and me attended the 2015 EFMD Higher Education Research Conference in the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. The Conference dealt with “The Legitimacy and Impact of Business Schools and Universities”.

The first day was opened with a keynote address of Jeffrey Pfeffer who shed light on current student culture in business schools in a slightly critical manner and reflected on the role and responsibility of business schools in society. The first parallel sessions dealt with reputation, rankings and the legitimacy of the business school and competition and change in higher education. They offered interesting perspectives on topics like the relations between states, universities and business schools, institutional change in the higher education system and competition. The second parallel sessions dealt with rankings, markets and performance in higher education and the legitimacy of Chinese universities and business schools. Fabian showed the audience how the effects of performance measurement in academia can be captured through a multiple-dimensional framework of scholars’ organizational identification and gained some positive and constructive feedback. The first day was concluded with a keynote address of Mats Alvesson who took the audience on a really entertaining trip through several paradoxes of the current higher education and business school system.

The second day was introduced with a keynote of Alis Oancea who presented the audience how the impact of research is related to several values in several societal spheres and how this relation can be systematized. The parallel sessions dealt with the meaning and significance of business school impact and the entrepreneurial activities and legitimacy of universities and business schools. They offered interesting perspectives on topics like the strengthening of higher education institutions legitimacy or the complexity of higher education institutions impact. At the end Andrew Pettigrew took leave in the name of the organisational team and named the conference “best EFMD-Conference so far”.

Beside the interesting content of the presentations we could enjoy the impressive atmosphere of Oxford. We visited many of the 38 colleges that constitute the University of Oxford. On wednesday we had our dinner in the hall at Balliol College, which is the oldest Oxford College that has a lot of famous absolvents, inter alia Adam Smith and a few prime ministers. On the whole it was a really nice conference in an inspiring environment. We are looking forward to next year’s EFMD Higher Education Research Conference!

Retrospection on the Panel discussion "Career System Higher Education"

On November 8-9th, we visited the “Workshop Career System Higher Education” in Tübingen, hosted by another BMBF-funded research group. Several topics around career issues in higher education were discussed in a nice, collegial, and constructive atmosphere. Fabians presentation “Governance Logics in Universities: Organizational Change as Oscillating Conversations” was stimulating, especially concerning the qualitative steps involved in the research process. Closing the workshop, Susanne Warning, Dieter Timmermann, and Axel Schlinghoff have been invited for a panel discussion moderated by Oliver Fabel. In the following, some interesting issues of the panel discussion are summarized:

In general downplay of teaching in favor of research for tenure decisions is omnipresent. However, professors experienced the demand of teaching evaluations in recent application processes. The university of Bielefeld even provides variable payments for their tenured professors when they receive good teaching evaluations. So, teaching qualities do play a role, although they are still difficult to evaluate. But at the same time, teaching loads become more and more negotiable in appointment processes.

According to the panel this might be explained by an increased international mobility of academics: when German universities want to attract international academics, they might adapt international standards and therefore lower the teaching workload for high performing researchers. In this context, experiences abroad during early career strages will be a more and more important criteria of tenure decisions.

The move towards cumulative dissertations and habilitations was seen critically, as it might hinder developing complex thoughts – of course, to write a book is a different effort of writing than writing a paper. Anyway, the trend towards cumulative works seems to go hand in hand with the modularization of study programs. It was argued, that further investigating the connection between “bulimia-learning” and “publication-slicing” could provide further insights on standardization in academia.

The few statements of the HRK (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz) concerning new career opportunities may serve as an indicator for a neglected topic. The panel agreed, that another career perspective might be established in the near future: The secretary position in the classical sense may not be useful for professors anymore as new task requirements arise. Ergo, these positions should be transformed into science service management positions. That might imply allocating that positions at departmental levels (not chairs). Once redesigned, this science support position might be a carreer alternative for young academics with PhDs.

The last part of the debate was concerned with setting a research agenda: there are strong demands for empirical testing behavioral effects of monetary incentive systems in science – instead of further theoreizing about negative and positive effects. For example, when analyzing the widely supposed assumption of motivational crowding out effects, it is often forgotten, that the peer review system with non-pecuniary reputation as the currency already functions by extrinsic motivation at least to some extent. Although widely analyzed in settings apart from the science sector, it is still questionable in what way managerial governance and performance payment systems change the behavior of scholars.

Institutional Change in Higher Education in Germany and the Emergence of the Entrepreneurial University

Another paper is going to be presented at the Higher Education Research Conference in Zürich: Markus Reihlen, Ferdinand Wenzlaff, and Johann Bronstein Bejarano (all from Leuphana University of Lüneburg) attempted to provide a broader understanding of the emergence of entrepreneurial universities. A key argument is that academic entrepreneurship is a response to the institutional change of the higher education field. Therefore the drivers of change and the properties of the eras of higher education must be explained. You find the abstract here:

Within the last 60 years, the German system of higher education has transformed gradually from professional dominance inspired by the Humboldtian model of a rule-governed community of scholars based on values of free inquiry, academic autonomy, and self-regulation into a new regime of managed education. On the macro level, we contribute to the very little research, synthesizing existing findings into a broader, longitudinal analysis of the institutional changes that have unfolded during the postwar period. We develop a better understanding of the societal and managerial issues of the transition and change by employing a theoretical framework of organizational institutionalism by identifying three eras of educational systems in post war Germany: the era of professional dominance, the era of federal involvement and democraticzation, and the era of managed education associated with the rise of the entrepreneurial university. For each era we expound the characterizing institutional logics, actors and governance systems as well as the mechanisms or events which triggered change. On the micro level, very little empirical research has been conducted on the specific institutional conditions, change processes, and practices of entrepreneurial universities in the German context. By illustrating a unique case of one of the most radical transformations of a university in the German postwar period, we contribute to the research gap how a more traditional public university is turned into an entrepreneurial one as a strategic response to institutional change.