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University Dynamics and European Integration Peter Maassen Seminar NORPOL Project: Polish Higher Education and the European Higher Education and Research Areas. Comparative Analysis and the Transfer of Good Practices Poznan, 2-4 September 2009
European Higher Education Crisis? • Order vs Autonomy & Diversity • Four Visions on University Governance and Organisation • HE Reform in the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden • Conclusions
The European University faces a crossroads. One path leading to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to extinction. Let us pray that it has the knowledge to choose correctly (”Woody Allen”)
“After remaining a comparatively isolated universe for a very long period, both in relation to society and to the rest of the world, with funding guaranteed and a status protected by respect for their autonomy, European universities have gone through the second half of the 20th century without really calling into question the role or nature of what they should be contributing to society. The changes they are undergoing today and which have intensified over the past ten years prompt the fundamental question: Can the European universities, as they are and are organized now, hope in the future to retain their place in society and in the world?” (Commission 2003: 22)
Quotes…. “European higher education systems have fallen behind over the last few decades, in terms of participation, quality, and in research and innovation” “our Universities are being held back from delivering to society the various benefits that they could provide” “unless theetatistmentality is broken, European HE will not only fail to catch up with the US, but it will fall further behind in the years to come” “the latest ranking from Shanghai Jiaotong University finds that Europe may have boasted world-class universities before America even appeared on European maps, but today it is running behind in the quality of graduates it produces” “European universities suffer from poor governance, insufficient autonomy, and often perverse incentives”
“The challenge for Europe is clear. But so is the solution”
Claim: • Solutions will improve performance by changing practices and structures • developed over long historical periods, as well as conceptions of the proper • role of government in the economy and society. • But: • The remedies offered are celebrating private enterprises and competitive • markets and they can be seen as “one size fits all” remedies or • “solutions looking for problems” in all sectors of society.
For example: • link between autonomy and quality • link between management and performance • link between concentration and output • link between basic research and innovation In general, based on: Strong convictions, weak evidence
Example: Claimed gap between educational revenues per student for European public HEIs compared to US public higher education institutions Bruegel report (Aghion et al. 2008, p. 5): “the EU25 spends on average €8,700 per student versus €36,500 in the US” European Commission (2006): “there is a revenue gap of some €10,000 per student” NCHEMS (2007) / www.higheredinfo.org “In 2007 the revenues per full-time equivalent student (public appropriations and tuition revenues) were on average $10,618 for all public universities and colleges in the USA”
Post-Bologna Era • Bologna process absorbed into a complex set of processes, initiatives, • measures, policies aimed at further European integration of • Higher Education and Research. • Directives (e.g. Professional Recognition; Large Mammals in Research; • Admission of non-EU researchers: ‘Fast-track’ for Researchers’ visas ) • - European Area Integration Processes: • Copenhagen Process; • Ljubljana Process (aimed at ERA revival; launched 15.04.08) • European Qualification Framework (EQF) • European Research Council (ERC) • European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) • Boosting a single European labour market for researchers, incl. • pan-EU pension schemes for Researchers • - Erasmus Mundus Second Round (Budget € 1 billion), incl. PhD innovations
2. Order/Integration vs Disorder/Autonomy/Diversity • Clark (1983): • Forces that keep HE systems together • Forces that pull HE systems in different directions (diversity) Olsen (2007) • ”Europe in Search of New Political Order” • System level need for order • Need for Institutional autonomy (diversity/disorder)
How to create/maintain balance between order and disorder? Creating order in European HE systems traditionally national issue, i.e. national systems and adaptations of university autonomy Emergence of: European Higher Education Area / European Research Area Creating balance no longer solely a national issue; there is also a need to create a balance between a European order in HE and European university autonomy (’European Carnegie classification’)
3. Visions on University Governance and Organisation Two different views on the university: 1. Instrumental 2. Institutional
Four visions of university organization and governance • (derived from institutional view; Olsen 2007)
The university is a rule-governed community of scholars Constitutive logic: Identity based on free inquiry, truth finding, rationality and expertise. Criteria of assessment: Scientific quality. Reasons for autonomy: Constitutive principle of the university as an institution: authority to the best qualified. Change: Driven by the internal dynamics of science. Slow reinterpretation of institutional identity. Rapid and radical change only with performance crises.
The university is a representative democracy Constitutive logic: Interest representation, elections, bargaining and majority decisions. Criteria of assessment: Who gets what: Accommodating internal interests. Reasons for autonomy: Mixed (work-place democracy, functional competence, realpolitik). Change: Depends on bargaining and conflict resolution and changes in power, interests, and alliances.
The university is a tool for national political agendas Constitutive logic: Administrative: Implementing predetermined political objectives Criteria of assessment: Effective and efficient achievement of national purposes. Reasons for autonomy: Delegated and based on relative efficiency. Change: Political decisions, priorities, designs as a function of elections, coalition formation and breakdowns and changing political leadership.
The university is a service enterprise embedded in competitive markets Constitutive logic: Community service. Part of a system of market exchange and price systems Criteria of assessment: Meeting community demands. Economy, efficiency, flexibility, survival. Reasons for autonomy: Responsiveness to “stakeholders” and external exigencies, survival. Change: Competitive selection or rational learning. Entrepreneurship and adaptation to changing circumstances and sovereign customers.
Diversity challenge: variety in visions • CORE QUESTIONS wrt UNDERLYING VISION: • 1. Humboldt: Under what conditions are professors, other university employees, students and governments likely to be fully committed to the vision of a rule-governed community devoted to academic values, excellence and freedom? • 2. Hierarchy: Under what conditions are governments able and willing to provide well defined and fairly stable objectives for the University and forecast what it takes to reach these objectives?
CORE QUESTIONS (cont.): • 3. Democracy: Under what conditions will there be an identifiable electorate in the university, representing well-organized interests and well-informed “citizens”, as well as political and societal acceptance of university autonomy based on internal, representative arrangements? • 4. Market: Under what conditions are markets perfect enough (few frictions, perfect knowledge, easy entry, etc.), and oriented towards academic quality rather than low prices, so that competition rewards excellent research and teaching and eliminates low quality?
What kind of university for what kind of society and what kind of purpose?
In our analytical framework for addressing this question we have to go: • Beyond routine, incremental change and reform, and conceptualize current dynamics as search for a new pact between the University and its environments. • Beyond a dominant concern for substantive performance and explore the possible independent importance of the legitimacyof institutions in the assessment and justification of existing arrangements, reforms and change. • Beyond functionalism and analyze change as processes of contestation. • Beyond a single-institution framework and take into account inter-institutional tensions and collisions. • Beyond explanations based upon environmental determinism or strategic choice and consider the more complex ecology of processes and determinants in which the European University is currently embedded.
Higher Education Reforms in the Nordic Countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden
Higher Education Reforms: • Role of politics: National strategy/framework? • Concentration vs spreading of funds and talents • Structure of HE system • Funding • Ownership of institutions • Personnel status • Dominant vision on HE organisation and governance
a. Role of Politics • Denmark: National framework strategy “Denmark in the Global Economy”; HE reforms top-down driven • Finland: National Innovation Strategy; HE reforms combination of top-down and bottom-up • Sweden: No national ‘knowledge oriented’ strategy, but active involvement of politics in HE development; HE reforms mainly bottom-up • Norway: Politics has ‘abdicated’ from HE and Research. Regional policy dimension dominant; HE reforms in close consultation between Ministry and HEIs
b. Concentration • Denmark: Overall strong concentration tendency, esp. in research • Finland: Overall strong concentration tendency combined with regional HE policy focus • Sweden: Discussion on the need to concentrate research funding has started in 2007 • Norway: Institutional concentration politically unacceptable. Centers of excellence in research and in innovation funded by NFR
c. Structure of HE system • Denmark: Strengthening of binary structure aot through mergers; • 8 universities next to and separated from 8 professional colleges • Finland: Further development of binary system through inter-sectoral mergers and cross-sectoral cooperation structures. National top universities • Sweden: Discussion on reduction of number of universities, and stronger separation between basic research universities and other HEIs. Mergers. • Norway: Opening up of binary sector; gradual integration of university and professional college sectors
d. Ownership of institutions • Denmark: Partial independent legal status since 2003 (special administrative entities in public law) • Finland: Move towards universities as independent public agencies or private foundations. First private foundation university starts 1 January 2010 (Aalto University) • Sweden: Among 38 HEIs three private foundations since mid-1990s. National Commission proposal to turn all Swedish HEIs into public corporations. • Norway: All seven universities and nearly all professional colleges are state structures. One specialised university (BI) large private institution.
e. Public Funding (at least 80% of institutional budget) • Denmark: Contracts basis for public HE funding. Increase of public research budget; concentration of basic research funding in universities. Limited use of incentives. Tuition fees only for non-EU students. Taximeter system for public funding of HE • Finland: Contracts basis for HE funding. Aims: Larger institutional financial autonomy. Experiments with introduction of tuition fees for non-EU students • Sweden: Proposal: structural separation between funding of research and funding of higher education. HEIs received funds for stimulating excellence themselves, instead of nationally funded Centers of Excellence. No tuition fees • Norway: 60% basic grant, remaining 40% distributed on the basis of performance in education (open budget) and research (fixed budget). No tuition fees. Nationally funded Centers of Excellence (research and education)
f. Status Personnel • Denmark: Civil servants • Finland: Move away from civil service status • Sweden: Move away from civil service status • Norway: Civil servants
g. European Integration • Denmark: Overall, critical towards further European integration. Was among leading countries (with Italy and Norway) in implementing Bologna Declaration. In HE and Research Global strategy/framework. • Finland: Most ‘integrated’ and effective EU member of Nordic countries. In HE and Research policies strong focus on innovation. Late implementation of Bologna Declaration (2006). • Sweden: Overall critical towards further European integration; however, in research policy among prime implementers of European measures and policies. Late implementation of Bologna Declaration (2007) • Norway: Fanatically anti-EU membership; however, in HE and Research among leading implementers of European integration measures and policies. Uses Nordic Cooperation as link to EU decision making. Was among leading countries (with Denmark and Italy) in implementing Bologna.
Conclusions 1. National reforms of HE and Research are strongly affected by European integration context 2. As a separate HE process, the Bologna process is over. It is now part of a much larger and more complex change dynamics that is aimed at further stimulating the integration of European HE, while at the same time there are clear efforts in many countries to redefine the (control and steering) role of the national governments wrt HE.
3. In creating new system level order in European HE, there is not 'one HE system model that fits all European societies'. Also the four Nordic countries that in many respects are similar and very close, and have set up after WWII the first formal regional cooperation structure in Europe (Nordic Council of Ministers) have different approaches to the reform of their university / HE sectors 4. In socio-economically effective and successful European countries HE is regarded as a core public sector that requires a high level of public investments. 5. Nonetheless, HE reforms are needed; we are in a transition period in which a new pact between HE and society is required.
6. As an analytical tool, autonomy is of limited value. We have to strengthen our tool box in our attempts to make sense of the current dynamics of HE in Europe