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Introduction to Higher Education

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  1. Introduction to Higher Education Presented at Unisa Young Academics Programme 25 September 2008 Associate Prof George Subotzky Executive Director: Information & Strategic Analysis, Unisa

  2. Overview • DISA • Source material • Higher education as a scholarly field of study • What is higher education? • Definition • Purposes • Key issues & terms • Post-1990 policy process • Contemporary context of higher education • The changing high education workplace • Gender equity in higher education (time permitting)

  3. DISA Mandate External environment UNISA Make Unisa intelligible to itself Business Units Single I&A and IR Ref Pt 33 Business Units/ Convergence Business Units DISA ODL Pol. Ec. Business Units Business Units HE Dev. HE Policy Contextualisation Business Units

  4. Vision, Mission, SP & Business Model (ODL) Integrated Strategic Management Framework DATA TO INFORMATION + ANALYSIS = STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE change plan • INSTITUTIONAL INFORMATION & ANALYSIS PORTAL • Institution-wide Web-based BI Analytic Tool • Downloadable I & A outputs • INFORMATION & ANALYSIS/IR OUTPUTS • Calendarised • Periodic • Ad hoc Requests • STATUTORY REPORTING • HEMIS Submissions • Other External Stakeholder Requirements Strategic Management Framework BI ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE 3 types of Outputs act review DATA External ICT + IR DISA

  5. Source material • Taught modules in UWC Masters/PG diploma in Higher Education Studies: Policy Analysis, Leadership & Management (PALM) 2002-4 • Introduction to Higher Education Studies • The Contemporary Context of Higher Education • Overview of the post-1990 Higher Education Policy Process in South Africa • Changes and continuities in the higher education workplace • Challenge of adaptation: included slides, recapitulation & detail • Previous publications & recent analyses – self-citation

  6. Higher education studies as a field • Relatively new as a field of scholarly study • Most developed in the USA: Pre-requisite for appointment in highly professionalised workplace • Many qualification & professional development programmes, including Europe & South Africa • Numerous academic & professional organisations, journals, conferences & networks • SARDHE; AERA; ASHE; SRHE; AIR, EAIR, SAAIR • Considerable body of knowledge • Multi-disciplinary in nature

  7. Approaches to HE Studies • Theoretical paradigms: • Positivist, Interpretive, Critical • Modernist, Post-modernist/post-structuralist • Sociological • Historical • Philosophical • Political Science • Political Economic • Economic • Comparative/International

  8. Higher education studies: Focus areas • Students • Retention • Student affairs • Assessment • Faculty/staff • Finance • Governance • Policy • International comparative

  9. What is Higher Education? • Definition • What is ‘higher’ about higher education? • What distinguishes it from other levels of education? • Purposes • Multiple • Conflicting

  10. Function/Purpose of HE • Science/knowledge production, dissemination & preservation • Intrinsic value: formative education, cultural & intellectual enrichment • Instrumental value: Growth/Development/ Transformation • Professional/Vocational education & training to serve HRD & labour market needs • Public good • Community engagement • Critical independent space • Growth/Development/Transformation • Ideological: reproduction & social mobility

  11. What is distinctive about HE? • Epistemology/knowledge dimensions • Scholarship & research • Systematically elaborated and conceptualised, theoretically informed knowledge construction, pursuit of truth, meaning and objective knowledge, both within and across disciplines and institutional boundaries • Knowledge structure: vertical • Fragmentation/specialisation of knowledge: the disciplines and subdisciplines • Higher order thinking and professional/ academic/vocational education & training • Outcomes/ontological dimensions: graduateness • Preparedness for labour market & citizenship commensurate with high-level knowledge framework

  12. Higher education as socially situated activity • HE has had a long history – among the most institutions in society • HE is a socially situated and contested activity, and therefore inevitably serves particular ideological interests • It takes on different features according to historical, political economic and geographical specificities. Different emphasis on its multiple purposes and a variety of shifting institutional forms are the result of changing relations with society, namely: • State • Global institutions • Corporate sector • Civil society • Technology

  13. Proliferation of forms of HEIs • Traditional research model • Graduate schools • Carnegie classification: 2-year colleges, 4-year UG (liberal arts colleges), comprehensives, research intensive, etc • Differentiation and articulation: wide variety of binary & primary systems • Specialised professional institutions: eg graduate business schools • Distance education/ODL (six generations) • Virtual universities (‘click’) • Hybrids (‘brick & click’) • Corporate universities

  14. Contested vs shared concept Many institutions claim university status. Therefore, the key questions are: • Can we derive a general, universal definition despite contestations, historical, geographic and ideological differences (Modernist view – Barnett, Holiday)? • Does the proliferation of forms and purposes preclude this (postmodern view – Scott, Castells)?

  15. Barnett • Weakness of the field: paradox • No educational theory of higher education • No theoretical framework • Intrinsic vs instrumental/functionalist value • Attempts to construct an educational and epistemological theory of HE, based on the assumption that there is something universally common about HE despite its historical and geographic variations, and defines this in terms of a reconstructed version of liberal HE • Argues for defining the value and nature of HE as a unique and special critical process

  16. Holiday: The Idea of an African University • Relevance of Newman’s The Idea of a University for African Educationalists • “Africans in their quest for a form of university education which will harmonise with their Africanness are driven by an innate conviction … that such education will have to be inseparable from their own spirituality and religious commitments” (p 1) • This is under threat in the dominant climate of scientism and secularism

  17. Holiday • The idea of the university is not reducible to a list of typically observable features: there are varying cases outside of observed categories: this is so much more the case in contemporary times, given the variety of new forms: eg the corporate university, the virtual university (‘click’ institutions) and hybrid (‘brick and click’) • Main claim: The idea of a university denotes something universal.Therefore, something must be a university (in generic terms) before it can be properly called an African university (in particular terms).

  18. Holiday (cont) • Problem of retro-defining the university in terms of an interpretation of Africanness: eg in RDP or African Rennaissance terms: any institution which purports to address these goals is therefore automatically a university. • “The truth is no matter how noble are motives for wishing it otherwise, there are real constraints on what may be allowed to count as a university” • New Zealand contemporary example: projection of notion of universities of technology • Suggestion: Africanness as a common identity can be interpreted as “identification with and commitment to challenges of context” and therefore to development priorities, rather than in cultural, spiritual, nationalist, genetic or metaphysical terms

  19. Universities as dynamic systems of contradictory functions (Castells) • General theoretical claim: In all societies, universities perform basic functions implicit in the role assigned to them by society through political power or economic influence • These functions are specific to historical, cultural ideological and scientific context • 4 Main (general) functions (at the theoretical level) whose specific weight in each historical and geographic context defines the predominant role of the system and the specific task of institutions: • Ideological apparatuses • Selection of dominant elites • Generation of new knowledge: science function • Professional training

  20. 4 Functions of HE • Generation and transmission of ideology • Not just reproductive of dominant ideology but reflecting within them external ideological struggles “The formation and diffusion of ideology has been, and still is, a fundamental role of universities, in spite of the ideology of their ideology-free role” (Castells, 2001: 206) • Selection of dominant elites (adapting this to the historical & cultural characteristics of each society) • Selection • Socialisation • Formation of networks • Codes of distinction

  21. 4 Functions of HE (cont.) • Production and application of knowledge: science function (research) • Late development: 19thC Germany • Exception rather than rule: 200/3500 in USA • Research diffused in society, especially in Europe (central research labs) and Japan (government-funded corporate R&D) • Grew out of professional university as research needs grew (US graduate school model) • Land Grant Institutions: prototype of HE-industry links in regional development (foundation for expansion in S&T and humanities) • Boosted by military needs • Professional training of skilled labour force (development-related teaching) • Training of the bureaucracy • Successive waves: Church, Medicine, Law, Engineering, Business, Social Services/Health/Education, IT • Professional university gave rise to the science university

  22. Source of the contradictory reality • In addition to performing their role assigned to them by society (ie the particular balance of the 4 main functions): “Universities as organisations are also submitted to the pressures of society, beyond the specific roles they have been asked to assume, and the overall process results in a complex and contradictory reality”

  23. Contradictory functions • In contemporary times, a new function: Social Demand for HE “Massification” • Implicit role: surplus labour absorption: where can youth be? “Warehouse function” • SA potential of this? • Contradiction: equity and development (p 30) • Universities “combine and make compatible the seemingly contradictory functions simultaneously although within different emphasis” Castells, 2001: 211; Singh p 81) • “It is not possible to have a pure … model of the university”– key point for policy-makers to understand. • Contemporary pressure is for them to function as a “productive force in the new informational economy” (as technology institutes, research universities, university-industry partnerships) – instrumental aspect • But they remain “conflictual spaces”(Is this so in UoTs?)

  24. Challenge for developing countries “The ability to manage such contradictions, while emphasising the role of universities in the generation of knowledge and the training of labour in the context of the new requirements of the development process, will condition to a large extent the capacity of new countries and regions to become part of the dynamic system of the new world economy” (Castells, 2001: 212)

  25. Functions of Developing Country Universities • Universities in the 3rd world are “historically rooted in colonial past”: they perform an ideological function in post-colonial period • “The recruitment of social elites, first for the colonial administration, later on for the new political elites created with independence, became the fundamental function of universities in the 3rd World” (Castells, 2001: 213) • Educational and economic functions backgrounded because of the initial dominance of the political function – led to considerable braindrain • Need for skilled labour as part of development tasks gave impetus to educational function • Professional function: colonial and “homeland” administration (HBUs) • Massification, but in traditional fields: law, humanities and social sciences (HBUs) • Attempts to develop S&T fields difficult • Structural and institutional impediments to expansion of science function (see page 215) • Castells recognises the need for autonomy from political pressure: “The necessary distance and independence of academic research vis-à-vis the immediate pressures of political conflicts …”

  26. Challenges for Dev C. universities • Rise of technological institutions, but science function lags behind training function • Inability to manage contradictory functions and interaction between ideological/political/cultural, science, technology, economy and society • Technical universities not able to fulfil scientific needs – without cross-fertilisation and self-determination (detachment): no discovery (Castells, 2001: 216). Need “complete systems”. • “Only possible to apply science that exists”– cf Mode1/2 • Castells argues for: a) undifferentiated comprehensive university as key to development; b) for inter-disciplinary flexible programmes and c) selected research centres • Suggestions for rejuvenating HE in dev. countries

  27. Challenge for Dev Country HE • If 3rd World countries are also to enter the Information Age and reject an increasingly marginal role in the world system, development policies must include the impulse and transformation of HE systems as a key element of the new historical project Bridging the divide between 1st and 3rd worlds

  28. Interdependence … • Interdependence argument for multilateral Marshall Plan • Moral • Functional • Political • Economic: “The development of the 3rd World is in the (rational) economic self-interest of the OECD countries and their corporations” • “It will not be possible to integrate 3rd World countries in a dynamic world economy without creating the necessary infrastructure in higher education” • Prospects and challenges?? What do you think?

  29. Towards a definition/statement of purpose HE is concerned with the legitimation, production, dissemination, reproduction and perservation of high-order academic & vocational knowledge in order to: • Prepare graduates for the labour market and citizenship • Provide formative education and to enrich cultural and intellectual life • Enhance socio-economic growth, development & transformation, in particular by solving problems and creating opportunities for social mobility • Contribute to the public good through community engagement and by providing a critical, independent space

  30. Key Issues & Terms: Epistemology • Knowledge: • Tacit, Practical, Political, Intuitive, Pre-theoretical, Rational, Indigenous, Technical/Academic • Truth, evidence & validity • Theory & Practice • Science & Technology • Research • Basic (Mode 1), Applied, Strategic (Mode 2) • Discipline & Department • Multi-disciplinarity, Inter-disciplinarity & Trans-disciplinarity

  31. Key Issues & Terms: Governance • Academic Freedom • Autonomy • Accountability • Governance • Systemic and institutional • Style & method: spectrum from steerage to control • Transformation • Quality • Quality assurance & promotion • Certification, accreditation

  32. Key Issues & Terms: Policy • Formulation • Adoption • Planning • Implementation • Monitoring • Evaluation • Review • Research • Analysis • Advocacy

  33. Key Issues & Terms: Ideology & Power Relations • Ideology • Discourse • Interests • Power • Power relations • Reproduction • Micro-politics

  34. Key Issues & Terms: Equity • Access & admissions • Equality • Equity • Inclusivity • Success & throughput • Massification • Social demand • Assimilation vs transformation • Policy tensions (real & imagined): • Equity & Excellence • Equity & Development • Shifting equity discourse in South Africa

  35. Key Issues & Terms: Value & Purpose • Value: • Intrinsic: Knowledge for its own sake • Instrumental: Knowledge in service of an ideological or socio-economic purpose • Liberal/formative education • Emancipatory education (critical theory) • Science function • Professionalisation • Vocationalisation

  36. Key Issues & Terms: Institutional & Academic Identity • Vision, Mission, Niche (strategic identity), Business Model • Institutional differentiation (universities, UOTs, comprehensives – the ‘size and shape’ processes & debates, contact & distance) • Africanness • Status and reputation • Academic identity • Teaching/Research/Community Engagement balance • Profile: Professoriate, Tenure • Teaching and learning • Programme and course: PQM • Curriculum and pedagogy • Admissions, assessment policies • Delivery Model • Graduateness • Research • Basic, Applied & Strategic • Service/outreach/Community Engagement • Service learning

  37. Key Issues & Terms: Institutional Organisation/Governance/Management • Leadership • Management: strategic & operational, academic • Administration • Student ‘Affairs’: Support/Development • Academic: Teaching and Learning • Research • Human Resources • Finance • Other support/enabling mechanisms: business architecture

  38. STRATEGY FORMULATION • Mission, Vision, Business Model (ODL) • Strategic Plan • Strategic Outcomes, Objectives & Performance Measures (all shaped by Social Mandate) • CHANGE MANAGEMENT • Strategic Change Initiatives • Continuous Improvement Initiatives • These are identified through ongoing review process, and then find expression, as the case may be, in: • New or revised Strategy or Strategic Projects • Objectives and Actions in the IOP • Changes to Operations, the Business and Enterprise Architectures and Enabling Conditions • IOP & STRATEGIC PROJECTS • Strategically-aligned Outcomes, Objectives, Outputs & Performance Measures change plan • FUNCTIONAL PLANS • egAcademic, Research, HR, Estates, ICT etc • Projects • Functional Outcomes, Objectives, Outputs & Performance Measures, Integrated Scheduling Strategic Management Framework • RESOURCE ALLOCATION (SRAM) • Budget • ACHRAM & PADRAM • OPERATIONS • Functional/Operational Units • Inputs, Processes, Outputs, Outcomes & Performance Measures Strategic Projects • INSTITUTIONAL PERFORMANCE & STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT • Monitoring and Evaluation • (BI/Institutional Research) • Quality Assurance • IPMS • Risk Management • Ongoing: • Strategic Reflection/Review • Environmental Scanning act review • Business & Enterprise Architectures • Shaped by strategy - the optimal configurations of: • People/capacity • Processes/Systems • Resources/Infrastructure • Technology • Enabling Conditions • (in addition to appropriate Business & Enterprise Architectures) • Effective Leadership & Management • Conducive Climate & Culture

  39. Key Issues & Terms: Current Impacts • Marketisation or market-like behaviour • Academic capitalism • Entrepreneurialisation • Managerialism • Globalisation • Internationalisation • ICTs • Responsiveness • New public accountability; new instrumentality • Changing relations between state, society & the Academy

  40. HE Studies Policy Analysis Leadership and Management Sub-Module 1B: The Contemporary Context of Higher Education March 2004 Associate Prof George Subotzky

  41. Key Issues & Concepts • The multi-faceted nature of globalisation • The nature of the ‘network’ society and the role of knowledge, information and technology • The emergence of new modes of economic production and new organisational modes of knowledge production • The various impacts and implications of globalisation on higher education

  42. Key Issues & Concepts (cont.) • In particular, the marketisation of HE and the rise of managerialism, and the corresponding constriction of the civic role of the academy and its contribution to the public good • Alternatives to the dominant patterns of globalisation and marketisation of HE (to the entrepreneurial university) • The role and responsive of HE not only towards the competitive global knowledge-driven economy but also towards democracy, equity and basic reconstruction and development

  43. Assumptions: Key Aspects of HE (see Intro.) • HE is a ‘socially situated’ activity • Social relations are contested, unequal and ideologically contested • HE shaped by, and responds to external environment: global forces/ institutions, the nation state and society (private/market corporate sphere and public/civil society) • Reproduces and/or transforms unequal social relations • Key aspects and levels of external environment: Global level: globalisation • Changing economic production patterns and social relations • Role and modes of knowledge and information • Changing function, role and forms of HE • New relations between HE and state, private sector and community • New ICTs • International level: Internationalisation of HE (Scott, 1998)

  44. Key aspects of HE (cont) • National level: • Public & macro-economic policy, political economy • HE policy formulation & implementation: government and other agencies • Regional level: • Contribution towards regional development • Regional collaboration & competition • Institutional level: • Complex, loosely coupled organisations • Contested sites: Multiple centres of authority and interests • Disciplinary organisation vs departments (feudal fiefdoms) vs inter-disciplinary cross-cutting organisation • Managerial vs collegial tensions • ‘Local’ vs ‘Cosmopolitan’ Allegiances: Academics and Managers engaged in multiple networks • Academic vs non-academic staff interests

  45. What is globalisation? • Your understanding and definition? • Key feature of contemporary society, impacting - directly or indirectly - on all aspects of life in every society (eg HIV/AIDs), including HE • Generalisability of trends and patterns? Problem of extrapolation of part to the whole eg Internet economy, flexible labour, new modes of knowledge production • Different perspectives from ideological positions • Supporters: assume inevitability: ‘There is no alternative’ (TINA) • Opponents: question this & assume alternatives • Therefore different definitions & interpretations – ie good and bad dimensions: threats & opportunities

  46. Globalisation • Globalisation is the intensification of trans-national relations/exchanges/integration in the sphere of economics (services and production), culture and media, knowledge, science and technology, through the advancement of ITCs and the process of progressive deregulation which primarily serves the interests of global capital, transnational corporations and the advanced industrial nations • Networking and partnerships in development leading to interdependence and connected results • Unified space and time of various exchanges • Unavoidable and feared (conspiracy??), supported by the wealthy: inevitable and sustainable in its current form?? • Positive potential – reasons for participation: global competitiveness avoid marginalisation • Cultural imperialism

  47. Dimensions of Globalisation • Ideological: Castells (2001): Globalisation is both a code word for the new emerging world system and “the banner to rally both the determined march of global corporate capitalism and the worldwide sources of resistance to it” • Economic (focus of Castells, 2001) • Technological, Space/timecompression (Urry, 1998) • Regional, National and Local responses: homogenisation and heterogenisation - Conceptualising mediating levels and processes • Cultural and Media/IT:implications for identity (“transnational imaginaries” and local responses - solidarity (Stromquist & Monkman, 2000, see also McGrew, 1992), power, gender, knowledge (technological vs social)

  48. Economic Globalisation Castells (2001, 2-3): The New Economy Key sociologist of globalisation – SA contestations of his views in CHET book • Worldwide and Capitalist • Not the Internet economy: “It is the economy of all kinds of businesses and all kinds of activities whose organisational form and source of value and competition are increasingly based on information technologies, of which the Internet is the epitome and organising form” (Castells, 2001: 2) • But: Labour is still the basis of the economy • Can be defined as the combination of 3 inter-related characteristics (see Castells, 2001: 2) • Various dimensions of economic globalisation

  49. The New Economy 3 inter-related characteristics (Castells, 2001, 2-3): • “It is an economy in which productivity and competitiveness are based on knowledge and information … powered by IT” • This new economy is a global economy “The global economy … has the capacity [in relation to its core activities] to work as a unit in real time, on a planetory scale” • “This capacity [comprises of] 3 aspects: • Technological capacity:its ability to structure the entire planet through telecommunications and informational systems • Organisational capacity: firms and networks working in this economy organise themselves to be active globally … [in relation to both] supplies and markets • Institutional capacity: governments create the institutions on the new economy through deregulation and liberalisation “which opens up the possibility for this new economy to operate globally”

  50. Financial Globalisation “The heart of the global economy is the global financial market” • Globalisation refers to core activities: “Global financial markets, the integration of capital markets and money markets in a system which works as a unit in real time” • Indicators: eg currency market trading in 1999 = $2-trillion = 20% more than UK GDP per day! (Castells, 2001: 4) • Global interdependence and speed, size and complexity of financial markets are the result of 6 developments: • Deregulation/liberalisation • Technological infrastructure (speed, size & complexity): trading through electronic networks which allow rapid movement of capital in real time • Interdependent nature of financial products • Speculative movement of financial flows: systemic volatility: vast gains from small fluctuations • Market valuation firms: sentiment and perceptions, not performance – open to manipulation? (SA bemused: fundamentals are there, but Foreign Direct Investment isn’t following) • International financial institutions: conditionality