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Annika Zorn, Jeff Haywood and Jean-Michel Glachant

The introduction discusses how the digital trend that has substantially disrupted other sectors is transforming the higher education sector or even posing a threat to academic institutions’ core business. What could be the rationale for higher education institutions to incorporate a comprehensive digital agenda into their core strategy? Outlining the main developments over the past years in the areas of education, research and knowledge sharing, the authors argue that academic institutions are still far from grasping the full potential of what the digital offers to the academy. Not only does the adoption of online and open practices allow universities to respond to major challenges facing them today, but a digital vision also allows higher education institutions to re-define their role in society. Subsequently, the authors outline how the examples discussed in the book, stemming from a variety of academic contexts, will enrich our understanding of what ‘moving online’ might entail and how to make it work in practice.

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Higher Education in the Digital Age

Moving Academia Online

Edited by Annika Zorn, Jeff Haywood and Jean-Michel Glachant

The European higher education sector is moving online, but to what extent? Are the digital disruptions seen in other sectors of relevance for both academics and management in higher education? How far are we from fully seizing the opportunities that an online transition could offer? This insightful book presents a broad perspective on existing academic practices, and discusses how and where the move online has been successful, and the lessons that can be learned.
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Salla Sissonen

As an afterthought to the chapters in the book, this epilogue plays with the idea of looking to the future by briefly examining what is happening at earlier stages of education today. By understanding some of the objectives of the Finnish national core curriculum 2014 and taking a look at the practices at school, we can imagine the optimal skillsets that a now 12-year-old child will have when they enter higher education in a few years’ time. Optimally, we will be faced with a person with a developed understanding of how they learn best, a creative learner and problem-solver with skills in meaningful use of technology. This chapter argues that it does not mean the efficient future learners will not require teaching; on the contrary, we will continue to need competent pedagogical thinkers to guide the students on their individual paths to lifelong-learning.

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Entrepreneurial Universities

Collaboration, Education and Policies

Edited by João J. Ferreira, Alain Fayolle, Vanessa Ratten and Mário Raposo

With an increasing focus on the knowledge and service economies, it is important to understand the role that entrepreneurial universities play through collaboration in policy and, in turn, the impact they have on policy. The authors evaluate how universities engage with communities while also balancing stakeholder considerations, and explore how universities should be managed in the future to integrate into global society effectively.
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Elizabeth Bell, Alisa Hicklin Fryar and Nicholas Hillman

State lawmakers looking to increase public university accountability have implemented policies which aim to monitor, reward and sanction schools based on completion rates. These policies have mainly emerged as performance-based funding (PBF) policies, which tie state appropriations to institutional performance and student outcomes. As of 2014, 26 states adopted a form of performance-based funding policy, with four more programs awaiting implementation. Despite the intuitive appeal of performance-based funding policies, higher education scholars have debated the degree to which these policies accomplish the intended goals. The scholarly record includes both studies that find PBF policies to be successful and studies that find no evidence of effectiveness. The existence of findings on both sides has led many to describe the body of work as ‘mixed’, with no real sense of whether these findings are trending in a particular direction. In an effort to improve our ability to speak holistically about this body of work, we conduct a meta-analysis which aims to aggregate and analyse the quantitative findings on the effect of performance funding policies on public four-year and two-year university outcomes.

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Jens Jungblut, Bjørn Stensaker and Martina Vukasovic

One of the most long-lived debates within quality assurance is whether and how control and enhancement are related. This is an important debate related to how improved performance and accountability can best be achieved. While this issue has tended to cause heated public debates, there are fewer empirical studies analysing the relationship between these concepts. In the current chapter we investigate the student perceptions of control and enhancement, and ask whether these concepts are mutually exclusive. Based on a survey targeting European students, our findings suggest that ‘quality assurance as control’ and ‘quality assurance as enhancement’ may not be very relevant concepts from a student perspective. Our analysis suggests that students perceive quality in multiple and quite complex ways, and that pure control or improvement understandings of quality are difficult to identify. An implication of these findings is that quality assurance should be designed in ways that take into account the complexity of higher education and its stakeholders. The chapter ends by reflecting upon possible future directions of quality assurance, not least with respect to how the current interest in student-centred teaching carries the potential of transforming the ways in which higher education is evaluated.

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Michaela Martin

This chapter provides an overview of the different purposes that underlie the massive development of indicators in higher education policy. To that end, this chapter concentrates on the use of indicators for higher education policy by central level authorities. It starts by presenting a series of trends within and outside higher education systems, which provides the context in which to explain the current popularity of indicators. Second, it proposes a classification of purposes and uses of indicators for public policy in higher education. Finally, using international comparison, it attempts to link the underlying purposes for indicator development to national administrative traditions and steering approaches used by public authorities for their higher education systems. This discussion provides evidence for the main argument that indicators are developed to support the logic of a national higher education governance framework, which may be geared either to systems’ control, accountability to stakeholders or the enhancement of competition in the sector.

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Kenneth Moore, Hamish Coates and Gwilym Croucher

Higher education has grown to play a major role in many countries, amplifying interest in productivity. Yet surprisingly little scholarly research has been conducted on this phenomenon. The chapter discusses the generalisation of a model validated previously by the United States National Academy of Science. It exemplifies this model by analysing cross-national data collected from ten diverse Asian countries and dozens of institutions. Quantitative data was collected on inputs, and on education and research outputs. In each country reviews were conducted of salient political and institutional contexts. The chapter reviews technical and empirical contributions to research, and articulates contexts and strategies for improving national policy and institutional management. Most broadly, it highlights the value of progressing contextualised scientific studies of productivity in higher education.

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Ben Jongbloed, Hans Vossensteyn, Frans van Vught and Don F. Westerheijden

Pressure for more transparency and accountability in higher education comes from multiple stakeholders. This chapter analyses three important instruments of transparency and accountability: accreditation, university rankings and performance contracts. These tools are interpreted from the viewpoint of three competing governance paradigms, that is, traditional (bureaucratic) public administration, new public management and networked governance. All transparency tools in one way or another provide information on the quality and relevance of the education services provided by a university and its contribution to the public good. Some of the transparency tools have recently been redesigned as responses to the wish to empower higher education’s clients and better communicate various dimensions of quality/performance/public value to its stakeholders, in particular the quality of the learning experience. Illustrative examples of new transparency tools are taken from new instruments and current debates in the US and in European countries.

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Emeline Jerez and Christian Blanco

Policy and practices of quality assurance in higher education have followed a progressive development path in Chile. However, after a crisis that undermined trust among stakeholders, over the last decade demands for major reforms have increasingly constrained the governmental agenda. Following national and international reviews involving virtually every actor in the system, boosted by a context of weakened legitimacy, Chile is now on the verge of a new wave of reform in the area. Under an evolutionary perspective on quality assurance, it is believed that the current policy stage entails an opportunity for the system to evolve to higher thresholds of complexity by means of building on a much more mature and consolidated arrangement. Aiming to explore the consistency levels between the identified quality assurance challenges and the policy actions, the chapter suggests criteria for assessing both processes using a ten-dimensional scheme based upon key features of a quality assurance framework. By bringing together the dimensional analysis and the evolutionary perspective, obstacles are identified which are preventing the current system from reaching those higher levels of complexity.