Research Handbook on Quality, Performance and Accountability in Higher Education
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Research Handbook on Quality, Performance and Accountability in Higher Education

Edited by Ellen Hazelkorn, Hamish Coates and Alexander C. McCormick

As higher education becomes a key determinant for economic competitiveness, institutions face increasing pressure to demonstrate their fitness to meet the needs of society and individuals. Blending innovative research with richly contextualised examples this unique Research Handbook provides authoritative insights from around the globe on how best to understand, assess and improve quality, performance and accountability in higher education.
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Chapter 4: Can public policy promote academic quality? An assessment of policy instruments for instruction and research

David D. Dill

Abstract

In recent decades the higher education systems of most developed nations have been substantially expanded and reformed with a greater policy emphasis on market competition as a means of achieving institutional coordination, improvement and efficiency. During this period, new policy instruments have been introduced as a means of assuring the quality of university performance, particularly in teaching and research. Empirical research on these instruments suggests the strengths and weaknesses of existing national policy approaches. While competition is pervasive in academic research, attempts to design regulatory policies utilizing market forces and pricing mechanisms to improve universities have had distorting effects on academic costs and quality. Current policy reforms have also stimulated university deregulation and the consequent need for greater strategic management at the institutional level. This suggests that public policies designed to enhance university-based collective actions to assure and improve the quality and cost of education and research warrant increased attention and study.

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