Kilkenny County Council engaged BH Associates to explore the case for a substantial higher education provision in Kilkenny city to support the social and economic development of the city, county and region through the provision, attraction and retention of graduates with high level skills. The report, From Charter to Framework: The Case for Higher Education Provision in Kilkenny, was launched by the Minister of State at the Department of Education & Skills, with special responsibility for Higher Education.Read More
We want to use this article to explore two inter-related issues – the erosion of public trust in higher education and the ever expanding and changing requirements of public accountability systems, as we think addressing the latter is an important aspect in countering the former.Read More
This is the first seminar to be hosted by BH Associates, who have as one of their objectives to create opportunities for public debate on education matters.
There are two key, and separate, aspects to the functioning of higher education institutions (HEI) - academic freedom and institutional autonomy. The academic freedom of institutions enjoyed broad political and societal support. But, in the case of institutional autonomy, the matter was not so clear-cut.Read More
Session to be held at CHEA conference, 2018, Washington, DC
Higher education is under pressure to be more transparent and accountability for its education and research. Almost everywhere a war of words has opened-up about credential relevance, career readiness and cost vs. price. We have traditionally relied on peer-review and self-reporting, but critics (and even some of our friends) are saying this is no longer adequate. To what extent are students and the “public” distrustful of higher education or are the media and political officials actively encouraging such distrust? Can traditional forms of academic accountability, such as quality assurance and accreditation, continue to deliver public assurance of the quality of institutional performance or are new forms of external verification required? How do we balance different perspectives?Read More
For all the Cabinet meetings held on university campuses, the smiling photo ops of Ministers at launches and sod turnings, the fine phrases of presidents in introducing politicians you would be forgiven for thinking that there is a strong and positive relationship between the universities, institutes and the political system. You would be wrong. Underlying the smiles and mutual congratulation lurks a damaging mutual distrust that is in part unique to higher education but also part of a wider context which sees significant disenchantment with key institutions of the State and civil society. ...
Is there an appetite on the part of all sides to come together and forge a new understanding, a rebalancing of regulation and autonomy and a rededication to mutual respect? We would all be winners.Read More
Higher Education and the Public Interest
Thursday, 14 December, 8.30-11.30am (Coffee from 8.00am)
Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, DublinRead More
For more than a decade we have been talking about the key issue for both undergraduate education and research - how do we sustainably fund undergraduate education? A solution will not come easy. It requires leadership.Read More
Quality is an increasingly important concept and virtue for higher education, and for governments. The UK government has introduced the Teaching Excellence Framework. Will it work?Read More
Higher education has long argued that it is a public good because of its contribution to societal goals. These assumptions are coming under growing public scrutiny as universities seek to pursue their own agenda, at home and increasingly internationally. This report looks at some of the issues.Read More
As questions are asked about the relevance and value of our public institutions, the public is also asking whether higher education is serving its interests. Those interests inevitably vary depending upon who is asked – students, parents, employers, politicians, etc. There is no single blueprint. But there is the necessity for higher education institutions to learn from each other and by working together to develop frameworks for institutional leadership and management that recognise the importance of civic engagement and institutionalise this activity into the academic structure and professional support mechanisms of the university.Read More
Universities around the world, many more than will ever publicly admit it, are currently obsessed with gaining status in one or more national or global ranking of universities. They should quit now.
Although some may succeed in becoming ranked or may improve their numerical scores marginally, it is almost never worth either the resources required or the substantial changes in mission or academic programmes necessary.
Rankings have acquired legitimacy because their methodology appears statistically rigorous and independent. They also appear to be the only way to compare performance and quality internationally. But, rather than using rankings, governments and HEIs should focus on benchmarking – such as that promoted by ACU. This uses a sophisticated combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to embrace and embed the full spectrum of teaching/learning, research/discovery and innovation/engagement.Read More
International mobility is a global phenomenon, and growing. Once seen primarily as cultural exchange, internationalisation is now recognised as essential for strengthening the interconnectivity of higher education institutions, and countries, in an increasingly borderless and interdependent world. However, not all students are willing or able to spend time abroad. Strengthening and embedding internationalisation “at home” and “on campus” is therefore more vital than ever.Read More
Universities need to rethink what it means to be a public institution in the 21st century, in part because the publics which support higher education through taxation need to believe that they are getting value. But also, higher education needs to make itself relevant to the global challenges that threaten the future of humankind. This reformulation of an old idea, the civic university, challenges us to ensure that through teaching, research and engagement, universities place themselves at the centre of the local-regional-global nexus, working multi-laterally and multi-dimensionally, to make a difference.Read More