ENHANCING PERFORMANCE AND PRODUCTIVITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Universities are under pressure from different sides: Governments demand evidence for productivity and performance in exchange for the public funds universities receive. Employers demand that teaching be workplace relevant and for research to be useful and capable of commercial exploitation. Students want their degrees to enhance their employment prospects. At the same time, there are expectations for universities to expand their missions, for example by opening up to more underrepresented groups and engaging in service to their local communities.
While the higher education (HE) sector has been expanding in all developed countries, at the same time governments have imposed on universities an obligation "to do more with less". They require universities to demonstrate accountability and transparency by providing detailed data about what they do and what "impact" their research has had, how many students have graduated and to what extent they are finding employment in their field of study or related fields. Governments want especially universities to demonstrate that they are competitive with other universities both in their own country and internationally. As universities are encouraged by governments to seek funding from other than public sources, private sponsors likewise ask for proof that resources are being used efficiently and for the purpose for which they have been provided. In addition, in some countries, institutional governance reforms and various types of collaboration among universities (including mergers) are actively sought for enhanced efficiency and productivity.
It is primarily through public policies that this evolution in the context of HE has been occurring. The focus of this workshop is, as in former workshops, on these public policies and the underlying reasons for their evolution, as well as with their implementation and evaluation.
International workshops on Higher Education Reform (HER) have taken place annually since 2003, when the first in this series was held in Vancouver, Canada, organised by the Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training. In following years workshops took place in Tokyo (Japan), Shanghai and Tianjin (China), St. Johns, Newfoundland and again Vancouver (Canada), Vienna (Austria), Berlin (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and, most recently in 2016, Dublin (Ireland).
This year's HER workshop will be organised by the Research Institute for Higher Education (RIHE) of Hiroshima University. As in previous workshops, it will bring together HE researchers and policy analysts from different countries and HE systems who will present and discuss their research and analyses with respect to this year's workshop theme.