Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU)
Current Research and Consultancy
Research Thematics include:
- Research and innovation policy and strategy
- Differentiation and diversity of institutional forms and professional roles
- Steering and governance of Higher Education
- Strategic management and leadership of Higher Education Institutions
- Assessment and international benchmarking of higher education and research performance and quality
- Changes in the academic profession
- Higher Education relationships with the wider community and between institutions
The Impact and Influence of League Tables and Ranking Systems on Higher Education Decision-making and Government Policy-making - in association with OECD/IMHE and IAU
Over the past decade, higher education rankings have become increasingly prevalent in countries around the world. While they have been part of the US HE landscape for decades, the recent frenzy provoked by publication of the Shanghai Jiao tong Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and Times QS World University Rankings gives an indication of the seriousness which HEIs, policymakers and the media attach to them. Their increasing credibility derives from their simplicity, and the perception that they meet the need for ‘consumer-type’ information of HE performance and quality. Despite the fact that there are almost 17,000 HEIs worldwide, there is a gladiatorial obsession with the rankings of the top 100.
How much do we know and understand about the influence and impact of rankings on institutional leaders, managers, faculty and students? To learn more about how rankings are impacting on institutional decision-making, academic behaviour and attitudes, an international survey of HE leaders was conducted in 2006, followed by interviews conducted with HE leaders, academic staff and students in Germany, Australia and Japan during 2008.
Rankings and the Reshaping of Higher Education: The Battle for World-Class Excellence, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010.
Further information available here....
- Measuring the societal impacts of universities' research into arts and the humanities (HERAVALUE) – in association with Dr Paul Benneworth, University of Twente (Netherlands) and Professor Magnus Gulbrandsen, NIFU-STEP (Norway).
There are five main objectives:
1. To develop a conceptual framework explaining how societal stakeholders, concerned with innovation, actively construct the value placed upon A&HR.
2. To systematically uncover the implicit valuations made by key decision-makers underpinning the widespread failure to agree a common approach to valuing A&HR;
3. To map key stakeholder groups’ interactions within wider innovation and political systems which frame how A&HR’s value is socially constructed;
4. To reflect upon alternative methodologies for valuing A&HR, transcending directly quantifiable outputs and economic impacts, reflecting these implicit valuations;
5. To disseminate HERAVALUE’s findings to contribute to designing better policies, instruments and indicators for A&HR valorisation, better contributing to debates concerning A&HR’s wider value in the context of a global economic downturn.
Death of The Academic: Institutional type and the impact of changes in Higher Education on the Irish Faculty
This research examines the extent to which institutional type is a significant factor affecting Irish faculty perception of change in higher education. The Irish academic profession is thought to be experiencing similar changing conditions as those being reported across Europe. The dominant discourse includes increased accountability, increased workload, more pressure to be research active, increased managerial control over teaching and research, less scope for collegial participation in governance and a decline in faculty morale. The changes in conditions have been attributed to massification, diversification, globalisation and to wider socio-cultural trends characteristic of postmodernism whereby faculty function within performative systems of accountability in an environment characterised by a ‘plurality and multi-vocality’ that is not comparable, not measurable by the same yardstick and resists consensus or the imposition of an elaborate pattern.
It is being conducted in the context of the Strategic Review of Irish Higher Education and the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes which are both examining the conditions of academic employment, and the need to increase productivity and assess performance in response to calls for more accountability and transparency. To date, there has been an absence of reliable, independent information on the Irish academic profession. While the changes in higher education continue to accelerate, the lack of information about their impact on the Irish faculty and the influence of institutional type on that impact indicate a gap in strategic planning which this study aims to fill.
Contact: Amanda Moynihan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Higher education in regional and city development – OECD Programme for Institutional Management of Higher Education
Committee Future Sustainability of Dutch HE, Ministry of Education, the Netherlands, 2009-2010