Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2003

Governance Shifts in European Higher Education; cross-national comparisons of the ideas of markets, stakeholders, and performance

Lecturers: Professor Guy Neave, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS),
University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands;
and Dr. Peter Maassen, Faculty of Education, University of Oslo, Norway

Main disciplines: History, Political science,
Sociology, Educational Science
Dates: 4 - 8 August 2003

The objective of the course is to reflect upon the way governance has once again become a central concept in many disciplines, such as law, political science, sociology, history and geography, and to relate these various disciplinary conceptualisations of governance to recent change processes in higher education. To start with the historical development of the European dimension in higher education will be closely examined. On the basis of that examination the general dissatisfaction with the traditional governance model will be looked at.

Further various governance models that have been introduced as alternatives to the traditional model will be discussed, also from the perspective of their applications with respect to higher education. The ideas of the market, participation, responsiveness, external stakeholders, and deregulation, and their application in higher education governance will be discussed. In addition we will look at the growing importance of the performance of the higher education institutions from various perspectives.

While the main focus is on the governance of European higher education, recent developments in South Africa will be used as an illustration of the relevance of European governance shifts for understanding changes in governance of higher education in other countries. Taking the various new governance approaches and models as a starting-point the question will be addressed whether the current governance efforts with respect to higher education are more successful and effective than similar efforts in the past.

In doing so we will relate theoretical and conceptual debates to practical questions such as: Does the growing reliance on market forces in the governing of European higher education systems, for example, lead to more effective, efficient and responsive universities and colleges? Does privatization of higher education lead to a better performance of its institutions?

Basic books

Outline of Lectures

Lecture 1: The concept of governance
The traditional governance model is presented. It is discussed in the context of the European nation state. The main arguments for rethinking this model and introducing alternatives are introduced. Also changes in the governance relationship between the European nation state and higher education are looked at.


Lecture 2: Governance shifts: from ideology to pragmatism.
Recent conceptualisations of governance are discussed in their various disciplinary settings. The ideas of the market, participation, flexibility and deregulation have been driving the first ideological wave of governance reform. On the basis of the outcomes of this first wave more pragmatic and realistic innovations have been introduced in governance emphasising, for example, performance, accountability and coordination.


Lecture 3: The governance dimension in the history of higher education in Europe
In order to understand the recent governance shifts with respect to higher education in Europe it is necessary to discuss the historical evolution of context. In doing so we will emphasise the European dimension in the history of higher education.


Lecture 4: Governance shifts and higher education
Steering and coordination are introduced as two governance related concepts from the field of higher education research. We will discuss the applicability of the new governance models to higher education by using the concepts of steering and coordination.


Lecture 5: Differentiation and integration in higher education
Based, amongst other things, on Durkheim and Archer, Clark has analysed integration and differentiation forces in higher education. Referring to Clark's work we will discuss the role governance plays in stimulating integration and creating change in higher education.


Lecture 6: Governance shifts in Flemish and Dutch higher education
In the 1980s the Netherlands was one of the first countries in Europe to introduce changes in its governmental steering model with respect to higher education. These changes have been used as a frame of reference in many other European countries, including Belgium, i.e. Flanders. We will discuss the steering approaches in the two countries and compare the developments since the 1980s.


Lecture 7: Governance of higher education and the European Union
The European Union has attempted to become involved in the governance with respect to the higher education systems of its member states since the early 1970s. In order to understand governance shifts at the national level in Europe it is of importance to look at these attempts of the European Union and examine the successes and failures thus far, as well as the expectations with respect to the near future.


Lecture 8: Governance of higher education in South Africa
Few contemporary higher education systems have changed as dramatically as that in South Africa. The issue of governance has been a core issue in the transformation of South African higher education. What does the South African case learn us about the global nature of governance shifts in higher education? How do the South African governance shifts relate to the governance developments in European higher education?


Lecture 9: Higher education governance and the role of external stakeholders
One of the core issues in recent higher education reforms in Europe is the need to strengthen the ties of universities and colleges with their environment. In the relationship between higher education institutions and their environment external stakeholders have become more involved in higher education governance in a number of ways. The question is whether it is justified to talk about a rise of a 'stakeholder society' with respect to higher education, and if so, what the effects of this rise are on the governance of higher education.


Lecture 10: Can we go back to sleep now?
Can we take the changes in higher education governance for granted? How exemplary are the changes in higher education governance for governance shifts overall? Is it business as usual in higher education, without the need to take the governance shifts too seriously? Or must we see the governance shifts as an element in the changing of the underlying idea of higher education, implying that it transforms from being a social institution to an industry?


The Lecturers
Guy Neave is since 1997 Professor of Comparative Higher Education Policy Studies at CHEPS, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands, and director of research for the International Association of Universities (IAU) in Paris. He previously held academic posts in the field of education at the universities of Edinburgh and Paris IX Dauphine, and as Professor of Comparative Education at the University of London's Institute of Education. In 1999 he became member of the prestigious National Academy of Education of the USA. He has served as joint editor of the European Journal of Education, while he is currently the editor of Higher Education Policy, Joint Editor-in-Chief (with Burton R. Clark) of the Encyclopaedia of Higher Education (Pergamon Press), and general series editor of "Issues in Higher Education" (Elsevier Science).

Peter Maassen is attached to the Faculty of Education of the University of Oslo where he is the director of Hedda, and the coordinator of the MPhil Programme on Higher Education. He is also working at the University of Twente's Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) since 1985. He has been Director of CHEPS from 1997 until March 2000. Since March 2000 he is attached to CHEPS as Senior Fellow. A specialist on public governance of higher education Maassen is the author/(co)editor of more than twenty books, and around 50 articles. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Maryland's School of Education, and is a Fellow of the Society for Research on Higher Education (SRHE). Maassen is the editor of the book series Higher Education Dynamics (Kluwer Academic Publishers) and also a member of the editorial board of a number of journals.