Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2010


Engaging the University of Europe: Understanding the History of an Idea

Lecturer: Dr. Anne Corbett ,
Visiting Fellow, European Institute,
London School of Economics and Political Science,
United Kingdom

Main disciplines: Higher Education Studies, Political Science

Dates: 26 - 30 July 2010
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants


Objectives
These lectures have three main objectives. The first is to give students a historical understanding of how higher education policy has developed at the European level between the 1950s and the contemporary Bologna Process designed to create a European Higher Education Area. The second objective is to incorporate an understanding of theoretical concepts based on time into the political science perspectives increasingly used to analyse higher education policy-making. The third objective is to place higher education policy-making in the wider context of European policy development to stimulate new research perspectives.

This set of lectures will aim to challenge views in the literature that present developments are unique in content or method, though they may be in scope and they are taking place in a specific context, and that  they are an EU-only process. The lectures will do so by tracing the political and policy trajectory of the idea of the European engagement with universities across six decades. The lectures will illustrate the proposition that two ideas linking Europe and the universities have been in competition: what can Europe do for universities; what can universities do for Europe.  But the core aim is to unravel both the contextual and policy process factors involved in the different policy cycles in order to enrich our understanding of contemporary policy activity.

 

Books needed for the Course

The lectures will be structured around Corbett 2005. Relevant chapters from the recommended books will be regularly cited. In addition the course will draw on selected academic articles.

 

LECTURE OUTLINE

Monday, July 26:

Lecture 1: Introducing the ideas, the actors and the institutions in the European higher education policy process
The course starts with some base-line information and interpretation on the political context for university policy making in Europe. The chapters in Rüegg provide the historian’s reading of the university landscape in 1945; Huisman, Stensaker and Kehm offer viewpoints on the Bologna Process. Olsen provides a theoretical understanding of alternative university dynamics. Walkenhorst presents an account of EU-only involvement, based on an analysis of policy statements and resources on education since the 1970s.

Core reading:

Supplemental readings:

 

Lecture 2: Methodology: theoretical and conceptual issues
The lecture is devoted to the methodological issues of how to use history in political science. It reviews alternatives including historical institutionalism. The case is made for historical narrative theoretically underpinned by a model of the policy process. It is suggested that this is a way of enabling us to understand better events in both the past and present, in terms of how problems, policies and politics interlock and how and why ideas and institutions change over time, and what this tells us about policy change.

Core readings:

Supplemental readings:

 

Tuesday, July 27:

Lecture 3: The idea of a model university for Europe: attempting to create a supranational university institution, 1958-1973
Reflecting the need for reconciliation between the people of Europe in the period immediately following World War II many policy solutions focussed on the construction of a European identity. One suggestion was for a supranational university. Under the analytic angle of  agenda setting, this lecture considers the rise and fall, and eventual resolution of the proposal for a supranational university institution (the European University) to be created (surprisingly) under the Atomic Energy Community. It was also to be a beacon for university reform and a training ground to stimulate Europe’s scientific and technological capacity.

Core readings:

Supplemental readings:

 

Lecture 4: Enriching the content of cooperation. Attempting to solve common problems, 1960-1972
The idea of a European Community controlled university was politically too controversial to pursue, regardless of a Treaty status.  But the idea of student mobility, close trans-national collaboration in research and other forms  of university cooperation in the EEC Six and Britain had taken off. The second historical lecture looks at how and why European leaders reframed the issue of a European dimension to higher education in terms of cooperation, and why at the end of the decade they felt they could not manage with an EEC dimension.  The issues of competing Europeanising ideas and the nature of cooperation , and theoretical questions of issue reframing and policy capacity and domain are analysed in the context of a decade in which the Council of Europe was the mainstay of cooperation.

Core readings:

Supplemental readings:

 

Wednesday, July 28:

Lecture 5: Enriching the content of cooperation: using EEC policy capacity, 1973-1984
This lecture covers the period in which the governments turned to the EEC for some staff work and some minimal project to advance cooperation, and university rectors overcame their traditional hostility to the Community.  This was the period of the creation of an educational action programme, inter-university partnerships, and agreement to a novel type of inter-governmental committee of which the Commission was a full member, and battles over Community competence and sovereignty. The analytic issues are those of the creation of a policy domain, policy subsystems, policy monopolies and policy entrepreneurship, 

Core readings:

Supplemental readings:

 

Lecture 6: Competing ideas of education and training: The creation of the Erasmus programme, 1985-1987
This lecture gives an insight into the decisional processes of the Commission and of the Council of Ministers in the 1980s. It shows how important it was to have a firm  policy image to get decision-makers’ attention, yet how necessary it was to reframe ideas to get an actual decision to achieve the goal of EEC legislation. The multiple ideas underpinning the Erasmus decision are analysed. Analytically the lecture draws attention to the linkage between policy ideas in a subsystem through policy entrepreneurship or advocacy coalitions and the broader policy context. It also takes up the issues of the interplay of different institutions notably the Commission and the ECJ, of university rectors and heads of government and the destabilising effect of EEC legislation which while offering short term budget gains, was to lead to a restriction of the EU’s formal role under the Treaty of Maastricht.

Core readings:

Supplemental readings:

 

Thursday, July 29:

Lecture 7: The attempted ’EU ‘ mainstreaming of education policy ideas 1991-1999
This lecture covers an unsettled and paradoxical period in European higher education policy making following the Treaty of Maastricht, in which the Commission adapted its strategy in terms of content and method. Its vision of higher education as at the service of Europe’s economy was controversially reinforced. But it was also a period of experiments with policy instruments which would not be in conflict with the Treaty.  An analytic question is issue re-framing.

Core readings:

 

Lecture 8: Developing a regional higher education area for a global era. Coordination  and cooperation in the emergence of the European knowledge space (EHEA)
This lecture brings the history of the attempted Europeanisation of higher education up to date with the signing of the Bologna Declaration, the use of Council of Europe criteria for membership and parallel and interlocking EU developments on the Lisbon Agenda on research and education, as well as the integration of diverse stakeholders into the Process, and the extension of the process to many countries which are neither EU nor EU candidate states. It suggests how and why the Bologna Process has achieved a rebalancing of the questions of what can universities do for Europe/what can Europe do for universities (or their governments).

Core readings:

Supplemental readings – a choice:

 

Friday, July 30:

Lecture 9: Changing conceptualisations of European policy-making over time
This lecture situates the higher education case within the context of the scholarly interest in the empirical evidence of EU policy making, which is becoming increasingly varied, and the changing conceptual concerns which are strongly rooted in governance. It also outlines how and why national governments have agreed to the create of a common area in another area of national sovereignty which might suggests some parallells.

Core readings:

 

Lecture 10: Drawing the threads together

The historical picture:
- How higher education moved on to the European Communities agenda: European University; Action programmes; Erasmus and other programmes. The development of policy instruments (EU and Council of Europe).

The underpinning rules and resources: The ambivalent relationship with the EU. 
- Treaty of Maastricht, Treaty of Amsterdam, European Research Area.

A new balance with Bologna/EHEA?
- Actors and institutions and processes.
- How does the political space compare with earlier decades?
 
The policy-making conclusions:
- Problems, Policies, Politics. Policy entrepreneurship. Recurrence or repetition?
- An original reading of Kingdon
- Questions of issue formulation.
- Parallels? The European University and the European Institute of Technology? The Education Committee 1973 and the Bologna Follow-up Group?

 

The lecturer
Dr Anne Corbett is Visiting Fellow in the European Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her main research interest is in the Europeanisation of higher education policy-making and the creation of a European Higher Education Area following on from the Bologna Process. She has also recently been engaged in a study of French public management reform. Her expertise covers the history of higher education and the EU, and French politics especially as related to higher education. She has been a member and vice-chairman of the Franco-British Council and a coopted member of the UACES committee (University Association for Contemporary European Studies). She is a former journalist specialising education for journals including New Society, New Statesman and Times Educational Supplement both in England and France. She is an Officier of the French order of the Palmes Académiques.

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