This chapter offers a systematic review of research into quality assurance and quality management in higher education. It begins by considering quality as theory and…
This chapter offers a systematic review of research into quality assurance and quality management in higher education. It begins by considering quality as theory and discusses the methodology applied. The origin and meaning of the terms quality assurance and quality management, as they are used in higher education, and their application and practice, are then discussed. The issues and critiques that have been raised concerning quality assurance and management are identified, before some conclusions are reached.
Responding to the knowledge needs of stakeholders has been a defining feature of higher education research. However important responsiveness is, it does not automatically assume beneficial change of policy or practice as a result. When research generates impact beyond the academy, little is known about its epistemic, organisational and temporal characteristics and their links. Are these knowledge characteristics a typical reflection of the field or do they have a certain specificity that may account for their reach into the wider spheres of policy and practice and society at large? In this chapter, we look at the knowledge characteristics of higher education research that was submitted for the ‘impact’ element of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) – the United Kingdom's national level assessment of research. We identified 53 impact case studies within a broadly defined and multidisciplinary field of higher education research. We investigate the theories and methodologies used, the researchers and institutions that conducted the research, its sponsors and the timescales of the various research projects. In the United Kingdom, the REF includes assessment of nonacademic impact. The latter has emerged as a key criterion and a metric for evaluating and funding academic research. We contribute a sociological conceptualisation of the knowledge characteristics and their links as an ‘epistemic-organisational-temporal nexus’ at which actors' interests intersect. This conceptual framework advances our understanding of the investigated multidisciplinary research field, with relevance to applied social sciences generally.
This chapter tries to explain the impact of the European Commission's ERASMUS programme on national higher education policies of 18 European countries. Based on an…
This chapter tries to explain the impact of the European Commission's ERASMUS programme on national higher education policies of 18 European countries. Based on an analysis of the literature on Europeanisation and policy impact, it is hypothesised that the impact will be very modest, but that there may be indirect impacts and differences in impact across countries dependent on institutional features of the higher education system. The empirical findings support the hypothesis: ERASMUS certainly has increased policy-makers’ awareness of the importance and possible consequences of further internationalisation. Nevertheless, ERASMUS has a more profound effect on higher education institutions and students. In addition, policy-makers have been much more influenced regarding their internationalisation policies by the Sorbonne and Bologna Declarations. There are some noteworthy differences between the countries that relate to specific domestic characteristics (e.g. language and colonial history).
This chapter analyzes the behavior of early adopters of innovations and followers in the Dutch university sector from 1974–1993. The innovations we concentrate on are…
This chapter analyzes the behavior of early adopters of innovations and followers in the Dutch university sector from 1974–1993. The innovations we concentrate on are (comparable) new study programs. We formulate contrasting expectations bearing on institutional and strategic choice theory concerning the consequences for early adopters versus followers. From an institutional perspective we predict that followers are less successful measured in terms of the quality of the program, the enrollments, and fundamental changes in the program (including closing down the program). Seven chains of innovations (in total 35 new programs) are analyzed. This analysis points out that the behavior of the adopters can be seen as a combination of both strategic choice and institutional adjustment.
There is an identified need in higher education research for methods which have the capacity to generate conceptual insights grounded in concrete local practice but with…
There is an identified need in higher education research for methods which have the capacity to generate conceptual insights grounded in concrete local practice but with wider applicability in understanding and facilitating research-based change. This chapter outlines an intermediate approach to qualitative data analysis which can support theoretical knowledge advancement from practice-based research, which I call the difference-within-similarity approach. It involves a particular way of conducting dialogues with our data: of interanimating similarities and differences within our qualitative datasets. The approach outlined involves first identifying a similarity, then systematically examining differences within that similarity to generate theoretical explanations. Drawing on sociocultural theorising, particularly dialogic theory and cultural–historical activity theory, the approach is based on the idea that new meanings arise from a comparison of multiple perspectives on the ‘same’ phenomenon. The tensions between such perspectives are seen as a key driver for change in educational practice. Therefore, articulating and examining such tensions in our data gives an opportunity to simulate the possibility of change in our analysis and, hence, develop insights which can inform change beyond local settings. Important here is that the differences examined are bound together by an analytically productive similarity. Through multiple research examples, the chapter identifies and illustrates a range of ways of articulating productive analytical similarities for comparison in our data: through theory/literature, through forward and backwards processing of data itself and through a process termed ‘weaving’.
Building on the proposition that Bernstein's ideas are due for a revival in higher education research, the call for studies in which theory is put to use and for policy…
Building on the proposition that Bernstein's ideas are due for a revival in higher education research, the call for studies in which theory is put to use and for policy studies to engage in textual analysis, this chapter argues for the affordances of the theoretical underpinnings of Bernstein's pedagogic device and critical discourse studies in investigating connections between policy and practice. Drawing on the sociology of pedagogy and applied linguistics, this chapter aims to explore the theoretical complementarities of the chosen approaches for exploring how policy ideas move through time and space. A focus on the notion of recontextualisation enables an understanding of how influences beyond the discipline itself, including policy discourses, can shape learning, teaching and assessment practices. The illustrating case examines policy on learning and teaching and how these ideas are recontextualised from national policy through to institutional policy and individual practices. The critical or questioning angle of both approaches in seeing ideas, including policy, as never value-free but as situated within their sociopolitical context can shed light on how policy ideas make their way into universities and in whose interests.
In this chapter, we explore uses of corpus linguistics within higher education research. Corpus linguistic approaches enable examination of large bodies of language data…
In this chapter, we explore uses of corpus linguistics within higher education research. Corpus linguistic approaches enable examination of large bodies of language data based on computing power. These bodies of data, or corpora, facilitate investigation of the meaning of words in context. The semiautomated nature of such investigation helps researchers to identify and interpret language patterns that might otherwise be inaccessible through manual analysis. We illustrate potential uses of corpus linguistic approaches through four short case studies by higher education researchers, spanning educational contexts, disciplines and genres. These case studies are underpinned by discussion of the development of corpus linguistics as a field of investigation, including existing open corpora and corpus analysis tools. We give a flavour of how corpus linguistic techniques, in isolation or as part of a wider research approach, can be particularly helpful to higher education researchers who wish to investigate language data and its context.
– The purpose of this paper is to identify those factors that key actors in university governance hold as to be important in realizing strategic change within their institutions.
The purpose of this paper is to identify those factors that key actors in university governance hold as to be important in realizing strategic change within their institutions.
Key decision-makers in 26 European universities were surveyed on their views on which factors bring about strategic change. The results were interpreted using a theoretical framework emphasizing organizational archetypes and their development.
The findings indicated that strategic changes in universities were perceived as highly dependent on leadership, decision-making procedures, communication and evaluation. However, some differences between the universities in the sample can be identified, supporting indicating the relevance of using organizational archetypes as an analytical tools for observing change within the higher education sector.
The study links organizational level developments on strategic management to macro-level change within the European higher education landscape, and provides new insights intoon the debate on convergence and differentiation in organizational fields.