Open Access

Higher Education Governance Reform in Practice. Matching Institutional Implementation Practices and Policies

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education20129:9020267

DOI: 10.7238/rusc.v9i2.1415

Received: 15 December 2011

Accepted: 15 April 2012

Published: 15 July 2012

Abstract

Governance is one of the most important higher education policy reform areas in the European Commission. The experience of many years in this field shows that in Europe the diversity of both higher education systems and higher education institution typologies is an important aspect to consider when assessing which governance model to apply in each case. Due to this diversity, there is no ideal governance model for each institution and/or higher education system, and the most appropriate strategy to follow varies depending on the mission and typology of each higher education institution. The increasing tendency towards the globalization of higher education and the economic crisis are impacting directly on universities, forcing them to position themselves in this context. Implementing an appropriate governance model according to the corporate strategy of choice is essential, although good practice models in one case might not be directly applicable to another.

The European Commission works in parallel with two types of governance instruments: firstly, policy instruments to promote the exchange of good practice and mutual learning between and among governments, countries and institutions. In recent years, the need for transparency regarding how different higher education institutions perform in the various fields where they operate is of increasing interest. Moreover, financial instruments available through programmes such as Erasmus facilitate the development of pilot projects and studies presented at the initiative of transnational consortia. This article reviews the latest trends in higher education governance in Europe, with special emphasis on the need to preserve the diversity of higher education systems and institutions through transparency tools, showing relevant examples of cooperation projects for improving governance practices.

Keywords

governance reform university management quality assurance internationalisation Europeanisation