When I first moved from being a contingent faculty member to a staff position in the faculty-development office, a few of my friends who were comfortably positioned in tenure-track jobs not-so-jokingly accused me of “becoming part of the problem” or
“crossing over to the Dark Side” of academe. I was, in their eyes, emblematic of the dreaded administrative bloat that was taking over the university, siphoning money away from the classroom and into the pockets of largely useless (in their eyes) administrative
The governance of complex, decentralised, multi-level education systems poses two fundamental questions for both policy- and research discussions: What are innovative contemporary governance strategies for the central level in education systems? How can these approaches be described and analysed to identify commonalities that might help to understand how and if they work? In addressing these questions, this paper’s aim is twofold: first, to inform the policy-discussion by presenting empirical examples of new governance mechanisms that central governments use to steer systems across their levels; and second, to contribute to the conceptual discussion of how to categorise and analyse the evolution of new governance structures. To do so, the paper starts with identifying core features of multi-level governance and the respective conceptual gaps it produces. It then introduces a simple analytical categorisation of modes of governance. An analysis of three
empirical cases (an institutionalised exchange between governance levels in Norway, a capacity building programme in Germany, and the Open Method of Coordination within the European Union) then shows how various education systems address these gaps and design the role of the central level in complex decision-making structures. A comparison of the three cases identifies – despite the heterogeneity of the cases – several communalities, such as multi-staged policy processes,
transparency and publicity, and soft sanctions. The paper concludes that the Open Method of Coordination, even though often criticised for its inefficiencies, might serve as a promising template for national approaches to soft governance in education. Further research on OECD education systems is needed to gather more empirical examples; these may help to get a better
understanding of what is needed for successful steering from the central level in decentralised contexts.
The initiative to conduct and report on this research was undertaken by the Pan-Canadian Consortium on Admissions and Transfer (PCCAT). The purpose of the consortium is to facilitate the implementation of policies and practices that support student mobility both within and among provinces and territories and granting of transfer credit in order to improve access to postsecondary education in Canada.
This report was funded by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), the Colleges and Universities Consortium Council of Ontario (CUCC), the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), and the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC).
Student transfer in Ontario - Infograph
Decades-long research on implementation has shown the importance that local context plays in implementing reforms across districts, schools, and classrooms (Anderson et al., 1987; Elmore & McLaughlin, 1983; Honig, 2006; McLaughlin, 1990; Odden, 1991; Purkey & Smith, 1983). New approaches have emerged that take advantage of these lessons; continuous-improvement research, for example, responds to evidence that deep and sustained implementation is likely to occur only when the implementing unit (e.g., a school) is encouraged to modify or adapt a program to its context as it is being designed and tested (Bryk, Gomez, & Grunow, 2011; Cohen-Vogel, Tichnor-Wagner, Allen, Harrison, Kainz, Socol, & Wang, 2015; Langley et al., 2009; Penuel, Fishman, Cheng, & Sabelli, 2011).
As the global marketplace becomes increasingly competitive and knowledge-driven the potential social and economic benefits of education have increased. As a result, the past few decades have witnessed an unprecedented expansion in the demand for post-secondary education (PSE) worldwide.
The Canadian Council on Learning monograph series, Challenges in Canadian Post-secondary Education, was launched in November 2009 as a means of examining the impact of this expansion on the PSE sector.
The Ontario university sector is already somewhat differentiated. A policy decision to increase the differentiation of the postsecondary system brings the following benefits:
• Higher quality teaching and research programs
• More student choice with easier inter‐institution transfer and mobility
• Greater institutional accountability
• A more globally competitive system
• A more financially sustainable system
While community colleges have existed more than a century, their role began to shift in the late 1940s from primarily serving as a transfer/junior college to that of supporting the greater community in addressing the need for highly skilled talent required by a 21st century economy. Community colleges remain a vehicle to transfer students to “senior” colleges and universities, but also provide an essential bridge to employment in local communities and beyond. As a result, community colleges are now major players in providing businesses with the talent they need to compete in local, regional, and national economies.
No validated tools assess all four competency domains described in the 2011 report Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (IPEC Report). The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a tool based on the IPEC Report core
competency domains that assesses the interprofessional attitudes of students in the health professions.
For more than six years, HEQCO has conducted research on the differentiation of Ontario’s public postsecondary system, where institutions build on and are accountable for their specific strengths, mandates and missions. This report identifies clear distinctions between universities in terms of their research and teaching missions. The data point to critical pathways to achieve the benefits of greater differentiation. The goal is a system that is more cohesive, more sustainable and of higher quality.
The Ontario Ministry of Education and Training’s Task Force on University Accountability first proposed key performance indicators (KPIs) for colleges and universities in Ontario in the early 1990s. The three main KPIs for Ontario universities are the rates of (1) graduation, (2) employment, and (3) Ontario Student Assistance Program loan default. This exploratory and descriptive study examined the perceptions of 12 key informants from 11 participating universities about the efficacy and effectiveness of these KPIs. The results of this study demonstrate that a clear majority of participants believe these KPIs
are not having the intended impact. This paper analyzes the evidence and makes recommendations designed to foster efficient collaboration between stakeholders; it also asks all parties to clarify their goals, agreed expectations, and requirements, in order to develop effective measures of institutional performance and accountability and address the political needs of the government, the universities, and the public.
Awareness contexts are useful concepts in symbolic interactionist research, which focusses on how everyday realities are constructed. To provide a fresh perspective on governance in Canada’s colleges, I sorted vignettes in interview data collected from administrators and faculty into four types of contexts originally derived from observation of interaction between physicians and patients around bad news. These theoretical categories were introduced by Glaser and Strauss in their 1965 book Awareness of Dying. Applying this lens revealed a “closed awareness” context around college fund-raising and a “mutual suspicion” context in administrator-faculty interaction around student success policy. Examples of “mutual pretense” included feigned administrator-faculty cooperation around changing college missions and faculty workload formulas. “Open awareness” or dialogue, however, occurred where professional bodies or unions intervened. Sorting by awareness contexts reveals similarities between doctor-patient and administrator-faculty interactions. For example, just as doctors feared that delivering bad news to patients might precipitate “mayhem” in the hospital, college administrators may fear that openness around divisive topics might precipitate “mayhem” in college management.
cientists who attain a PhD are rightly proud — they have gained entry to an academic elite. But it is not as elite as it once was. The number of science doctorates earned each year grew by nearly 40% between 1998 and 2008, to some 34,000, in countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-opera-tion and Development (OECD). The growth shows no sign of slowing: most countries are building up their higher-education systems because they see educated workers as a key to economic growth (see ‘The rise of doctor-ates’). But in much of the world, science PhD graduates may never get a chance to take full advantage of their qualifications.
Branding is the exercise of summarizing an organization’s culture to attract a particular type of employee, collaborator or funder.
Like it or not, branding and self-promotion are an integral part of science. Our training might focus primarily on how to do science, but that isn’t enough; we also need to promote ourselves and our findings in order to persuade others to fund and collaborate on our research, and to highlight the value of our discoveries so we can broaden their reach.
It’s always been this way. The financial support of scientific discovery was historically provided by wealthy patrons who typically backed an individual or a handful of scientists who had to market themselves to get attention (The financial cost of doing science). These days, the role of individual patron has been assumed by diverse government, philanthropic, and private sources of grant funding, and it’s our peers who we have to impress, via the peer review process.
This paper examines whether intermediary bodies are useful in advancing government goals for quality and sustainability in higher education systems. It explores the evidence about intermediary bodies through case studies of England, Israel, New Zealand and the United States. It also treats the case of Ontario, whose best- known intermediary bodies have been the Ontario Council on University Affairs and the colleges’ Council of Regents.
I often wonder if we are not living the reality of the boiling frog metaphor. Drop the frog into a pot of boiling water, and the smart fellow instantly jumps out to save himself. But throw the unsuspecting frog into cool water, he will contently swim, unaware that the water is being slowly heated over a long period. The frog eventually cooks because he is inattentive to the small, incremental changes in temperature and thus goes numb to the realities of the water he’s swimming in until it’s too late.
The search for effective public policy approaches for relating higher education to the needs of the labour market was a subject of much attention in the 1960s and early 19 70s, and the verdict was largely against centralized comprehensive manpower planning. This paper re-examines the role of manpower planning in the university sector, in light of new economic imperatives and new data production initiatives by Employment and Immigration Canada. It concludes by rejecting what is conventionally referred to as manpower planning, and offering, instead , a set of guidelines for improving the linkage between universities and the labour market within theframework of existing institutional and policy structures.
Recent commentary on the appointment of Grant Devine to the board of the University of Saskatchewan misses an
important question: What, exactly, qualifies an individual to serve on a board? Public exchanges have focused on
partisan issues or on Mr. Devine’s career, including his PhD and his knowledge of agriculture, without reference to
whether any of these things are needed for the U of S board to be effective.
Our research on governance leads us to make three observations that could guide such processes and reduce
Trust is indispensable for social and economic relations; it is the glue that holds organisations together and appears to work somehow mysteriously. Overall, trust is a ubiquitous ingredient in policymaking and implementation across many governance systems including education, whether it concerns accountability mechanisms, capacity building or strategic thinking. Yet our understanding, conceptualisation and measurement of these issues remain limited. This working paper asks the question: what is trust and how does it matter for governance, especially in education systems? It explores why trust is key for policymaking and where it fits within current governance issues. The paper examines different definitions of trust, presents various ways of measuring trust and discusses some of their benefits and limitations. It proposes a definition of trust made up of three parts: trust as an expectation, a willingness to be vulnerable and a risk-taking act. The paper then presents a simple model of trust and governance and reviews the relationship between trust and different elements in education systems, such as complexity, asymmetries in information and power, collaboration/cooperation, monitoring and accountability, and professionalisation. It concludes with some policy findings and identifies several research gaps.
Among the most heartwarming experiences of my academic career has been serving on university committees. You don’t often hear a faculty member say that, but in this instance, the committees involved awards for teaching at the college and university level.
Determining the best instructors on a campus involves reading through numerous files. In doing so, one learns about the wonderful accomplishments of colleagues and the innovative things they are doing in their classrooms. Perhaps most compelling are the letters from students who describe the life-changing experiences that come from a particular teacher.