Universities, Abuse, Class

Posted in Governance and administration on February 28th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The larger Irish universities are growing bigger and more global by the day. But should they be judged by non-performance-related indicators, such as size or degree of ‘internationalisation’ of staff and student cohorts? Surely there are more meaningful criteria? Like how these organisations make big decisions. Behind closed doors or out in the open? Only after lots of talk and critique and debate? Or by how they respect expertise …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 28 February]


Higher Education Minister proposes changes to Trinity governance

Posted in Governance and administration on September 24th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The Government has proposed to reduce the membership of Trinity’s ruling body, the university board, from 27 to 15 in an act which some Trinity academics say would diminish College’s autonomy. The proposals come from Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor and were discussed at a board meeting on September 11th. In addition to reducing the number of governors, the proposals look to change the structure of Trinity’s governance …” (more)

[Jessica Hobbs Pifer, Trinity News, 24 September]

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University Governance

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on September 20th, 2019 by steve

IrelandJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding allegations of student and staff safety being put at risk; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 17 September]

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Change in university governance structures in continental Europe

Posted in Governance and administration on June 19th, 2017 by steve

Abstract: This article discusses changes with respect to university governance structures in six comprehensive universities in Europe. We present an analytical framework on the basis of which we conduct a comparative analysis of the university governance structures along four different dimensions: (a) the internal democratic nature of the governance structure, (b) the external involvement in university governance, (c) the level of centralisation of decision-making authority in the university and (d) the concentration of authority in an individual leadership position versus authority in a collective body or spread over various collective bodies.

Gornitzka, A, Maassen, P, de Boer, H, ‘Change in university governance structures in continental Europe’, Higher Education Quarterly (18 June 2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hequ.12127.

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Third Level Institutions – Corporate Governance

Posted in Governance and administration on November 5th, 2016 by steve

IrelandLouise O’Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he is satisfied with the corporate governance arrangements of Irish universities funded by public funds; if he is aware of a situation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 3 November]

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Scottish universities ‘could lose charitable status’

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on August 25th, 2015 by steve

Scotland“Scottish universities fear that they could lose their status as charities and become part of the public sector if the Edinburgh government pushes ahead with a new higher education governance bill. The controversial bill, published in June, would shake up the composition of Scottish university governing bodies …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 25 August]

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The difficult questions concerning university autonomy and accountability

Posted in Governance and administration on August 25th, 2015 by steve

Scotland“As readers of this blog will know, in 2011-12 I chaired a review of governance in Scottish higher education. The main products of the report we issued in 2012 so far are the Scottish Code of Good Governance and, more recently, a Bill now before the Scottish Parliament …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 24 August]

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Universities are highly responsive to very rich people

Posted in Governance and administration on September 4th, 2014 by steve

“As a kind of side-note to Corey’s most recent post, most people, including, I suspect, most academics, don’t realize how important rich people are to the running of universities …” (more)

[Henry Farrell, Crooked Timber, 3 September]

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The Reign of Terror in Universities

Posted in Governance and administration on July 10th, 2013 by steve

“There is a serious problem in the governance of Universities. In many institutions, there have been fundamental changes to expectations of employees. Consequently, many employees find themselves in established roles on high salaries in a ‘market’ where they do not possess the newly-redefined requisite accomplishments and skills that would make them employable in other institutions in the ‘market’ …” (more)

[Mark Johnson, Improvisation Blog, 10 July]

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The limits of North American forms of university governance

Posted in Governance and administration on September 30th, 2012 by steve

“The latest round of international rankings of universities have been announced and they are now subject to the close scrutiny of academic leaders and national government officials. Much is at stake for both groups …” (more)

[Emily Miller and Richard Skinner, University World News, 30 September]

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Should more alumni take governance roles?

Posted in Governance and administration on April 6th, 2011 by steve

“This is an interesting pamphlet from HEPI written by Professor Malcolm Gillies who has clearly been on the receiving end of a fair bit of governance. One of his core suggestions which is picked up by Times Higher Education is that alumni should play a bigger part in governance …” (more)

[Registrarism, 6 April]

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Using culture to understand how the academy is governed

Posted in Governance and administration on January 31st, 2011 by steve

“William Tierney’s book, The Impact of Culture on Organizational Decision Making (Stylus 2008), discusses the importance of using a cultural lens on the governance of higher education institutions …” (more)

[Bryan Gopaul, Academic Matters, 31 January]


Ramshackle governance?

Posted in Governance and administration on February 8th, 2010 by steve

“One of the more outspoken UK academics specialising in higher education policy is Professor Roger Brown of Liverpool Hope University. He is an interesting participant in debates on higher education not least because of his background, having been a Vice-Chancellor of one university, having also worked in a several others, and having been chief executive of the Higher Education Quality Council, the forerunner of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). He has not been afraid to express views that run counter to current fashion …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 8 February]

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Academic Governance – Strategic or Mimicry

Posted in Governance and administration on May 23rd, 2009 by steve

Ireland“The unprecedented removal of two vice-chancellors from UK universities has raised serious questions about governance of universities in general and their associated authorities, and about whether new forms of governance are now required for universities in Ireland. Many observers are examining the cases of Martin Everett at the University of East London (UEL) and Simon Lee at Leeds Metropolitan University in an effort to understand why these leaders of academic institutions became objects of intense scrutiny and speculation …” (more)

[Watchdog on Higher Education in Ireland, 22 May]


How universities are run

Posted in Governance and administration on April 30th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“It seems to me that one of the big debates that should take place, both in Ireland and elsewhere, over the next few years is what model of governance and management is most appropriate for higher education institutions. There are of course many different possible models, and many points of view amongst all the stakeholders. But one might say that on the opposite ends of the spectrum are, on the one side, those who would argue that universities are communities of scholars who should direct their own affairs by consensus, presided over by a primus inter pares with mainly ceremonial functions; and on the other side, those who argue that today’s universities are modern organisations that need to be led by a strong management responsible to corporate-style governing boards, with appropriate functions and powers delegated to a series of middle managers …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 30 April]

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New master plan needed for higher education

Posted in Governance and administration on April 16th, 2009 by steve

Ireland“The recent announcement of the UCD/TCD research hub with its quite extraordinary prediction of the creation of some 30,000 jobs over these next 10 years, together with the apparently imminent Government announcement of the reintroduction of third-level fees, highlights the urgent necessity for a root-and-branch analysis of our higher education system. There is a need for a debate to arrive at a thoughtful and forward-looking definition of the public purpose of higher education so that we have a clear understanding of the role of the higher education institutions in our society and, conversely, of the Government’s understanding of what it expects from them, and having achieved that, to institute a process of accountability to monitor their adherence to an agreed programme …” (more)

[John Kelly, Irish Times, 16 April]

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Where power lies

Posted in Governance and administration on April 16th, 2009 by steve

UK“They were perhaps the biggest stories in higher education in the past year outside the research assessment exercise. The vice-chancellors of two large universities left their posts in acrimonious circumstances. Observers poring over the cases of Martin Everett at the University of East London and Simon Lee at Leeds Metropolitan University quickly began to point the finger at governors, who became objects of intense scrutiny and speculation. ‘Many people are watching the (UEL) story with interest as it strikes a chord on understanding the relationship of v-cs to their governing bodies,’ said a Times Higher Education reader in a recent online posting. Lee was forced out after a row with the chair of governors over the level of undergraduate tuition fees charged by the university; Everett after complaints of poor leadership, despite 36 senior academics signing a petition demanding he be reinstated. The two departures left many questioning whether the priorities of the governing boards, the majority of whose members are businessmen and women, were sufficiently well aligned with academic priorities …” (more)

[Melanie Newman, Times Higher Education, 16 March]

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University Governance – Taking a page out of the Bankers Book!

Posted in Governance and administration on February 23rd, 2009 by steve

“The state of Governance in Irish Universities since the introduction of the Universities Act, 1997 has been the subject of recent commentary within the wider media. With the disclosure of serious revelations about governance within Anglo Irish Bank, the Banking Regulatory Authorities and the state Board FAS, many are now seriously questioning what is the appropriate role of a Governing Authority within an Irish University. The 1997 Act specifically established the Governing Authority to ensure that proper accountability was in place for the actions of a President and senior management not only to oversee fiscal responsibility and budgetary compliance but also to guarantee that the functions of a university are performed by or on the directions of its governing authority. These functions include …” (more)

[University Blog on Academic Tenure in Ireland, 23 February]

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The significance of governance

Posted in Governance and administration on February 20th, 2009 by steve

“… In fact, it could be argued that corporate governance is something that is not well established in higher education. Lest I am misunderstood, I should say first that I believe that, in my own university, it is functioning rather well. But in universities more generally, it would be hard to conclude that. Even on governing bodies, there is often a degree of tension caused by the different expectations of governance perceived by the various groups represented there. Also, the large size of most governing bodies doesn’t on the whole help, although this can be overcome by effective chairing …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 20 February]

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A Crowning Indignity

Posted in Governance and administration on January 27th, 2009 by steve

“At one time a faculty was viewed as more than just a group of teachers. Faculty members were the essence of a college or university. They set the intellectual tone of the school, and as a result, the institutional agenda was centered on ideas, learning, values and bringing students into the realm of the mind. A college education was once intended to bring about a comprehensive transformation of the entering high school graduate, yielding an incipient scholar four years later. Students at a college were expected to absorb its culture and attitude and identify, however subliminally, with its mission. Those majoring in a department established a sense of identity with the field, and professors exhibited a sense of responsibility for their welfare and progress. Even in larger institutions, majors were viewed as individuals, and sometime as colleagues, not just numbers. Full time faculty members became advisers, confidants, and sometimes, friends. It’s different now …” (more)

[Bernard Fryshman, Inside Higher Ed, 27 January]

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