THE MODERNISATION AGENDA OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS: THE PROFESSIONALISATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION MANAGEMENT
University of Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Winds of change blow in higher education. The European Commission among other international organizations together with national governments are emphasizing the importance of higher education for the knowledge society and the regional development. However, European higher education institutions are not competitive at a global scale nowadays and they are generally regarded as lacking adaptation, innovation and competitive mindset.
Therefore, governments and organisations have designed structural reforms towards the modernisation of universities in Europe since traditional ways of governing and funding are no longer effective. Many policy papers and academic publications have also underlined the importance of management structures and effective leadership in higher education institutions.
Universities are now granted higher autonomy in an uncertain and increasingly competitive environment, strengthening higher education administration and management. Nevertheless, most European universities currently lack from a professional managerial personnel able to cope with increasingly complex spheres of responsibility.
The modernisation agenda of universities must be primarily based on the professionalization of the leadership and management. The training programmes of higher education leadership and management emerge in order to provide managers with the appropriate expertise and specialist knowledge for successfully dealing with their management functions.
This paper is focused on the variety of higher education leadership and management programmes that are currently available in Europe. Firstly, the paper will analyse the central role of this type of programmes in the modernisation agenda of European universities, from conferences and short seminars to doctorates. Secondly, their main characteristics will be discussed and compared, identifying the most common approaches and methods.
Thirdly, their main barriers, which range from the uncertainty about their return on investment to the complexity of the course contents design, will be identified. Finally, conclusions and recommendations will be addressed in order to overcome the challenges ahead resulting in more professionalised management that improve the competitiveness of European universities while successfully contributing to the economic and social development
Keywords: Higher Education, Modernisation, Management, Professionalisation.