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Higher Education
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.782
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 134  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1573-174X - ISSN (Online) 0018-1560
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2351 journals]
  • What makes academic careers less insecure' The role of
           individual-level antecedents
    • Authors: Renate Ortlieb; Silvana Weiss
      Pages: 571 - 587
      Abstract: The early stages of an academic career are fraught with insecurity. By focusing on the individual and his or her background, this article sets out to analyse and develop theories for this insecurity. We see academic career insecurity as a mix of how much someone wants to pursue a job in academia and what they feel is the probability of reaching their goal. The article draws on concepts of boundaryless careers and protean careers to theorise about the antecedents of insecurity. Empirical analysis is based on survey data from early-career researchers at a large Austrian university. The findings indicate that the most important individual factors that reduce academic career insecurity are the willingness to be geographically mobile, self-attribution of previous career success, a high proportion of working time devoted to research and networking, as well as being at an advanced career stage. The article demonstrates the potential and limits of the boundaryless and protean career concepts for studying academic careers. Practical measures are that universities should provide early-career researchers with temporal space for research and networking, facilitate stays at other universities, inform them about career success factors, and tailor faculty development programmes to the distinct stages of academic careers.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0226-x
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • An investigation into the role played by research assessment in the
           socio-geographic fragmentation of undergraduate economics education in the
    • Authors: James Johnston; Alan Reeves
      Pages: 589 - 614
      Abstract: This study charts the socio-geographic fragmentation of the economics discipline in the UK. It is revealed that the marriage of economics teaching and research is now limited to elite institutions located mainly in the south of the UK. None of the UK’s new (post-1992) universities submitted to the Economics and Econometrics (E&E) unit of assessment (UOA) in 2014, the UK’s most recent research evaluation exercise (REE). Lower REE scores are shown to be associated with higher withdrawal rates from the next E&E UOA and subsequent undergraduate economics programme closure. Universities that exit the E&E UOA moving to the Business and Management (B&M) UOA appear to benefit in the form of higher REE scores. Though restricted to the experience of one academic discipline in one country, the lessons from this study yield important insights into how the results of REEs can be a principal driver of change in higher education.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0227-9
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • Curriculum, teaching and powerful knowledge
    • Authors: Tony Harland; Navé Wald
      Pages: 615 - 628
      Abstract: This paper examines the concept of ‘powerful knowledge’ and provides new perspectives on an important emergent theory for education. We claim that the key to attaining powerful knowledge is ‘epistemic access’ to the discipline, which is access of the generative principles of knowledge creation. We draw on 15 years teaching and researching a university science programme in which undergraduate ecology students are trained as researchers during the 3 years they attend university. Hence, there is close alignment between teaching students to do research and powerful knowledge. In addition, it has been suggested that the ‘power’ in powerful knowledge is realised in what is done with that knowledge, that its purpose is social since it allows the holder to make a better contribution to society. We argue that in addition to such an aspirational ‘outcome’, it can be part of the process of education and early acquisition of powerful knowledge can influence all subsequent formal and informal learning experiences as the student progresses though university. A model for powerful knowledge is presented in which there is the possibility of powerful action after graduation, but this remains in the theoretical realm while there is very little empirical evidence supporting such a hypothesis for ecology students. Powerful action also questions the limits of responsibility for a teacher.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0228-8
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • Understanding change in higher education: an archetypal approach
    • Authors: Sofia Bruckmann; Teresa Carvalho
      Pages: 629 - 647
      Abstract: During the past three decades, higher education institutions have been changing, moving away from the traditional bureaucratic archetype towards a more managerialist one. Empirical research already demonstrated that organisations tend to be in a hybrid area of archetypal change. Considering the specific case of a government-imposed reform in Portugal, and using a case study approach of six public universities, this study aims to explore archetypal hybridism through the lens of two main dimensions: systems and structures and interpretive scheme. The theoretical background lies on academic literature on organisational change in higher education and specifically on archetype theory. The findings drawn from document analysis and interviews outline the main characteristics of the hybrid archetype that we chose to name efficient-collegiality.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0229-2
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • The research agenda setting of higher education researchers
    • Authors: João M. Santos; Hugo Horta
      Pages: 649 - 668
      Abstract: Research agenda setting is a critical dimension in the creation of knowledge since it represents the starting point of a process that embeds individual researchers’ (and the communities that they identify themselves with) interest for shedding light on topical unknowns, intrinsic and extrinsic factors underpinning that motivation, and the ambition and scope of what a research endeavor can bring. This article aims to better understand the setting of individual research agendas in the field of higher education. It does so by means of a recently developed framework on research agenda setting that uses cluster analysis and linear modeling. The findings identify two main clusters defining individual research agenda setting—cohesive and trailblazing—each with a different set of determining characteristics. Further analysis by cross-validation through means of sub-sampling shows that these clusters are consistent for both new and established researchers, and for frequent and “part-time” contributors to the field of higher education. Implications for the field of higher education research are discussed, including the relevance that each research agendas cluster has for the advancement of knowledge in the field.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0230-9
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • Global inequality in the academic system: effects of national and
           university symbolic capital on international academic mobility
    • Authors: Jürgen Gerhards; Silke Hans; Daniel Drewski
      Pages: 669 - 685
      Abstract: The global academic system is hierarchically structured between a center, a semi-periphery and a periphery. We analyze to what extent the position of a country and a university within this hierarchy of scientific reputation shapes doctoral students’ chances of international mobility. We conducted an exploratory experimental study using fake applications of international doctoral students sent to German sociology professors, who were asked to serve as supervisors during a planned research visit. Our fake applicants come from the core and periphery of the global academic system: Yale, Pennsylvania State University, National University Singapore, and Vietnam National University Hanoi. The results show that applicants from both US institutions get more positive and more personal feedback than the other applicants. This points to the importance of national scientific reputation. Moreover, we can show that universities’ symbolic capital seems to be more important than the quality of a department.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0231-8
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • Arab graduate students in a teachers college in Israel: leaving their
           identity at the gate
    • Authors: Rabah Halabi
      Pages: 687 - 700
      Abstract: This article examines the experience of Palestinian-Arab graduate students in an Israeli teachers college that describes itself as multicultural. By listening to the voices of the Arab students the article identifies the limitations of a liberal multiculturalism. The Arab students interviewed feel that they are treated fairly by their teachers, and they also note that they are treated well by the administration. While they acknowledge the progress made by the college when comparing the campus environment to that of other sites in the Israeli public sphere, their experience also teaches them to "leave their national identity at the gate" when they enter the college campus. They learn that giving expression to their national identity may jeopardize the social comfort zone that they manage to attain at the college—a comfort zone that is unlike anything they experience outside in the “real world.” While not quite feeling at home, the Arab students are left feeling like welcome guests. The research population included 52 male and female Arab students who studied in the college in 2015–2016. The data were gathered through semi-structured, in-depth interviews and analyzed using an open inductive coding method.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0232-7
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • Global private higher education: an empirical profile of its size and
           geographical shape
    • Authors: Daniel C. Levy
      Pages: 701 - 715
      Abstract: Societies’ relative use of private and public services is an abiding and significant issue of scholarly and policy interest. For higher education, however, there has hitherto been no comprehensive dataset and, accordingly, no extensive, reliable analysis of the private-public distribution. As this article provides both the dataset and the analysis, it allows us to discover both the size and geographical shape of global private higher education. Having grown greatly for decades, the private sector now holds a third (32.9%) of the world’s total higher education enrollment. We find striking patterns of concentration and dispersion. The several largest country systems account for much of the private enrollment but, simultaneously, private sectors now exist in all but a few systems; a stunning 97.6% of the world’s present enrollment is in systems with dual-sector provision. Societies no longer rely exclusively on public provision. We discover too that private enrollment concentrates mostly in developing regions, though it is noteworthy in developed regions as well. Asia and Latin America are the twin giants but in all regions, at least 10% of students are in the private sector.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0233-6
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • Public university governance in China and Australia: a comparative study
    • Authors: Min Hong
      Pages: 717 - 733
      Abstract: There are several common trends and challenges in the higher education (HE) system around the world, like expansion and diversification of HE, fiscal pressure and orientation to markets, demand for greater accountability and great quality and efficiency (e.g. The financing and management of higher education: a status report on worldwide reforms, 1998; Internationalisation of higher education and global mobility 43-58, 2014; Global policy and policy-making in education, 2014; Higher Education Policy 21:5-27, 2008). These trends and changes have reshaped university governance as well. Public universities are the main institutions to carry out HE in Australia and China. The engagement between Australia and China in HE sector has become closer and closer in recent years. To conduct better and further cooperation and collaboration between Australian and Chinese universities, it is critical to understand and acknowledge the differences in two nations’ university governance. Moreover, by conducting this comparative study of two nations, it also helps us to figure out the changes in university governance over times under the global trends and the interactions between global and local factors. This comparative study focuses on the university level and attempts to identify the differences of university governance in Australian and Chinese public universities in three dimensions, state-university relation, university internal governance and university finance. This paper sketches the university governance in Australia and China and finds that the relationship between government and university is looser in Australia than that in China and Australian universities enjoy more autonomy and power than Chinese universities; as to university internal governance, Australian universities use a more business-oriented management mechanism; funding associated with full-fee paying international students has become very important for Australian HE while Chinese government funding has been decreasing as well but funds from international students play a minimal financial role.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0234-5
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • International student education in China: characteristics, challenges, and
           future trends
    • Authors: Jiani Ma; Kai Zhao
      Pages: 735 - 751
      Abstract: International student education in China has been continuously changing in response to the rapid social transition since the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949. Adopting a historical perspective, this scholarly paper begins with an analysis of characteristics of international student education in China in terms of rationales, role of government, and international students. Several challenges are then identified and this paper concludes with observations on future trends of international student education development, with a special focus on the implications of “the Belt and Road”. This paper contributes to a better understanding of China’s role as an emerging host nation of international students.
      PubDate: 2018-10-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0235-4
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 4 (2018)
  • Writing in doctoral programs: examining supervisors’ perspectives
    • Authors: Gabriela González-Ocampo; Montserrat Castelló
      Pages: 387 - 401
      Abstract: In the current context of doctoral education students are required to develop a range of complex academic literacy skills to accomplish optimal performance in their academic communities of practice. This has led to increase the interest in research on doctoral writing. However, research on how supervisors contribute to doctoral writing has not been extensive. The purpose of this study is to analyze the supervisors’ perspectives on doctoral writing by addressing three questions: a) What role do supervisors attribute to writing in doctoral training' b) What type of writing support do supervisors intend to provide to their students' and c) What are the relations between the role supervisors attribute to writing and the type of writing support supervisors offer to their students' Participants were 61 supervisors in the social sciences and humanities with diverse levels of expertise. Using a cross-sectional interpretative design, we collected qualitative data using an open-ended survey. Categories based on content analysis were established (Miles and Huberman 1994). The results demonstrated that supervisors attributed different roles to doctoral writing, ranging from process- to product-oriented and focusing on 1) producing appropriate academic texts, 2) generating epistemic activity, and 3) promoting communication and socialization. A significant number of supervisors did not attribute any role to writing but acknowledged writing as an important and neglected activity. Three categories of writing support were identified based on the type of activities supervisors reported and their involvement: 1) telling the students what to do, 2) reviewing and editing students’ texts, and 3) collaboratively discussing students’ texts. The results suggest that there are complex relations between the role that supervisors’ attribute to writing and the type of writing support supervisors are able to offer. The relations appear to be mediated by supervisors’ awareness and resources concerning doctoral writing.
      PubDate: 2018-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0214-1
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 3 (2018)
  • Emergent achievement segregation in freshmen learning community networks
    • Authors: Jasperina Brouwer; Andreas Flache; Ellen Jansen; Adriaan Hofman; Christian Steglich
      Pages: 483 - 500
      Abstract: A common assumption about Freshmen Learning Communities (FLCs) is that academic relationships contribute to students’ success. This study investigates how students in learning communities connect with fellow students for friendship and academic support. Longitudinal social network data across the first year, collected from 95 Dutch students in eight FLCs, measure both social and academic relational choices within and beyond the FLCs. Using stochastic actor-based models, the study tests two competing hypotheses. The alignment hypothesis states that students connect with their similar-achieving friends for both academic and social support, leading to an alignment of both types of networks over time. In contrast, the duality hypothesis states dissimilarity between academic support networks and friendship networks: students should connect with better-achieving fellow students for academic support and to more similar peers for friendship. The data support the alignment hypothesis but not the duality hypothesis; in addition, they show evidence of achievement segregation in FLCs: the higher the students’ achievement level, the more they connect with other students for both academic support and friendship, relating in particular to peers with a similarly high achievement level. The results suggest that lower-achieving students are excluded from the support provided by higher-achieving students and instead ask similar lower achievers for support. They thus cannot benefit optimally from the academic integration FLC offer. The article concludes with recommendations of how to support students in an FLC so that they can reach optimal achievement potential.
      PubDate: 2018-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0221-2
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 3 (2018)
  • Neither “local” nor “global”: Chinese university students’
           identity paradoxes in the internationalization of higher education
    • Authors: Rui Yuan; Sifei Li; Baohua Yu
      Abstract: While previous research has explored the social and academic experiences of international students when studying abroad, limited attention has been paid to local students and their adaptation to the internationalization of higher education. To fill this gap, the present study, adopting identity as an analytic lens, examined a group of Chinese university students’ perceptions and experiences in an internationalized curriculum in China. The findings show that the participants tried to interpret, construct, and refine their individual, academic, and cultural identities on a daily basis. In particular, they encountered and negotiated with three identity paradoxes, i.e., between “dedicated learners” and “disoriented bees”, between “global citizens” and “proud Chinese”, and between “team players” and “independent fighters”. The study provides useful implications for university management, teachers, and students in response to the ongoing trend of internationalization of higher education.
      PubDate: 2018-09-25
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0313-7
  • “If they’ve had a middle class upbringing that’s not their fault”:
           the professional practices and personal identities of admissions staff at
           selective universities in England
    • Authors: Steven Jones; David Hall; Joanna Bragg
      Abstract: The role of staff involved with undergraduate admissions and recruitment has changed since the turn towards marketisation in higher education. This article focuses on the system in England following both a sharp rise in student fees and an associated tendency for the public university agenda and related social priorities, such as widening participation, to come up against more private and commercial priorities, such as business engagement, league table performance and internationalisation. Drawing on evidence from detailed interviews with admissions personnel, both academic and non-academic, across three disciplines within one higher prestige university, we revisit the notion of selectivity and the practice of selection. Tensions are revealed between two opposing approaches: a more traditional model of university admissions, as based on local knowledge and sensitivity towards underrepresented groups, and a purportedly merit-driven model, as driven by perceived market position. We explore the intricate and often unexpected ways in which staff reconcile their professed beliefs with their professional practices, and the complex identity work needed to renegotiate personal values in light of shifting institutional needs. Findings are offered as a microcosm for broader trends in the higher education sector.
      PubDate: 2018-09-25
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0311-9
  • A longitudinal study of the impact of reflective coursework writing on
           teacher development courses: a ‘legacy effect’ of iterative writing
    • Authors: Neil McLean; Linda Price
      Abstract: Studies into the efficacy of teacher development courses for early career academics point to graduates conceiving of their teaching in increasingly complex and student-focussed ways. These studies have used pre- and post-testing of conceptions of teaching to identify this finding. However, these studies do not identify what aspects of these courses contributed to these changes. This exploratory case study investigates this phenomenon through a longitudinal study of 16 academic teachers’ reflective coursework writing. Discourse analysis was used to contrast causal reasoning statements in assignments completed during participants’ first 2 years in-service, while they were completing a UK-based teacher development course. This analysis identified how reasoning about teaching and learning became more complex over time. A key element was the integration of experiences and earlier learning into more nuanced and multi-factorial later reasoning about teaching choices and effects. This ‘legacy effect’ provides new evidence for the efficacy of academic teacher development courses.
      PubDate: 2018-09-19
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0312-8
  • McLean, M. Abbas, A. Ashwin, P.: Quality in undergraduate education: how
           powerful knowledge disrupts inequality
    • Authors: Sue Clegg
      PubDate: 2018-09-18
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0316-4
  • Patterns of the China-Africa research collaborations from 2006 to 2016: a
           bibliometric analysis
    • Authors: Wilson Eduan; Jiang Yuanqun
      Abstract: International collaboration with the Western countries has over the years been the main component of research and development in Africa’s higher education. However, Africa continues to lag behind in research performance. In the last decade, the rise of China brought on board an additional partnership through the Forum on China-Africa Collaboration initiatives guided by China-Africa policy. In view of the growing scepticism and misgivings over the China approach to collaboration with Africa, assessing patterns of progress by the China-Africa research collaborations cannot be ignored. Using bibliometric analysis of research data from InCites, the study reveals that the partnership is growing progressively in absolute terms though with high levels of relative growth rate. A few of the African countries are more engaged than the others. Fortunately for Africa, the partnership involves the physical sciences where the continent is greatly lacking and high impact is being registered. The study has the implication that while Africa needs to address issues of policy on sciences and funding for research in higher education, China equally needs to go beyond the current locations in Africa and equally engage with the lesser developed players on the continent.
      PubDate: 2018-09-18
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0314-6
  • A nation’s foreign and domestic professors: which have better research
           performance' (the Italian case)
    • Authors: Giovanni Abramo; Ciriaco Andrea D’Angelo; Flavia Di Costa
      Abstract: This work investigates the research performance of foreign faculty in the Italian academic system. Incoming professors compose l.1% of total faculty across the sciences, although with variations by discipline. Their scientific performance measured over 2010–2014 is on average better than that of their Italian colleagues: the greatest difference is for associate professors. Psychology is the discipline with the greatest concentration of top foreign scientists. However, there are notable shares of unproductive foreign professors or of those with mediocre performance. The findings stimulate reflection on issues of national policy concerning attractiveness of the higher education system to skilled people from abroad, given the ongoing heavy Italian brain drain.
      PubDate: 2018-09-15
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0310-x
  • Correction to: Role split phenomenon of academic staff in Chinese higher
           education: a case study of Fudan University
    • Authors: Du Xiaoxin
      Abstract: The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake.
      PubDate: 2018-09-13
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0309-3
  • “This barrier between:” the ethnic divisions of higher education in
           Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates
    • Authors: Grace Karram Stephenson; Shakina Rajendram
      Abstract: Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates are home to wealthy minority groups with little or no access to public higher education. These countries share parallel trajectories of economic and educational growth, yet they have starkly different citizenship and educational policies that govern the diverse populations within their borders. The result in higher education has been differentiated systems whose contours are largely shaped by these ethnic divisions. Institutional prestige, student enrolment, and long-term sector stability are the areas most strongly influenced, although outcomes differ between Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates due to differing national policies on citizenship. A comparative, vertical analysis of student interviews, institutional curriculum, and government policies indicates that institutions and governments can mitigate the deleterious divisions in higher education related to ethnicity and citizenship. Government policies which withhold citizenship or higher education from a particular ethnic or class group, will, in the long run, decrease the stability of the education sector and reinforce the ethnic divisions within a country. Conversely, inter-ethnic collaboration within university programs has the potential to improve ethnic relations between groups, while inclusive notions of citizenship solidify the higher education sector.
      PubDate: 2018-09-07
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0307-5
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