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Higher Education
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.782
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 174  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1573-174X - ISSN (Online) 0018-1560
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2496 journals]
  • Transformation, stratification and higher education: exploring the
           absorption into employment of public financial aid beneficiaries across
           the South African higher education system
    • Abstract: Improving access to higher education is an important strategy for achieving equity in the labour market. Against the backdrop of the ‘massification’ of higher education in a number of countries, most notably in the UK during the 1990s, a growing literature on graduate un/employment has aimed to investigate whether the graduate labour market has absorbed the increasing number of university completers. In post-apartheid South Africa, this question assumes an added significance corresponding with the need to redress sharp inequalities in access to higher education inherited from the colonial and apartheid eras. Measuring graduate employment outcomes, however, is notoriously difficult. Graduate employment studies are often ad hoc and focus on graduates from only a handful of universities or degree programmes. Exploring a novel dataset, this paper presents the first analysis of the labour market absorption rates of publicly funded (through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)) graduates from low-income households across all South African universities between 2005 and 2015. While our findings illustrate the expected differences in the probability of employment by race and gender, we also identify a strong and significant association between the type of university from which NSFAS students graduate and the probability of employment and show that this association holds irrespective of race, gender and the field of study in which a degree is obtained. We conclude with a reflection on what a hierarchical higher education system means for the role of higher education in transformation and creating an equitable society.
      PubDate: 2019-10-17
  • Excellent researcher or good public servant' The interplay between
           research and academic citizenship
    • Abstract: Academics have always been endowed with the privilege of autonomy, but the diffusion of evaluation systems based on publication outcomes potentially jeopardizes the benefits deriving from behaviors that address other pillars of higher education. Besides research and teaching, academic citizenship, i.e., the service behaviors carried out within and outside organizational boundaries, are in fact cornerstones of university functioning. We investigate the relationship between academic citizenship and research after the introduction of an evaluation system that moves research performance to center stage on a dataset collecting publication records and service activities of 353 Italian scholars in the accounting discipline in the 2004–2013 period. A cluster analysis reveals different academics’ orientations towards research and academic citizenship. We contribute to the debate on academic choices by showing that a large number of university members tend to focus on a single type of academic citizenship or to adopt a research orientation, while a significant part remains stuck in the middle without achieving satisfying performance in any domains according to international standards, and discuss implications for the design of behavioral incentives.
      PubDate: 2019-10-17
  • Jean Murray, Anja Swennen, Clare Kosnik: International research, policy,
           and practice in teacher education
    • PubDate: 2019-10-15
  • Examining the race for world-class universities in China: a culture script
    • Abstract: In this article, we examine how the concept of world-class universities has emerged in Chinese higher education at both the sectoral and institutional level. We examine policy decisions related to creating world-class universities on China’s mainland and institutional responses to these policies. We then read these policies through “cultural scripts”—an analytic approach focused on visible and hidden cultural properties (Tan 2012, 2015) that may inform policy direction. First, we examine the intersection of Confucian values and Communist history in China as they relate to higher education. Second, we critically analyze the role of neoliberalism in higher education development worldwide and specifically in China. Third, we investigate utilitarianism as a feature of higher education in China. Finally, we draw critical conclusions about the emergence of world-class universities in China and their overall impact on the higher education sector there.
      PubDate: 2019-10-14
  • Respecting voices: how the co-creation of teaching and learning can
           support academic staff, underrepresented students, and equitable practices
    • Abstract: Analyses of how staff and student voices are, or are not, respected in higher education typically unfold in separate conversations. In this discussion, I use narrative analysis of several sources—primary research data, informal participant feedback, and participants’ published essays—to present a case study of how the co-creation of teaching and learning through one pedagogical partnership program brings the voices of staff and students into dialogue. The case study reveals how participating staff and students can develop voices that both speak respectfully and are self-respecting and that can, in turn, contribute to the development of more equitable classroom practices. I provide context for this case study by bringing together key points from literature on staff voice and on student voice, defining co-creation, describing the partnership program, and explaining my research method. The case study itself is constituted by the voices of staff and students who have participated in the partnership program. Drawing on staff words, I show how co-creation supports those staff members in developing voice through dialogue with a diversity of students voices; generating ways of discussing and addressing inequity; and constructing more equitable classroom approaches. Drawing on students’ words, I show how co-creation supports those students in developing voice by positioning them as pedagogical partners to staff and inviting them into dialogue with their staff partners; affirming that they can carry those voices into courses in which they are enrolled; and emboldening them to participate in ongoing conversations about the experiences of underrepresented and underserved students.
      PubDate: 2019-09-03
  • Gender segregation in higher education: an empirical test of seven
    • Abstract: Gender segregation in higher education (GSHE) is recognized as a key factor to explain the persistence of gender inequalities in the labor market despite the reversal of gender gap in educational attainment. Women are systematically overrepresented in fields of study, such as social sciences and the humanities, which offer relatively poor labor market prospects; at the same time, they are underrepresented in fields that perform above the average, as engineering and ICT. Several explanations for GSHE have been proposed in the literature, but their explanatory power has to be assessed yet. Using a rich longitudinal dataset on a recent cohort of Italian upper secondary school leavers, in this paper we jointly test seven potential mechanisms for GSHE. Our results show that rational choice explanations—such as skill-based explanations and gender differences in career preferences—fail to account for GSHE. On the contrary, expressive motivations related to preferences for school subjects and for specific occupations are found to mediate to a significant extent GSHE. However, our most important result concerns the key role of curricular track choice at upper secondary level which, alone, mediates two third of the gender difference in access to the humanities and social sciences and one third of the gender difference in access to engineering and ICT.
      PubDate: 2019-09-03
  • Dynamics of higher education research collaboration and regional
           integration in Northeast Asia: a study of the A3 Foresight Program
    • Abstract: This study investigated scientific research collaborations among universities in Northeast Asia and sought to conceptualize how they might influence, and be influenced by, broader processes of regional integration in economic, political, and societal arenas. To investigate these dynamics, a program for regional collaboration initiated jointly by the governments of China, Japan, and South Korea was taken as a case study. Co-authored publication outputs, annual project reports, and interviews with program participants at Japanese universities were analyzed using selected theories from the field of International Relations. The interviews explored the ideas researchers had about the potential for the indirect effects of collaborations to spill over into other arenas, and the barriers faced which impeded regional cooperation. The findings suggest that while a number of barriers exist, the program has contributed to ongoing knowledge production and regional collaboration, societal integration, and the cultivation of a generation of regionally-networked young researchers.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Deliberative pedagogy in a conflicted society: Cultivating deliberative
           attitudes among Israeli college students
    • Abstract: The study contributes to the inter-disciplinary field of deliberative pedagogy (DP), which is an engaged learning approach focused on academic processes that facilitate student learning of values, attitudes, and skills that support deliberative practice (Shaffer et al. 2017, xxi). The analysis examines the perceived effects of a DP course on Israeli students’ attitudes associated with the idea of deliberative democracy. The semester-long process was implemented at a private liberal arts college in Israel during three consecutive academic years in 2012 through 2015. Taking a grounded theory approach, the thematic analysis is based on open-ended questionnaire data completed by students who participated in the course (N = 48), and examines their perceptions of the course’s effects. Findings provide empirical support for the theoretical conceptualization of DP as a social learning process designed to affect students’ attitudes associated with deliberative practice within their particular social-political context. The study also contributes to the understanding of deliberative faith and its role in deliberative pedagogy. The author discusses the implications for Israel and similarly conflicted political contexts as well as for the field at large.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Structured relations between higher education institutions and external
           organisations: opportunity or bureaucratisation'
    • Abstract: This paper explores the introduction of centrally coordinated initiatives aimed at formalising universities’ relationships to external organisations. Such initiatives are referred to as structured relations. Based on a review of nine Swedish Universities, we identify three types of structured relation initiatives (network events, collaboration platforms, partnership agreements). In common for all structured relations identified are that they offer new opportunities to manage external expectations on universities, in particular as regards their ability to demonstrate their commitment to outreach activities. The formalisation of outreach activities challenges the academic tradition of giving individual professors discretionary mandates to enter and manage external relationships. Drawing on a collective action perspective, we analyse the tensions that are generated when universities introduce new elements of support and central coordination of outreach activities. The introduction of structured relations potentially contributes to changing the nature of the university as an organisation.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Does teaching rigorously really enhance undergraduates’ intellectual
           development' The relationship of academic rigor with critical thinking
           skills and lifelong learning motivations
    • Abstract: While previous research has examined outcomes related to academic rigor, mixed findings have resulted from differing conceptualizations of rigor as well as varying methodological approaches. Defining rigor as those in-class practices and assignments that require students to engage in deep learning and demonstrate cognitive complexity, we use longitudinal student-level data from 46 four-year institutions in the USA to examine the relationship of academic rigor with undergraduate development of critical thinking skills and two aspects of self-motivated learning (need for cognition and positive attitudes towards literacy). We find that academic rigor is positively related to both aspects of self-motivated learning at the end of the first year of college, with an advantage for students who enter college with low ACT scores and those with less positive attitudes about reading and writing. Rigor is positively related to all three outcomes at the end of the fourth year, with the magnitude of these relationships tending to increase from the first year to the fourth year. Further, by disaggregating the composite measure of rigor into subscales that separate rigorous in-class practices from rigorous exams and assignments, we find that the relationship between rigor and intellectual development is sometimes driven by one form of rigorous practice, with in-class rigor especially benefitting the critical thinking skills of first-generation students. These findings have important implications for instructors, administrators, and scholars in higher education.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Redesigning flipped classrooms: a learning model and its effects on
           student perceptions
    • Abstract: To maximize learners’ performance promotion in flipped classroom, this research redesigns a flipped classroom with four integrated practices: speed response questions, teacher face-to-face counselling, independent practices and team projects. Using questionnaire (N = 66) and interview (N = 20) data, the model is tested in two undergraduate introductory computer science courses in China, where students are typically reticent to engage in active learning in class. Data from a bipolar scale revealed that the majority of students regarded the new model as more student-centred. Using a learning capability matrix, this research deeply explored the benefits by learning dimension. The interviews provided details on the students’ positive attitudes to the model and one area of concern. This research may be helpful for the scholars who are redesigning their flipped classrooms or developing new in-class activities.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Why Chinese universities embrace internationalization: an exploration with
           two case studies
    • Abstract: Internationalization has become a new landmark of Chinese higher education, measured by indicators such as personnel mobility, number of offshore/joint programs, and international publications. Chinese universities have moved from isolation to the forefront of internationalization in a short timeline and amid the dramatic expansion of Chinese higher education to a mass system since the late 1990s. This has set the context of the internationalization discourse. At the same time, Chinese upper- and middle-class families increasingly choose not to send their offspring to Chinese universities, but rather to study abroad. These developments add up to a puzzle as to how internationalization has helped lift the standards of Chinese higher education. Drawing on the glonacal agency heuristic, resource dependency theory, and the Ethical Internationalism in Higher Education (EIHE) perspective, this paper utilizes the case study of two Chinese universities to address such two research questions: (1) How have Chinese universities managed to rise so dramatically in terms of internationalization' and (2) Why do they embrace internationalization so enthusiastically and how does this benefit them'
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Danish universities under transformation: Developments in staff categories
           as indicator of organizational change
    • Abstract: Claims of fundamental changes of the organizational model of universities have been widespread during the latest decades. To empirically assess the character and extent of organizational change is however not straightforward. This article contributes with partial, but also very tangible evidence of long-term organizational changes at Danish universities by analyzing detailed data on staff composition and salary distributions. The article shows that Danish universities indeed have undergone significant transformations, but that the full extent of these changes only becomes visible when a fine-grained analytical approach is employed. On the academic side of the organizations, relatively low-wage temporary positions have boomed at the expense of more expensive permanent ones. On the administrative side, specialized and highly educated administrative staff has surged substantially, while less expensive positions such as clerks, technicians, and service staff conversely have diminished in relative terms. Hence, while the analysis supports the overall claims in the literature, it also adds important nuances to the dominant narratives of organizational change.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Developing global partnerships in higher education for peacebuilding: a
           strategy for pathways to impact
    • Abstract: Higher education faces attack, erosion, underfunding and loss of capacity in contexts of armed conflict and state fragility. Losses in university capacities through casualties, injuries and internal displacement or forced migration are difficult to compensate for due to the degree of investment required to restore or lay new foundations for quality teaching and research, while attacks on universities may also discourage learners from attending tertiary education. Drawing upon a research and capacity development project in Somaliland, we propose a global strategy for higher education partnerships in teaching, research and development with practical outcomes in the area of education, conflict and peacebuilding. This strategy would address research and pedagogical training needs for higher education teachers; develop educational partnerships between higher education institutions in conflict-affected regions to facilitate collaborative teaching exchange; and enhance collaboration between higher education institutions, civil society and I/NGOs to promote peacebuilding in conflict-affected societies.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Staff views on commercial contract cheating in higher education: a survey
           study in Australia and the UK
    • Abstract: Contract cheating is, potentially, a serious threat to the quality of higher education around the world. Prior research has focused on student perspectives and the companies themselves, but the staff view is poorly understood, despite staff being a major stakeholder with considerable influence over strategies designed to address contract cheating. We surveyed staff in Australia and the UK about their views on contract cheating. We asked staff to estimate the extent of contract cheating, how much it cost students to buy assignments, and whether proposed strategies to tackle contract cheating would work. We also asked about the factors which may motivate students to engage with contract cheating. Staff in both countries estimated high costs for an assignment from an online essay mill. Staff believed that low numbers (5–10%) of students are using these services, although this could represent approximately a quarter of a million students across the two countries. A large proportion of staff had had some experience with student cases of contract cheating at their university and reported that outcomes were lenient. The most prominent reasons which staff believed contributed to contract cheating were ‘Studying in a non-native language’ and ‘Fear of Failure’. Over half of the respondents were aware of companies selling work to students on campus. There was strong support for the view that contract cheating services should be illegal, and that creative assessment strategies could reduce contract cheating. There was also modest, qualified support for the criminalising of student use of these services, and an increased use of examination-based assessments. Suggestions are made for how these data can inform the ongoing debate around contract cheating, including increasing staff awareness of contract cheating and the development of more appropriate assessment strategies.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • How conceptualisations of curriculum in higher education influence
           student-staff co-creation in and of the curriculum
    • Abstract: There is a wide range of activity taking place under the banner of ‘co-created curriculum’ within higher education. Some of this variety is due to the different ways people think about ‘co-creation’, but significant variation is also due to the ways in which higher education curriculum is conceptualised, and how these conceptualisations position the student in relation to the curriculum. In addition, little attention is paid to the differences between co-creation of the curriculum and co-creation in the curriculum. This paper addresses this gap by examining four theoretical frameworks used to inform higher education curriculum design. We examine how each framework considers the position of the learner and how this might influence the kinds of curricular co-creation likely to be enacted. We conclude by calling for more discussion of curriculum and curriculum theories in higher education—and for these discussions to include students. We argue that more clarity is needed from scholars and practitioners as to how they are defining curriculum, and whether they are focused on co-creation of the curriculum or co-creation in the curriculum. Finally, we suggest that paying greater attention to curriculum theories and their assumptions about the learner, offers enhanced understanding of curricular intentions and the extent to which collaboration is possible within any particular context.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Academic promotions at a South African university: questions of bias,
           politics and transformation
    • Abstract: The system of academic promotion provides a mechanism for the achievements of staff to be recognised. However, it can be a mechanism that creates or reflects inequalities, with certain groups rising to the top more readily than others. In many universities, especially in the global North, white men are preponderant in senior academic ranks. This leads to concerns about sexism and racism operating within processes of promotion. There is a global sensitivity that academic hierarchies should be demographically representative. In this study, we examine the data on eleven years of promotions at the University of Cape Town (UCT), a highly ranked, research-led university in South Africa. Its historical roots lie in a colonial past, and despite substantial increases in the number of black scholars, its academic staff complement is still majority white, driving the intensification of its transformation efforts. A quantitative analysis using time to promotion as a proxy for fairness was used to examine patterns of promotion at the university. Although international staff, those in more junior positions, with higher qualifications and in certain faculties enjoyed quicker promotion time, no association was found between time to promotion and gender. There were some differences in time to promotion associated with self-declared ethnicity (taken as synonymous with race), but these associations were not consistent. Although our findings provide some quantitative evidence of UCT’s success at creating a fair system of academic advancement, broader demographic transformation remains a priority. However, this cannot be addressed in isolation from the wider higher education enterprise.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Students’ university aspirations and attainment grouping in
           secondary schools
    • Abstract: International evidence shows that students from more disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to attend university. We examine the potential link between university aspiration and secondary schools’ attainment grouping practices (tracking/setting). Modelling of longitudinal student questionnaires (N = 6680) completed in England suggests that there is a slight cumulative association between students’ university aspirations and their set placement. Interestingly, we find that students’ self-confidence predicts university aspirations over and above both prior aspirations and attainment. Our findings suggest that to improve our understanding of students’ university aspirations it is crucial to take account of factors other than just prior attainment. The concept of capacity to aspire emphasises the multiplicity of factors involved in enabling or hindering aspirations for university, and their interaction over time. We argue that universities have an important role in realising more socially just patterns in higher education participation through outreach work that can enhance students’ capacity to aspire to university.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • More necessary and less sufficient: an age-period-cohort approach to
           overeducation from a comparative perspective
    • Abstract: In many countries, the skilled labor market has lagged educational expansion. As a result of increased competition, younger cohorts of the highly educated face decreasing returns to education or overeducation. Surprisingly, decreasing occupational outcomes do not coincide empirically with the economic returns among those with tertiary education. Regarding the process of changes in economic returns to education based on cohort transformations, we expect that the expansion of tertiary education affects specific cohorts, which find themselves facing more labor market competition. As a result, the economic returns to education should decrease among younger cohorts even when the overall returns to education remain stable over time. To study this process, we model economic returns with a new age-period-cohort-trended lag (APCTLAG) method, which allows us to compare the gap in economic returns between tertiary and less than tertiary education over cohorts. Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), we analyze trends over three decades in 12 countries. Our results confirm that educational returns for tertiary education have declined over time, even though the gap between the educated and the less educated has remained similar in most of the countries. For younger cohorts, tertiary education has become more necessary to survive in the competitive labor market, but the actual economic returns have decreased—making tertiary education less sufficient than before.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • ‘I wish to do an internship (abroad)’: investigating the perceived
           employability of domestic and international business internships
    • Abstract: This study examines the perceived employability of facultative domestic and international business internships, using an experimental between-subject factorial design. A sample of 194 Portuguese business employees rated the employability of six fictitious résumés of business graduates varying in gender and participation in a facultative internship. The résumés were target to an entry-level marketing position and were rated on a set of employability outcomes, such as job suitability, employability skills and starting salary. The results showed that the non-participation condition resulted in the worst rates of job suitability and employability skills, while the outcomes of the international and the domestic conditions were not significantly different from each other. Male interns were the most well ranked in job suitability and starting salary, while female non-interns were the worst ranked. This study provides evidence that an internship experience, even if facultative, is an information ‘good to add’ in the résumé but does not support the prediction that ‘the more international the better’. This evidence suggests that graduates’ employability depends not only on the academic credentials and skills they can bring to the labour market as on the expectations about their unique contribution. This study is one of the first to empirically examine the perceived employability of facultative business internships, exploring the relevance and value of domestic and international experiences.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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