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Higher Education
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.782
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 130  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1573-174X - ISSN (Online) 0018-1560
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2348 journals]
  • How lecturers’ understanding of change is embedded in disciplinary
           practices: a multiple case study
    • Authors: Anna Bager-Elsborg
      Pages: 195 - 212
      Abstract: In the literature, higher education teaching is typically conceptualised as generic or determined by disciplinary characteristics. Academic development literature mirrors this dichotomy when discussing the starting point for development work. However, this focus on universal characteristics overlooks crucial aspects of contextual influence on teaching and of lecturers’ derived willingness to change their teaching. This article contributes to the existing literature by illustrating how understanding of and willingness to change is a part of a disciplinary practice. The analysis demonstrates how disciplinary dispositions create frames of meaning in which the understanding of change is embedded. Further, it is argued that academic development has a greater chance of succeeding if it aims at the working-group level, challenges the discipline values and takes an outsider perspective.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0195-0
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • Administrators in higher education: organizational expansion in a
           transforming institution
    • Authors: Roxana-Diana Baltaru; Yasemin Nuhoḡlu Soysal
      Pages: 213 - 229
      Abstract: Recent European research has revealed growth in the number of administrators and professionals across different sections of universities—a long established trend in US universities. We build on this research by investigating the factors associated with variation in the proportion of administrators across 761 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in 11 European countries. We argue that the enactment of expanded and diversified missions of HE is one of the main factors nurturing universities’ profesional and administrative bodies. Our findings support such an assertion; regardless of geographical and institutional differences, HEIs with high levels of “entrepreneurialism” (e.g. in service provision and external engagement) are characterized by a larger proportion of administrative staff. However, we find no empirical support for arguments citing structural pressures and demands on HEIs due to higher student enrolments, budget cuts or deregulation as engines driving such change. Instead, our results point towards, as argued by neo-institutionalists, the diffusion of formal organization as a model of institutional identity and purpose, which is especially prevalent at high levels of external connectedness.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0204-3
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • Research groups as communities of practice—a case study of four
           high-performing research groups
    • Authors: Lise Degn; Thomas Franssen; Mads P. Sørensen; Sarah de Rijcke
      Pages: 231 - 246
      Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate the organization of research in high-performing research groups in an age of increasing competition and pressure from outside and within higher-education institutions. To explore how researchers navigate such pressures and demands, the practice and perceptions of four high-performing research groups in Denmark and the Netherlands are examined, and the extent to which these groups can be understood as “communities of practice” or if they are displaying “team”-like characteristics is discussed. Previous studies have shown the benefits of communities of practice for organizational performance, and the present study demonstrates that the successful groups do indeed share many characteristics with such communities. A central argument of the paper is, however, also that incentive structures, inherent in many new policy initiatives that are meant to foster excellence in science, are more directed at “team-like” organization by focusing on, e.g., formally organized work processes, predefined goals, milestones, work packages, and hierarchically organized consortia. The potential implications of this are discussed.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0205-2
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • Everyday nationalism and elite research universities in the USA and
    • Authors: Jonathan Z. Friedman
      Pages: 247 - 261
      Abstract: The reinvigoration of popular nationalism in the USA and UK has largely been framed as counter to the cosmopolitan globalization associated with their elite universities over the past decade. Opposing these two sets of values may be too simplistic, however, given the cultural and political ties long institutionalized between elite universities and the nation. This article endeavors to highlight these entanglements—which were present before the election of Donald Trump or the fateful vote for Brexit—by drawing on interviews conducted with personnel at four elite research universities in these two countries from 2013 to 2014. In particular, this article focuses on the way these individuals invoked symbolic boundaries drawn along national lines as common sense, natural, and enduring, seeing their universities as embodying national characteristics, and as obliged to serve national interests. In providing ontological order to the world, the presence of this “banal” or “everyday” nationalism has arguably been central to the conceptualization and enactment of internationalization in these and other universities. These findings complicate discussions of elite universities as globalizing and unmooring from the nation-state framework, or otherwise working against the forces of nationalism. The article also raises new questions about divisions between different constituents of today’s globalizing academy.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0206-1
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • The employability skills of higher education graduates: insights into
           conceptual frameworks and methodological options
    • Authors: Fátima Suleman
      Pages: 263 - 278
      Abstract: In recent decades, a growing body of literature has emerged to illustrate the strong pressure on higher education institutions to prepare graduates for the world of work. This paper examines studies that attempt to incorporate the concept of employability skills in the empirical analysis. It thus focuses on the conceptual discussion and methodological options to show how researchers cope empirically with the assumptions associated with employability skills. This literature survey offers a taxonomy of methods that distinguishes between direct and indirect, as well as supervised and unsupervised, methods for the collection of data on skills. Although the underlying premise of the available research is that higher education institutions and policymakers should be provided with information on employability skills, the studies examined in this paper suggest that the identification of those skills is an impossible endeavour. Agreement is only found on some cognitive, technical, and relational skills. More importantly, it is argued that the supply-side approach overlooks economic and social processes that might affect employability. The problem of graduates’ employability transcends higher education institutions’ provision of useful and matched skills.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0207-0
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • Unequal origin, unequal treatment, and unequal educational attainment:
           Does being first generation still a disadvantage in India'
    • Authors: Rashim Wadhwa
      Pages: 279 - 300
      Abstract: The Indian higher education system is supposed to be the source of equal opportunities to all students irrespective of their life circumstances. Does it succeed in realizing this ideal' In fact, the system of higher education inadvertently plays a critical role in constructing and recreating the inequalities between groups. The prime victims of inequality are first-generation students, whose disadvantages are unseen, their voices ignored and left on their own. In India, first-generation students are typically confronted with the dynamics of caste-based inequality in addition to their deficiency in the cultural and social capital. In this context, the purpose of this study was to examine if being a first-generation student had a significant influence on educational attainment. The field survey data of 900 senior secondary students was employed for the analysis. For the purpose of analysis, educational attainment was measured in terms of completion of higher secondary school and entry into higher education. The findings of the study confirm the difference in educational attainment between first-generation students and their counterparts. Results of logistic regression indicate that the location, category, family income, academic achievement, stream of education, and social and cultural capital are the pertinent factors which influence the educational attainment of first-generation students.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0208-z
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • Entrepreneurial learning as experienced by agricultural graduate
    • Authors: Naser Zamani; Maryam Mohammadi
      Pages: 301 - 316
      Abstract: Developing entrepreneurial graduates is essential to the future of higher education and supply of quality human resources in developing countries. To address this issue in the agriculture sector, which is dominant in economic terms in most developing countries, an exploratory combined qualitative and quantitative research was conducted to understand entrepreneurial learning of agricultural graduate entrepreneurs. For the phenomenological study, 14 agricultural graduate entrepreneurs were purposely selected, and for the quantitative study, 92 entrepreneurs were selected through simple random sampling method. The phenomenological study revealed 12 themes on how graduates experienced entrepreneurial learning. Our study finds support for “experiential learning,” “learning by doing,” and “social learning” theories. Nine themes including previous business experience, risk-taking propensity, entrepreneurial persistence, use of various information sources, tendency to be self-employed, concerns about job or career, interest in practical courses and activities, passion for agriculture, and thinking outside the box are internal to the entrepreneur and could be seen as learner identity. The theme of “support from family and friends” could be seen as a significant external influence. The survey showed that entrepreneurial learning themes were generalizable to the studied population. Although different students can take different learning paths to become the best they can be, our findings suggest that the overall student learning experience can be designed to ensure that graduates are more likely to become entrepreneurs.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0209-y
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • A set of indicators for measuring and comparing university
           internationalisation performance across national boundaries
    • Authors: Yuan Gao
      Pages: 317 - 336
      Abstract: Since universities’ commitment to internationalisation has been increasing, instruments for measuring institutional internationalisation performance are urgently needed to monitor and evaluate the progress made about internationalisation. Although efforts have been made to develop various tools, an internationally applicable instrument for universities to measure and compare their internationalisation performance remains missing. This study attempted to develop an indicator framework of such kind to fill the gap. A total of 182 administrative staff and 17 policymakers from 17 flagship universities in Australia, Singapore and China were consulted in order to establish the framework. The study resulted in a set of 15 indicators that captures six key dimensions of university internationalisation. It attempts to cover internationalisation in its widest possible sense with practical number of indicators. This study also contributes to the knowledge body of developing measurement for university internationalisation by reflecting on the fundamental challenge of measuring the phenomenon.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0210-5
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • (Re-)designing higher education curricula in times of systemic
           dysfunction: a responsible research and innovation perspective
    • Authors: Valentina C. Tassone; Catherine O’Mahony; Emma McKenna; Hansje J. Eppink; Arjen E. J. Wals
      Pages: 337 - 352
      Abstract: There is an urgent need to address the grand sustainability challenges of our time, and to explore new and more responsible ways of operating, researching, and innovating that enable society to respond to these challenges. The emergent Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) policy agenda can act as a catalyst towards the development of new and more responsible research and innovation efforts. Inevitably, higher education needs to be closely attuned to this need and agenda, by preparing students to engage in RRI efforts. This paper makes a first step towards guiding the embedding of RRI within higher education. It does so by bringing together academic knowledge with phronesis or practical knowledge about what should be done in an ethical, political, and practical sense. It draws on a literature review and on the reflective practices of partners in the European Commission funded project EnRRICH (Enhancing Responsible Research and Innovation through Curricula in Higher Education), as well as on interviews and case studies gathered as part of the project. The paper suggests elements, especially design principles and a competence framework, for (re)designing curricula and pedagogies to equip higher education students to be and to become responsible actors, researchers, and innovators in a complex world, and to address grand sustainability challenges. In addition, this paper proposes that contemporary higher education teaching and learning policies and strategies, especially those promoting neoliberal agendas and marketized practices, need to adopt a more responsible and responsive ethos to foster the renewal of higher education in times of systemic dysfunction.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0211-4
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • Voluntarily exiled' Korean state’s cultural politics of young
           adults’ social belonging and Korean students’ exile to a US community
    • Authors: Sujung Kim
      Pages: 353 - 367
      Abstract: This study examines the complicated interlink between the Korean state’s neoliberal identity politics and working- and lower middle-class Korean students’ study abroad as a form of voluntarily exile. Drawing on a critical discourse analysis and a 14-month ethnographic study, this study discusses how these students’ decisions to study abroad are inextricably intertwined with the authoritarian Korean state’s neoliberal political-economic strategies of pushing out seemingly less-profitable citizens (namely, students and graduates of low-ranking 4-year institutions). This study also examines students’ strategies for simultaneously resisting and conforming to this neoliberal ethos. For working-class and lower middle-class Korean community college students, study abroad means a deviation from the normal educational and life trajectories in Korea while, at the same time, their education in the USA opens a pathway for reentering the Korean neoliberal system as more profitable citizens. Their being recognized as members of a profitable workforce indicates their achievement of neoliberal normalcy.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0212-3
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • Reverse flow in academic mobility from core to periphery: motivations of
           international faculty working in Kazakhstan
    • Authors: Jack T. Lee; Aliya Kuzhabekova
      Pages: 369 - 386
      Abstract: Through expanding flows of labor and knowledge on a global scale, academics are increasingly mobile as higher education institutions compete for talent that transcends borders. However, talent often flows from the periphery to the core as scholars seek out employment in recognized institutions of higher learning in developed economies. This study examines faculty mobility in a reverse direction: from the core to Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia. What factors persuade faculty members to relocate to Kazakhstan for full-time employment' What types of individuals pursue this relocation' Through interviews with international faculty members based in Kazakhstan, the study identifies push factors that trigger departure from one’s previous country of residence: job market, unsatisfactory work conditions, age, and marital status. Alternatively, Kazakhstan attracts scholars via pull factors that include salary, sense of adventure, and the opportunity to build new institutions and programs as well as conduct research. Unlike previous studies that highlight boundaryless mobility and individual agency, this study reveals constraints that mediate international faculty mobility. Furthermore, salary plays a limited role as a pull factor particularly among early career academics who are seeking research opportunities and meaningful contributions in building new academic programs and institutions.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0213-2
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 2 (2018)
  • Marta Peris-Ortiz, Jaime Alonso Gómez, José M. Merigó-Lindahl, Carlos
           Rueda-Armengot (eds.): Entrepreneurial universities: exploring the
           academic and innovative dimensions of entrepreneurship in higher education
    • Authors: Rui Hu; Yifan Wang; Peng Bin; Yinghua Ye
      Pages: 183 - 186
      Abstract: This book review introduces Marta Peris-Ortiz, Jaime Alonso Gómez, José M. Merigó-Lindahl, and Carlos Rueda-Armengot’s book entitled Entrepreneurial universities: exploring the academic and innovative dimensions of entrepreneurship in higher education. Entrepreneurship is an expression of the talent of human creation, and the concept of the entrepreneurial university is the most well-articulated item in the evolution of the university towards the requirements of the knowledge-based society. However, two main questions are still under-explored: what are the core features of entrepreneurial universities, and what kind of activities related to innovation and entrepreneurship does arise in academic setting' The book can be grouped into three main sections: one concerns the entrepreneurial education of students provided by entrepreneurial university; the sections confirm the entrepreneurial initiatives and activities of entrepreneurial universities, which contribute to innovation and technology transfer; and those involve entrepreneurial research in academic setting. The book explores the institutional aspects of entrepreneurship activities to establish entrepreneurial universities. The defect of this book is the slightly lack of longitudinal study and secondary data in entrepreneurial intention and orientation research.
      PubDate: 2018-07-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-017-0197-y
      Issue No: Vol. 76, No. 1 (2018)
  • ‘Judgement’ versus ‘metrics’ in higher education
    • Authors: Crawford Spence
      Abstract: This article argues that universities currently privilege an instrumental ethos of measurement in the management of academic work. Such an ethos has deleterious consequences, both for knowledge production and knowledge transfer to students. Specifically, evidence points towards the production of increasingly well-crafted and ever more numerous research outputs that are useful in permitting universities to posture as world class institutions but that ultimately are of questionable social value. Additionally, the ever more granular management of teaching and pedagogy in universities is implicated in the sacrifice of broad and deep intellectual enquiry in favour of ostensibly more economically relevant skills that prepare graduates for the travails of the labour market. In both cases, metric fetishization serves to undermine nobler, socially minded visions of what a university should be. For such visions to flourish, it is imperative that universities take steps that explicitly privilege a collegial ethos of judgement over a managerialist ethos of measurement.
      PubDate: 2018-08-06
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0300-z
  • Leadership and management in quality assurance: insights from the context
           of Khulna University, Bangladesh
    • Authors: Afroza Parvin
      Abstract: This article examines the challenges in quality assurance in higher education in the context of Bangladesh through the lens of “managerial leadership.” It focuses on unveiling the issues in management and leadership that affect quality performance at program level. The public universities of Bangladesh have remained outside any internal/external assessment or accreditation process until the government initiated a nationwide quality assurance program in 2015. This is attributed largely to the culture of ignorance of accountability among the academics that has created a landscape of mutually indemnified systems of inefficient management at all levels: university, school, and discipline. To this end, this study investigates the role of concerned authorities in realizing the fullest potential of existing constitutional responsibilities, developing necessary policies and regulations accordingly, and ensuring proper implementation and monitoring of the policies. Underpinned by a context-bound theoretical framework, this article reports the research outcomes through triangulation of findings from reflections of former vice-chancellors, deans, and heads on their own managerial-leadership experiences. Based on empirical findings, this paper unveils how lack of effective leadership has led to “lack of accountability,” that in turn, has created “inefficient management” in public universities in Bangladesh.
      PubDate: 2018-08-04
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0299-1
  • Prestige or education: college teaching and rigor of courses in
           prestigious and non-prestigious institutions in the U.S.
    • Authors: Corbin M. Campbell; Marisol Jimenez; Christine Arlene N. Arrozal
      Abstract: It is often assumed that higher prestige colleges and universities, via the rankings, have a better quality of education. Yet, the prestige structure in U.S. higher education favors resources, research, and student selectivity over teaching and undergraduate educational practices. Using quantitative observational data from 587 courses across 9 institutions of higher education in the U.S., this study examines whether courses in high prestige institutions have stronger teaching and academic rigor than courses in lower prestige institutions. Using a broad scale observational protocol, the study provides a closer look at course practices as they unfold, while also examining trends across contexts. Findings show initial evidence that the assumption that higher prestige institutions in the U.S. have better in-class educational experiences could be re-examined.
      PubDate: 2018-07-27
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0297-3
  • Development and validation of a scale to measure first year students’
           transitional challenges, wellbeing, help-seeking, and adjustments in an
           Australian university
    • Authors: Prathyusha Sanagavarapu; Jessy Abraham; Emma Taylor
      Abstract: To date, there is no research or instrument that can collectively measure beginning students’ transitional challenges, wellbeing, help-seeking, and adjustments to university. This paper addresses this research gap by theorising and describing the relationship between these constructs and by developing and assessing the psychometric properties of a scale to measure those, labelled as Transition, Wellbeing, Help-seeking, and Adjustments Scale (TWHAS). Data was collected from 306 first year students studying in an Australian university, using a self-reporting questionnaire. The analysis shows that the TWHAS is a sound and psychometrically valid instrument. This questionnaire makes a unique contribution to the students’ transition literature in Higher Education. Its implications for universities, along with recommendations for further research, are also briefly discussed.
      PubDate: 2018-07-20
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0298-2
  • From a diversifying workforce to the rise of the itinerant academic
    • Authors: Celia Whitchurch
      Abstract: The literature on the diversification of the higher education workforce has tended to focus on broad brush changes to patterns of employment and working conditions. What has been less remarked is ways in which individuals are negotiating the structures and stretching the parameters within which they work, including experience outside higher education. Thus, academic work is also seen in the context of broader opportunities, for instance extended networks that enable individuals to construct new forms of professional capital. Arising from these conditions, two empirical studies, on which this paper draws, demonstrate the emergence of what might be termed itinerant identities. The triggers for these are seen as arising, on the one hand, from a spirit of exploration, that is an intrinsic interest in entering new areas of activity, and, on the other, from a desire for a greater sense of security by keeping a range of options open. The two motivations are not mutually exclusive and are likely to depend on individual circumstances and career stages. It would also appear that, in space outside higher education, individuals may find some of the freedom and autonomy they may feel that they have lost as a result of increased structural requirements including, for instance, workload models and performance assessment.
      PubDate: 2018-07-19
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0294-6
  • Information-seeking behaviour and academic success in higher education:
           Which search strategies matter for grade differences among university
           students and how does this relevance differ by field of study'
    • Authors: Hannes Weber; Dominik Becker; Steffen Hillmert
      Abstract: Today, most college students use the Internet when preparing for exams or homework. Yet, research has shown that undergraduates’ information literacy skills are often insufficient. In this paper, we empirically test the relation between information-seeking strategies and grades in university. We synthesise arguments from the literature on information-seeking behaviour and approaches to learning in tertiary education. Building on the distinction between deep- and surface-level learning, we develop a classification of online search strategies and contrast it with traditional information behaviour. Multivariate analyses using a two-wave online survey among undergraduate students at a German university indicate that using advanced online information-seeking strategies is a significant and robust predictor of better grades. However, there are notable differences between subject groups: Traditional information behaviour is still crucial in the humanities. Advanced search strategies are beneficial in all settings, but only one in four students uses these early on, while this share increases to around 50% over the course of studies.
      PubDate: 2018-07-18
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0296-4
  • Universities’ pursuit of inclusion and its effects on professional
           staff: the case of the United Kingdom
    • Authors: Roxana-Diana Baltaru
      Abstract: This paper explores the proliferation of non-academic professionals as a cultural response to universities’ mission of inclusion. Departing from a neo-institutionalist perspective, the author argues that the diffusion of highly rationalised models of institutional action shapes universities as formal organisations who engage with new levels of professional expertise in the pursuit of goals and missions. The United Kingdom (UK) offers an illustrative example, the emergence of statutory equality duties on public institutions (race equality duty 2001, disability equality duty 2006 and gender equality duty 2007) nurturing an image of universities as strategic for the pursuit of demographic inclusion. Using yearly longitudinal data on 109 UK universities from 2003 to 2011, the author shows that universities increase their professional staff in catering for demographic inclusion in terms of ethnicity and disability, revealing highly rationalised institutional responses to the aforementioned equality duties. The findings contribute to the neo-institutionalist literature drawing attention to the transformation of universities into organisational actors (i.e. highly integrated entities, strategically oriented towards the pursuit of formally articulated goals and targets), which contrasts with traditional conceptions of the university as an institution with a taken-for-granted societal role and loosely defined organisational backbone. The findings provide the impetuous for further empirical research into the role of professional staff as universities assimilate new goals and missions.
      PubDate: 2018-07-17
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0293-7
  • Rethinking higher education in China as a common good
    • Authors: Lin Tian; Nian Cai Liu
      Abstract: Tendencies to marketization and privatization in higher education, along with other factors, have challenged the idea of higher education as a public good in many countries over the years. China has experienced this situation to some extent. During the last 20 years, this has triggered various discussions on higher education and public good(s) in China. Drawing on qualitative data from 24 semi-structured interviews in both government departments and universities, this study defines and explores public and common good(s) in relation to higher education in China. As the first empirical study on this theme in the country, it is argued that this study makes a significant and original contribution to knowledge with international relevance. This paper identifies the complex nature of higher education in China and proposes that it may be better described in relation to common good(s). Also, as a common good, higher education in China contributes to the (global) common good and generates (global) common goods in many aspects.
      PubDate: 2018-07-11
      DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0295-5
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