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Consortium of Higher Education Researchers

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Abstract

In 1988, the Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER) was founded – a membership organization of higher education researchers interested in enhancing the academic quality of higher education research, thereby striving for a balance between theoretical enhancement and societal relevance of research and placing emphasis on macro-societal issues of higher education and on international comparison. CHER is European based but comprises members from all over the world interested in these research priorities. It is a relatively small, softly organized association which turned out to be very successful in networking and stimulating research collaboration. Many CHER members are highly visible in terms of academic research productivity, international collaborative research, and dialogues between higher education research and higher education policy and practice.

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Article
The current stage of higher education development is featured by a complex and dynamic environment, new threats associated with the coronavirus pandemic. These challenges dictate the need for universities to maintain firm competitive positions. Taking into account the peculiarities of the higher education and the subjective assessment of a number of factors, it is necessary to adapt the models of assessing the competitiveness of educational organizations to the specifics of the market. The purpose of the article is to modernize and test Porter's model of Five Competitive Forces for the education market system. The object of the study is the educational services market of the Sverdlovsk region. The most significant attention in the proposed model is paid to identifying and describing the features and structure of the five forces of competition. The authors propose to consider the power of internal and external consumers of university educational services as the power of customers, and the threat of online education and the creation of corporate universities of large companies as a threat from substitutes. The main attention of the authors is paid to an empirical study of the competitiveness of brands of universities in the Sverdlovsk region using the results of a survey of 177 graduates of the 11th grade of Yekaterinburg, conducted in 2020. The analysis of the applicants' motivation showed that the most important motives in choosing a university are the possibility of free education and the qualification of the teaching staff, further material benefits, such as fair wages and favorable employment. The most popular sources of information for applicants are the official website of the high school, as well as relatives, friends and acquaintances. As a result of the analysis, it is concluded that it is necessary to develop a marketing strategy to increase the competitive position, awareness and the level of public confidence of the university. The authors suggest universities to personalize relationships with students in order to increase loyalty to the university, use information technology to implement flexible programs of interaction with consumers of educational services.
Book
Full-text available
This book presents the analysis of the representative survey about the academic profession in twelve European countries. Higher education in Europe has experienced a substantial change in recent years: Expansion progresses further, the expectation to deliver useful contributions of knowledge to the "knowledge society" is on the rise, and efforts to steer academic work through external forces and strong international management are more widespread than ever. Representative surveys of the academic profession in twelve European countries show how professors and junior staff at universities and other institutions of higher education view the role of higher education in society and their professional situation and how they actually shape their professional tasks. Academics differ across Europe substantially in their employment and working conditions, their views and their activities. Most of them favour the preservation of a close link between teaching and research and feel responsible for both theory and practice. Most consider efforts to enhance academic quality and social relevance as compatible. The overall satisfaction with their professional situation is rather high
Article
Full-text available
Higher education research isclosely linked to the debates on highereducation policy and practice. It provides theinformation basis for decisions about thefuture of higher education. As the themes of the public debate on problems and reform needs in higher education change quickly, higher education research has to anticipate future problems andthemes of debates in order to develop conceptsand to generate knowledge well in advance.Future-conscious higher education researchmight aim to identify likely future changes inthematic areas which are already in thelimelight of public attention, as trends in theareas of expansion of higher education,diversification of structures of the highereducation system, system steering andinstitutional management as well asinternationalisation and globalisation suggest.Moreover, future-conscious higher educationresearch should try to identify thematic areasnot frequently discussed at present but likelyto be major issues in the future. For example,professionalisation of higher education interms of the emergence and expansion of newadministrative and service professions inhigher education institutions might havefar-reaching implications in the future and isworth to be paid attention by higher educationresearchers.
Chapter
Higher education research in Europe has experienced growth since about the 1960s but altogether has remained a small field. It is characterized by fuzzy borderlines between those closely attached to this thematic focus and representatives of various disciplines touching this theme occasionally as well as between researchers and other experts involved in knowledge production on higher education along other tasks. It is a sizeable field of research in some European countries and marginal in others, whereby the themes of research are diverse and the institutional basis is varied. A national focus dominates everywhere. The results of research are unevenly spread across Europe due to the different roles of the English language in the various countries. Europe-wide and international communication and collaboration among higher education researchers have grown substantially since the 1980s, and many analyses are of a comparative nature or address similar developments across countries. Stronger steering approaches in university governance and management as well as an increasing global, international, and European focus in higher education have contributed to a growth of higher education research. The researchers face the challenge of striking a balance between efforts to improve the theoretical and methodological basis and to be accepted as relevant for policy and practice.
Chapter
As Teichler has pointed out on various occasions as well as in the second chapter of this book, higher education research is distinguished from though closely related to higher education policy and practice (Teichler, 1996, 2013). It never aimed at establishing itself as a discipline in its own right but constituted itself as a genuinely interdisciplinary field of knowledge and research.
Book
Though the book is a contribution to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER), it is not just about the history of the organisation as such. The contributions provide an account of the emergence of higher education as a field of study and research in Europe, its institutionalisation, and its relationships to higher education policy and practice. Furthermore, higher education research in Europe is contrasted to and contextualised by the example of higher education research and scholarship in Australia. The book is useful as an account about the emergence and development of higher education research as a field of study and research in Europe. It will be an interesting and insightful read for all scholars and young researchers wanting to know about higher education research but also for scholars in fields like history of science, disciplinary differentiation, institutionalisation of fields of knowledge and research. (Résumé éditeur)
Chapter
Higher education research as an area of study is quite recent and it developed first in the U.S. and only later in Europe (Amaral & Magalhães, 2007). Massification of higher education and concerns about the quality of its provision has certainly contributed to this expansion, as higher education became a major financial and political issue (Tight, 2007; Scott, 1995; Teichler, 2007; Clark, 1973).
Chapter
Being mainly a field of studies and not a discipline, higher education has had to develop an institutional network in order to support and nurture the community of higher education researchers. Researchers working on new fields have to develop persistent and effective networks of communication with the rest of the practitioners in the field and consolidate themselves as an intellectual community (Knorr Cetina, 1999; Becher & Trowler, 2001).
Chapter
As described in some detail in Chapter 2 of this book, the Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER) was initiated in November 1988 by Ulrich Teichler (Germany) in cooperation with Guy Neave (then UK) and Frans van Vught (The Netherlands) in the framework of a first conference held in Kassel, Germany.
Chapter
The initiative to found CHER was not just the intention of a few scholars knowing each other to form a club, but it was highly strategic. Actually, about 50 scholars from about 20 countries attended the conference “Research on Higher Education in Europe – Approaches, Results and Future Perspective” in November 1988.
Article
The Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER) was founded in 1988 to stimulate international communication and collaboration of higher education researchers. A need was felt to offset the isolation of the small numbers of scholars in this area of expertise in many countries, as well as the isolation of individual disciplines addressing higher education, as well as to form a platform that might enhance the theoretical basis and the quality of research activities. CHER was expected to contribute to the identity of higher education researchers vis-à-vis a fuzzy mix of higher education experts. Last but not least one hoped for increasing comparative research in higher education. A ‘light’ network approach was advocated from the beginning in order to absorb new themes and members at ease. The majority of higher education researchers active in CHER are Europeans, though academics from other continents play a visible role. CHER was quite successful in pursuing its initial goals, but higher education researcher continue in most countries to be a small academic community facing problems of being publicly heard outside academia amidst evaluators, policy analysts, consultants and others claiming to be ‘experts’ on higher education.
Book
This book explores the perceptions of academic staff and representatives of institutional leadership about the changes in academic careers and academic work experienced in recent years. It emphasizes standardisation and differentiation of academic career paths, impacts of new forms of quality management on academic work, changes in recruitment, employment and working conditions, and academics’ perceptions of their professional contexts. The book demonstrates a growing diversity within the academic profession and new professional roles inhabiting a space which is neither located in the core business of teaching and research nor at the top level management and leadership. The new higher education professionals tend to be important change agents within the higher education institutions not only fulfilling service and bridging functions but also streamlining academic work to make a contribution to the reputation and competitiveness of the institution as a whole. Based on interviews with academic staff, this book explores the situation in eight European countries: Austria, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Romania, and Switzerland.
Chapter
CHER had been established only for a few years, and its initiators were looking for options to engage in common activities. One of the needs felt in a number of the partially newly established research centres in the field, was to train a next generation of higher education researchers in the changing higher education landscape of Western Europe, where higher education institutions were becoming larger, were forced to be more autonomous due to governmental funding cuts and as a result needed more professional administration.
Article
The existing international literature on higher education centers on the transition from elite to mass higher education, the changing relationship between governments and universities, and the differentiation of the institutional fabric of national systems. These important institutionalized concerns lead to an unbalanced research agenda if other basic features are not pursued. Two additional fundamental features need expanded attention: substantive academic growth, with its roots in the research imperative and the dynamics of disciplines; and innovative university organization, a sharply growing concern among practitioners as universities seek greater capacity to change. Proliferating at a rapid rate, modern academic knowledge changes fields of study from within, alters universities from the bottom-up, and increases the benefits and costs of decisions on the inclusion and exclusion of various specialties. The long-term trend from simple to complex knowledge, arguably more important than the trend from elite to mass higher education, forces universities to position themselves between knowledge expansion and student expansion, with emphasis increasingly placed on the knowledge dimension. Innovative universities explore new ways of organizing knowledge and of more effectively exploiting the fields in which they are already engaged. Greater awareness of new means of knowledge organization will help universities make wiser choices in the twenty-first century.
Article
This paper discusses the range of comparative studies which might legitimately be attempted. It considers the separate issue of whether they must necessarily be directed towards the testing of pre-constructed hypotheses. It describes how the Brunel-Gothenburg-Bergen international team is attempting to compare their three national systems and academic working within them.
Article
Research on higher education is an object-focussed area based on a broad range of disciplines. The institutional base is often shaky and diverse. Various characteristics, notably the blurred distinction between the scholar and the reflective practitioner, contribute to considerable tensions, though research on higher education enjoys substantial public attention. Interest in comparative research on higher education grew in recent years and was reinforced by the community of higher education researchers in Europe. As it can be conceptually and methodologically demanding and fruitful, the growing interest could serve as a stimulus for enhancing a common identity and a growing quality. However, few comparative research designs represent the ideal type of setting a research agenda of clearly defined hypotheses to be tested, and if they do so, the study mostly turns out to be too simplistic due to disregard of the complex context. Rather, most comparative projects are exploratory and most productive in providing unexpected insight. In addition, comparative research faces many problems of a practical nature. Costly research seems to be granted sufficient funds only if it addresses issues of current political concern. Language barriers and limits of field knowledge often lead to a poor provision of information. International collaborative research teams tend to be vulnerable due to, among others, a heterogeneity of schools of thoughts, spiralling costs and different work styles. The author argues that comparative studies on higher education are most fruitful in destroying conceptual reasoning based on narrow experience; they are a gold mine for the early stages of conceptual restructuring. They are indispensible for understanding a reality shaped by common international trends, reforms based on comparative observation, growing trans-national activities and partial supra-national integration in higher education. Comparative projects can be regarded as theoretically and methodologically most promising if they are based on a semi-structured research design, whereby the strengths of various conceptual approaches in explaining the phenomena are analysed and the researchers systematically deal with the fact that the project is likely to generate surprising information requiring to restructure the initial conceptual framework.
Article
The article explores the historical background of comparative policy studies. These studies are traced back to the comparative approaches in political science and public administration. Following a discussion on the methodological aspects of the comparative approach, an overview and assessment of a number of recent comparative policy studies in higher education is presented.
Higher education, research and innovation: Changing dynamics
  • V Meek
  • Ulrich Lynn
  • Mary-Louise Teichler
  • Kearney