22 SES 14 A, Higher Education, Political Conflict, and New Economies of Public Missions and Reform: Comparative international perspectives
Some commentators see the end of globalization emerging on the horizon and a return of the nation state as the main reference for policy making. This “re-nationalisation” is likely to have major implication for higher education that used to be an important pillar of globalization. I argue in this contribution that these commentators underestimate the extent to which international private standards have already transformed higher education and the state-university nexus in the last few decades. As a consequence, there can be no easy return to a national constellation. On the contrary, private modes of transnational coordination are likely to gain even more in importance in the light of the difficulties governments currently experience when they seek to establish international agreements. The paper uses a case study approach and focuses on internationally active quality assurance agencies and their networks with a view to studying this transnationalisation. Studies of external quality assurance (QA) have mushroomed in recent years, reflecting the increasing importance of this shift from government to governance in the regulation of universities. However, most of these studies focus on the technicalities of this new control structure (e.g. Bejan et al., 2015, Leiber et al., 2015). They tend to privilege what Roger Dale criticises as “Higher Educationism” (Dale, 2009) and draw on forms of methodological nationalisation. Consequently, they overlook how internationally active QA agencies contribute to what Saskia Sassen refers to as new, transnational types of bordering that are taking place largely outside of the interstate system (Sassen, 2017). This rescaling also has major implications for the public mission of higher education, as I will outline. My study of internationally active QA agencies builds on some of my previous research and applies to both EU and non EU countries (Hartmann 2017). The countries are selected in line with a view to identifying convergence in the transnationalisation of higher education.
Bejan, Stelian Andrei, Tero Janatuinen, and Jouni Jurvelin. "Quality assurance and its impact from higher education institutions' perspectives: Methodological approaches, experiences and expectations." Quality in Higher Education 21, no. 3 (2015): 343-71. Dale, Roger. "What’s ‘public’ about the NPM in HE? The changing discourses of ‘public’ in the Bologna Process." Paper presented at the L'Enseignement Supérieur entre Nouvelle Gestion Publique et Dépression Economique Analyse comparée et essai de prospective, Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, 11-12 décembre 2009, 2009. Hartmann, Eva. "Quality assurance and the shift towards private governance in higher education: Europeanisation through the back door?". Globalisation, Societies and Education 16, no. 4 (2017): 309–24. Leiber, Theodor, Bjørn Stensaker, and Lee Harvey. "Impact evaluation of quality assurance in higher education: Methodology and causal designs." Quality in Higher Education 21, no. 3 (2015): 288-311. Sassen, Saskia. "Embedded borderings: Making new geographies of centrality." Territory, Politics, Governance, no. March (2017): 1-11.
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