22 SES 06 B, Governance and Reform of Higher Education
As a world-leading tendency, regionalization has become an undeniable force affecting political and economic processes around the globe (1).In higher education, regionalization aims to build “connections and relationships among higher education actors, structure and systems within a region” (1: p.113) with the intention to retain the region’s weight in the world affairs. Recently, European regionalization has become “a catalyst and model” (1: p.109) for similar efforts worldwide. Within the framework of European regionalization, the Bologna Process is the largest and most influential intergovernmental initiative to create European community competitive in a global knowledge-based economy (1,2). To achieve this purpose, the Bologna Process intends to harmonize the higher education environment in Europe and establish the European Higher Education Area (2,3).
While national and international policy developments within the regionalization framework are widely discussed, there is a need for more comprehensive understandings concerning how regionalization affects universities (4). With the spread of the Bologna Process’s influence outside Europe (5), European universities are pressured to play more proactive roles in the modernization of educational systems, strengthening European economy, and reaffirming European values. In their reorganization efforts, Ukrainian universities deserve particular attention because their unique positions are determined by the specific historical, political, and socio-economic realities in Ukraine. As a European country, Ukraine naturally benefits from its European integration (6).As a post-Soviet country, Ukraine is still transitioning from the Soviet legacy in education governance and recovering its national identity (7).Finally, as a country that has been caught in the tension between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (8),Ukraine realizes the importance of the cooperative and trustful relationship between the national education system and higher education institutions regarding higher education governance (9).
Therefore, Ukraine’s commitment to the Bologna Process inevitably brings the consequences for national legislation and entails profound reforms in higher education governance. The great amount of research focuses on the relationship between the state and universities: decentralization, autonomy, and self-governance of universities (10,11) as an explicit prerequisite for all Bologna associated reforms (9). Despite joining the Bologna Process in 2005, Ukrainian universities were legally granted autonomy only in 2014. Nevertheless, the question of whether 2014 is the year when the universities have received an actual autonomy from the state remains open. The research purpose is to understand how the Bologna Process affects the governance in Ukrainian public universities in terms of state-university relationships. Therefore, the study is guided by the following questions:
(1) How has joining the Bologna Process changed the state-university relationships in Ukraine?
(2) What are the challenges entailed with transforming the higher education governance in Ukraine?
(3) What are the implications of the governance change for university policies and practices?
My research incorporates institutional theory and historical institutionalism as two theoretical lenses to analyze organizations, their environment, organizational change, and persistence. According to institutional theory, organizations function in wider institutional context, social, cultural, and political environments, which shape organizational structure, behavior, and practices (12,13).The focus of institutional theory on environmental influences and organizational decision-making (14) will provide the grounds to analyze the transformation of university governance in Ukraine in the context of the Bologna Process. The second lens, historical institutionalism, assumes that institutional developments are strongly conditioned by embedded legacies and structures (15).This theoretical lens will enable me to explore and interpret how the Soviet legacy in Ukrainian higher education intersects with the Bologna Process at the institutional level, and how this intersection affects the governance of Ukrainian public universities.
Using a qualitative case study research design (16), I will be able to examine the transformation of university governance in Ukraine holistically and in the context of the Bologna Process. Out of two hundred, three Ukrainian public universities are selected as multiple cases of analysis: National Aviation University, Zhytomyr Ivan Franko State University, and Ternopil Volodymyr Hnatiuk National Pedagogical University. The choice of these universities is determined by their legal status, location, and similar historical background. Moreover, 2017 became a critical year for all three universities as they experienced the changes in their governance. To provide an intensive description and analysis of these universities as bounded systems (17), I will use three methods of data collection: document analysis, individual interviews, and observations. University statutory documents, mission and vision statements, documents on university policies as well as the state laws and relevant presidential and ministerial decrees will serve as sources of background information and historical insights for the research problem. To compliment document analysis, I will conduct from 12 to 15 individual semi-structured interviews with the university presidents, provosts, and other senior administrators. Moreover, I will observe the physical settings, routines, and staff interactions while contacting participants and scheduling interviews to gain insights about power-relations, climate, and culture at the universities. To organize and manage the data, I will use NVivo qualitative data analysis software. The data will be coded, categorized and interpreted or generated into themes with their subsequent cross-referencing through other data. Finally, I acknowledge that my background and experiences in Ukrainian higher education provide me with personal and professional lenses to approach the research. I bring to this study a general understanding of inner workings of a Ukrainian university, which undergoes transformations in the context of the Bologna Process. At the same time, studying at a Canadian university as a Ph.D. student provides me with a reflective and unbiased lens to study the transformation of university governance.
The focus of institutional theory on environmental influences will provide the grounds to analyze the change in the state-university relations in Ukraine in the context of the Bologna Process. Some of the anticipated findings from the study are the following: 1. As the Bologna Process introduces changes to three major areas: the system of higher education, the system of quality assurance, and the relations between the state and the university. The reforms in these areas consequently change the way Ukrainian public universities are governed, that is their governing bodies, internal governing mechanisms, and their interactions in the decision-making process. 1. Despite the radical character of educational reforms at the national level, Ukrainian public universities respond carefully in their reorganization efforts. There might still be a gap between new and progressive national policies and their implementation at the institutional level. This gap might be evident in several manifestations. First, the attempts to reform national higher education are numerous, but because of the lack of administrators competent to implement the educational changes, the majority of the reforms is undertaken by state figures brought up on post-Soviet ideologies. Even though the internationalization of higher education is one of the core priorities of the national reforms, these ministerial internationalization policies implemented without specific and careful considerations might reduce institutional motivation and response. The insights from the study will advance our understanding of regionalization as an emergent global phenomenon and inform leadership on its social and policy impacts on the university governance. Second, the study will be useful for many post-Soviet countries as their efforts to balance national and international influences have much in common with institutional efforts of Ukrainian universities.
1.Knight J. A model for the regionalization of higher education: The role and contribution of Tuning. Tuning Journal for Higher Education. 2013;1(1): 105-125. 2.European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The Bologna Declaration of 19 June 1999. 1999. Available from http://www.magna-charta.org/resources/files/bologna_declaration.pdf 3.de Wit H, Deca L, Hunter F. Internationalization of higher education – What can research add to the policy debate? In: Curaj A, Matei L, Pricopie R, Salmi J, Scott P. (eds.) The European Higher Education Area: Between critical reflections and future policies. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing; 2015. p. 3-12. 4.Stensaker B, Frølich N, Gornitzka Å, Maassen P. Internationalisation of higher education: the gap between national policy‐making and institutional needs. Globalisation, Societies and Education. 2008;6(1): 1-11. 5.Zmas A. Global impact of the Bologna Process: International perspectives, local particularities. Compare. 2015;45(5): 727-747. 6.Kremen V, Nikolajenko S. Higher education in Ukraine. Bucharest: UNESCO-CEPES; 2006. 7.Zeludenko M, Sabitowa A. Ukraine. In: Hörner W, Döbert H, Reuter L, von Kopp B. (eds.) The education systems of Europe. Dordrecht, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing; 2015. p. 851-868. 8.Johns M. Caught between Russia and NATO: The EU during and after the Ukrainian Crisis. In: Black JL, Johns M. (eds.) The return of the Cold War: Ukraine, the West and Russia. New York: Routledge; 2016. p. 26-40. 9.Nyborg P. Higher education governance. [Presentation] St. Petersburg, 29-30 October 2003. In: Nyborg P, The Bologna Process from Berlin to Bergen. Available from: www.uhr.no/documents/2003_2005_Bologna_Presentations.pdf 10.Estermann T. University autonomy in Europe. University Education. 2015;3: 28-32. 11.Wynnyckyi M. New management challenges for Ukraine’s universities: Surviving the 2014 reform. University Education. 2015;3: 66-72. 12.Meyer JW, Rowan B. Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American Journal of Sociology. 1977;83(2): 340-363. 13.Pfeffer J, Salancik GR. The external control of organizations: A resource dependence perspective. Stanford: Stanford Business Books; 2003. 14.DiMaggio PJ, Powell WW. The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review. 1983;48: 147-160. 15.Hall P, Taylor R. Political science and the three new institutionalisms. Political Studies. 1996;44: 936-957. 16.Creswell JW. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2014. 17.Yin RK. Case study research: Design and methods. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2009.
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