​​​​​​2016 ISSEI conference 

The University of Lodz, Poland

Chair: Marcel Herbst
Former Head of the Office of Planning and Development
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH-Zürich), Switzerland

Workshop: European Higher Education

European universities, and German universities in particular, once epitomized the ideals of the modern research university. This dominance diminished before World War I and came to an end after 1933, at least on the continent: the baton of the premier science nation was handed over to the US.

            After World War II, continental Europe never gained back its former profile, let alone its prominence in higher education, in spite of national efforts and a range of European development programs (Lisbon Research Agenda, Bologna-Process, etc.). This failure is particularly irksome in the case of Germany with its renewed economic might, but it should be troubling also for other European nations with a strong past in science and academia. Various reasons for this decline (with a few exceptions) have been stated but never conclusively researched. In fact, higher education and science policies have largely ignored the arguments put forward to address this decline. One may conclude that national or European higher education and science policies are not interested in an enhanced profile of universities because their (local) benefits are considered nebulous: in a world characterized by a rapid spread of information and technology, the second best appears good enough.

            Challenges within European (or outer-European) higher education abound with the incorporation of the former Eastern Bloc, with globalization, with political and economic instabilities, with newly industrialized nations, with the deindustrialization—and the subsequent presumed reindustrialization—of Europe and the US, with the spread of information technologies (virtual colleges, open online courseware, electronic media, etc.), with migration and acculturation, with professionalization and credentials, with redefinitions of nation-states and patriotism, with new forms of government and participatory democracies, with regulations regarding the legality of research or information gathering, and so on. 

This workshop invites papers from scholars, administrators or public officials that  present aspects of this situation in the form of descriptive analyses or policy studies, preferably from a comparative angle. 

The following foci might be addressed:

Mass higher education and its implications for national or European policies;
The four academic freedoms (including Felix Frankfurter’s fourth freedom regarding research institutions to select their own students);
Diversified higher education as a possible answer to—or base for—mass higher education (unitary, binary or tripartite higher education systems);
Convergence or diversion of higher education systems;
The role and status of research universities with regard to teaching and research;
The role  of liberal education in higher education (humanities versus, or in cooperation with, the sciences or professional education, such as law, business, medicine, engineering);
The role of dedicated research institutes (Max Planck, CNRS, etc.);
Assessment  and rankings of institutions, faculty and students (and their abuse);
Research productivity, scale effects and agglomeration economies;
Proficiency, credentials and credentialing in an international context;
Higher education and employment (enrollment, PhD-Rates, gypsy scholars, gender issues);
Higher education versus secondary education (apprentice systems);
Financing of higher education institutions and systems (tuition and fees, entrepreneurial universities, performance budgeting and funding, funding of scholars vis-à-vis funding of institutions);
The role of national or international funding councils;
Degrees, titles and signaling;
International research cooperatives;
Data repositories;
Honor systems and fraud. 

Please submit a 350–500 word abstract before 31 May  2016, to Marcel Herbst, at: herbst@4mat.ch