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Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kohler, Greifswald University, Germany Autonomy of Universities: What? Why? If so, how? Zagreb, 16/17 November 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kohler, Greifswald University, Germany Autonomy of Universities: What? Why? If so, how? Zagreb, 16/17 November 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kohler, Greifswald University, Germany Autonomy of Universities: What? Why? If so, how? Zagreb, 16/17 November 2007

2 General Survey of Aspects I. The Topic: Autonomy of Universities (What?) II. Arguments for Autonomy (Why?) III. Elements of Autonomy (How? Issues, in general) IV. For Discussion: Internal Setup of a University (How? Techniques, for discussion)

3 I. What? – The Topic: Autonomy of Universities A.A Practical Definition of “Autonomy”/Self-governance: The right and practice (of a university) to determine and perform essentials of its operations independent from state authorities, based on decisions made by internal bodies created freely and internally.

4 These essentials are definition of activities (within the institution’s mission): research and tuition programmes (“products”), their realisation (incl. quality assurance), and marketing organisation and representation (external cooperation) membership and internal cooperation funding matters, both acquisition and expenditure legal supervision restricted to adherence to general legal requirements

5 B. Scope and Limits of Presentation:

6 to be covered: –reasons for (demanding) autonomy, –elements constituting autonomy –prerequisites of autonomous governance not to be covered extensively (but sketched for discussion): –concrete models and detailed features of autonomy as translated into governance and management systems approach: –in substance, political principles and practical key elements –in depth, problem-based and topical (rather than encyclopaedic or ready-made solutions)

7 II. Why? – Arguments for Autonomy A.Essence of Research and Learning B. Characteristics of University Members C.Requirements of the Entrepreneureal University D.Essential of Democracy

8 A.Essence of Research and Learning 1.research: a process steered by expertise and open in terms of subject, method, and result – - freedom (autonomy) is a prerequisite for creativity and novelty; bureaucratic ex-ante expectation and steering counterproductive for “innovative leaps” 2.learning: a process of selection, adoption, adaptation according to individual character and diverse personal and societal needs – centralised prescription of detail can hamper effectivity of teaching and learning

9 B. Characteristics of University Members 1.academic staff: individuals of high expertise, creative nature requires independence – command structures provoke resistance and either resignation or bypass effects 2.students: see staff; to be trained to work with enthusiasm, independently and in leading capacity – remote (detail) regulation fails to meet a central point of academic education, i.e development of independence and leadership through self- management 3.all university members: being part of a democratic society and of “civil society” needs to shape the style of cooperation and sense for individual rights of self-determination – command structures undermine motivation and cause internal obstruction

10 C. Requirements of the Entrepreneureal University 1.client-orientation: driven by financial circumstances (fees, state funding, and third party research money alike), increase in practical and job-oriented approach in mass tertiary education, and expectations of a democratic system, universities must respond to “market” demands speedily – long-term centralised planning and remote control ineffective and counterproductive 2.competition: customer-oriented, globalised educational “markets” require flexibility and individual profile – centralised standardisation is rendered detrimental, diversification in loco is essential 3.cost-effectiveness: cost effectiveness requires taylor-made revenue and investment (incl. employment) decisions in situ – it does not allow ex-ante specified and remote-control budgeting 4.cost awareness: university operations are increasingly expensive, which demands sensitivity of individuals for expenses – centralised “feeding systems” waste resources

11 D. Essential of Democracy Democracy as a political system governed by the (merely formal) concept of majority vote cannot survive without prior free and substantive discussion of the issue at stake, so 1.experts (universities) must be driven by “quest for truth” and undertake to provide “unbiased expertise”, which may not be predetermined by external (state) authority without risking the quality and subsequent credibility of decision-making in a given political system, 2.hence academic freedom is not only an individual right but a constituent of a democratic state.

12 III. If so, how? – Elements of Autonomy Legal Elements Economic (Funding) Elements Inner-institutional Elements of/for Autonomy

13 A. Legal Elements of Autonomy organisation and representation membership and members study programmes and research: choice and contents

14 B. Economic (Funding) Elements of Autonomy resources flexibility responsibility/management

15 C. Internal Elements of/for Autonomy Key question: Can autonomy work? – Internal prerequisites for demanding autonomy: Making autonomy work Joint awarenes of/orientation towards “quality” (quality culture) – ad 1 Leadership – ad 2 Responsibility – ad 3 Participation – ad 4 i.e., establishing “good governance”

16 The Core of „Good Governance“ Understanding Good Governance The art and capability to steer an organisation in terms of structures, agents, action (processes), management, mentality and ethics in particular areas (objects) in order to define and determine valid goals (objectives), and to realize these by identifing and implementing fitting tools, and to monitor the outcome and the validity of objectives, and to interate the aforementioned process

17 ad C 1: “Quality Culture”, or: “Mission: Quality” a) Key orientation: Identifying shared institutional aims (“fitness of purpose”); in particular: to be productive in research and learning and to improve quality and quantity in these fields. to support personal development to meet and match cultural/political needs and global/national/regional (economic) advancement of societies

18 b) Maxims of governance: Orientation towards achieving aims (“fitnes for purpose”) Steering devices of a university as a system must be fit to ensure that the system (its organisation and its processes) meet the aims defined above. A self-steering, intrinsically stabilized and intrinsically mobilized system must be developed; i.e. a system consisting of elements which are designed, composed and arranged to form a system within which these elements interact as much as possible to bring about and achieve the aims mentioned above. It is sound policy to ensure minimizing waste within the system (“efficiency”); this encompasses optimizing procedures (effectiveness in terms of cost and time). Management, responsibility and accountability, finances must be concentrated in the hands of the management of the job in question Self-motivation of the participants must be strengthened.

19 c) Internal and external conditions (constraints): Steering devices must take into account those circumstances which are defined by subject-related conditions and aims of the system and by its (in a wider sense: political) framework. These are: Freedom of research and teaching/learning: This is not only a right pertaining to the individual but a prerequisite for progress to ensure quality of research and teaching (contents: “freedom to hypothesis” and freedom to proof or falsification through research ; in principle, this also applies to teaching, though with limits due to a stronger element of cooperation within the overall design of a curriculum). Change of paradigm towards the “entrepreneureal university”: The advent of competition (e.g., with study programmes: abolishment of national standardisation, trend towards external quality assurance and the rule of market forces); internationalisation (“Globalisation”) of labour markets minimises significance of national standards; emergence of a world-wide “market” in education (with political support; cf “Bologna process”). Increasing cost (staff, equipment, media, buildings, etc), internationalisation of standards, increasing mobility, programmes provided globally (media) could lead to concerted structures (joint activities, franchising systems, “chain/stores”, and “trusts”).

20 ad C 2: Leadership: Guidance necessary also in an autonomous and participatory (“democratic”) institution; for the following reasens: quantity and quality: decision-making power necessitated by autonomy: enhanced scope of autonomy brings about more internal decision-making and increases risk, hance strong demand on quality and responsibility professionalism: inevitable, due to absence of external steering (autonomy), complexity of tasks (see above), and technical intricacies (elaborate legal framework), economic risks, and political implications of higher education and research (e.g.: free access to higher education; regional development strategies) speed: universities as competing institutions (“market”) must (re-)act preemptively/with little delay

21  Considering modes of leadership: sharing leadership: devolution (“federalism”); definition of portfolios (e.g. finance); yet ensuring coherent policy (directives) external steering: board (“civil society”); supervisory function, general strategic directives, solving the problem of “making hard decisions” – proper balance between institutional benefit and individual interest

22 ad C 3: Responsibility Leadership of an autonomous university is responsible politically, legally, and economically autonomy in making decisions and entrepreneureal approach result in questions on: “effectivity” and “cost efficiency” accountability (“publicity”) is required by a democratic society due process in making decisions is required to integrate and convince stakeholders rule of law required as a means of power sharing, fairness, and predictability

23 ad C 4: Participation - Cooperation and power-sharing are essentials: member-oriented: enhanced coherence due to mutual respect; enhanced effectivity resulting from communication and motivation leadership-oriented: advice needed as a safeguard for making “good” decisions; participation as a tool to ensure support by consent or or for shaping conviction as a base for activities institution-oriented: sharing/delegation of duties required for efficiency, speed, acting responsibly “wisdom of power-sharing”: prevention of false decisions and of personal bias or nepotism

24 - Modes of participation: institutional system of “balance of powers” (president, senate, board), power-sharing “federalism” (faculties) and “portfolios” (research, study programmes, finance, law etc), by means of strict sharing of competences (wide range of advisory cooperation, restricted range of joint decision-making), and by means of a right of veto or a right to intercede of a qualified majority (“impeachment”, “overruling”).

25 IV. For Discussion: Internal Setup of a University 1.Distributing rights and responsibilities within the university should consider (in terms of “fitness for purpose”, see above):

26 in favour of decentralisation (“faculties” et al): higher degree of subject-problem-related awareness and (presumably) higher degree of subject-related expertise; enhancement of staff motivation; safeguarding plurality. in favour of centralisation (“university” as the overall institution): enhancement of interdisciplinarity; safeguarding professionalism outside subject-related competence (i.e., expertise in financial and legal constraints and requirements; market observation; time management); reduction of merely personalized considerations. in favour of steering by a university body of externals (“Board”): safeguarding against personal interest of insiders in matters of strategic significance (e.g., core research fields, study programmes, staff); providing checks and modes for settlement of internal disputes; representation in – and of – the general public.

27 2. Criteria for internal division and for attribution of responsibilities:

28 Internal organisation has to consider: –“products”, i.e. tasks (study programmes, research subjects); –cost (-centres); –creation of hubs for administration and communication. Note: This may lead to internal reorganisation of substructures “faculties” et al) wuth regard to aligning structures to “product” and “cost centres”, while ensuring fit-for-puropose communicative processes. The design of internal organisation (administration) must particularly bear in mind and ensure that “product” and income/expenditure (“cost-centre”) are governed by the same administrative steering unit. This requires the exact definition and correlation of product and cost- centre. The corresponding administrative responsibility must also be manageable with regard to functioning as a hub for decision-making and communication.

29 Administrative organisation must ensure that areas of devolution and of autonomy are created, that duties and responsibilities are allocated clearly and with as little overlap as possible, and that there is a conflict-solving mechanism. The competences between “faculty” and “university” (here also: “board”) must be distributed according to the field of activity in question. There are the following fields of activity to be considered: –study programmes (existence and design/contents, new prgrammes); –research (current projects, and strategic development); –quality management; –funding (fundraising, and expenditure); –staff matters (in particular: senior staff – professors and top management); –communication (internal; external).

30 3. Suggested model, attributed to the fields of activity and with regard to the aspects mentioned above :

31 Funding: »allocation of funds output-oriented, “bottom-up- principle” (internally, not vis-a-vis the state): »administrative competence and responsibility for income and expenditure rest with the product-/cost- centres (i.e., study programmes; research programme; individual research project); »funding the “university”: via an internal system of fees for central services and central costs (i.e., overheads); and of “tax” for incentives and innovations (“seed money”); »prerequisites: formula-based acquistion and distribution of funds, contract-based; right to raise fees and/or revenues for study programmes and research projects; establishment of an internal fee and “taxation” system.

32 Product development: –Study programmes (launch and cancellation; regulations on programme and exams): »right of the “university” to establish framework rules; »in all other aspects, primary competence of the “faculty” as long as the “university” does not adopt responsibility on grounds of an overriding interest of the institution as a whole (possibly with a right of appeal of the “faculty” to the “board” in case of dissent). »In addition, there should be an independent right of the “board” to start or cancel a study programme at the proposal of the rector (after consulting the relevant university and faculty bodies).

33 –Research: »the individual researcher`s right to choose his field of research and research method must not be infringed upon (except on grounds of general law). »Strategic decisions on the development of research fields are to be taken analogously to the way described above: in principle, the relevant rights are vested in the “faculties”; the “university” may adopt these rights from case to case when assuming an overriding interest of the institution as a whole (possibly with a right of appeal of the “faculty” to the “board” in case of dissent). In addition, there should be an independent right of the “board” to define and promulgate strategic and core developments in the field of research (after consultation, see above).

34 Staff: »Each “faculty” is, in principle, entitled to make staffing decisions within its budgetary means and responsibilities. As for professorships, to ensure interdisciplinarity and to safeguard the support of modern developments, part of them will be defined, financed, and selected by the “university”(in this respect, the “university” means the rector/rectorate after consulting the “board”, the university senate, and “faculties” concerned).


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