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The Price of Excellence: Comparative Perspectives on Competitive Higher Education Luncheon Address at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Allam/Selangor,

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Presentation on theme: "The Price of Excellence: Comparative Perspectives on Competitive Higher Education Luncheon Address at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Allam/Selangor,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Price of Excellence: Comparative Perspectives on Competitive Higher Education Luncheon Address at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Allam/Selangor, Malaysia, Shah Allam/Selangor, Malaysia, April 2, 2007 Professor Hans N. Weiler Stanford University

2 UiTM April 2, 20072 My points of reference  Stanford University/USA: An established university that has achieved excellence  Viadrina European University (Frankfurt/Oder – Germany): A new university that strives for excellence  Higher education in India: A system of higher education entering the international competition for excellence

3 UiTM April 2, 20073 The Quest for Excellence in Higher Education  “Excellence initiatives” (Germany, India, etc.)  International rankings of excellence (“league tables”)  Quest for excellence is not surprising: –Excellence is indispensable –Excellence is socially responsible –Excellence is economical

4 UiTM April 2, 20074 Excellence Means Competition  Excellence needs to be established and validated in relation to competitors  Competition in higher education –Competition for good students –Competition for good scholars –Competition for funds –Competition for recognition  Internal and external competition  Competition has become globalized

5 UiTM April 2, 20075 The Measurement of Excellence  Reputational measures –Students, alumni, faculty, scientific community  Objective measures –Research output, research funding, completion rates, placement of graduates, no. of PhDs, size of library, faculty honors  Social measures –Representation of different ethnic and social groups and of women among student & staff  The convergence of different measures

6 UiTM April 2, 20076 The Competitive University and the Prerequisites of Excellence  Outstanding quality of research and teaching  A clear and unmistakable institutional profile with priorities and posteriorities  Institutional autonomy and independence  (Funding: A relative prerequisite)

7 UiTM April 2, 20077 How Prerequisites of Excellence Hang Together  Quality requires a clear institutional profile: One cannot be excellent in everything  Autonomy requires quality: Societies cannot grant autonomy to mediocre institutions  A clear institutional profile requires autonomy: Identity can only flourish in independent institutions

8 UiTM April 2, 20078 Quality  Quality requires selectivity –Students –Staff –Leadership  The most critical dimension of university quality: Staff recruitment, retention, and promotion  Quality can be, and needs to be, managed: –Assessment, evaluation, incentives, penalties

9 UiTM April 2, 20079 Indicators of Selectivity (Stanford)  Undergraduate Admissions (2004): –Applicants:19 172 –Admitted: 2 486 ( = 13%) –Enrolled: 1 648 (52% male, 48% female) –Graduated after 5 years: 90.1% (1999)  Graduate Admissions (PhD): 5 – 15% of applicants  Assistant Professors receiving tenure: < 50%  Number of external comparative assessments for professorial recruitment and promotion: 10 to 12

10 UiTM April 2, 200710 Levels of Selectivity for US Colleges (Barron) Selectivity Tier SAT (Test) GPA (Grade) % accepted Fresh- men (N) I (n = 146) >1240>B<50 170 000 II (253) >1146>B-50-75 300 000 III (588) >1000>C75-85 570 000 IV (429) <100085 325 000

11 UiTM April 2, 200711 Profile  No university can be good at everything  Profile means priorities AND posteriorities: Strengthen strengths and eliminate weaknesses  Too much breadth begets mediocrity  The sharpening of an institutional profile can go too far: The need for lateral connections

12 UiTM April 2, 200712 Autonomy  Universities need and deserve autonomy  Threats to autonomy from without and from within –From without: Bureaucratic intervention by the state and agenda-setting intervention by sponsors –From within: The tension between individual autonomy and institutional autonomy  Autonomy and accountability: Two sides of the same coin

13 UiTM April 2, 200713 Funding and Excellence  Funding is important, but funding isn‘t everything  If funding is limited (and it always is), it is better to do fewer things well than do everything poorly  The critical importance of research funding –Seed grants, indirect costs (overhead)  The ultimate guarantee of autonomy: Endowment funding of universities

14 UiTM April 2, 200714 Research Funding in USA: External Research Grants and Overhead University (Top 5) External Funds FY ‘03 (Mio $) Increase FY ’02>’03 Over- head U Washington 565.616.1%51.6% Johns Hopkins 525.0 8.3% 8.3%64.0% U Michigan 516.816.3%53.0% Stanford483.513.3%56.0% UCLA421.214.8%54.5% Top 100 20 044.7 20 044.7 12.5% 12.5% 51.8% 51.8% All universities 24 734.0 24 734.0 13.1% 13.1% n/a n/a

15 UiTM April 2, 200715 Selected University Endowments: Market Value, Returns, Growth University Market Value 2004, Mio $ Return 2004 (%) Growth (%) 2003 > 2004 Harvard 22 144 22 144 21.1% 21.1%17.5% Texas 10 337 10 337 20.1% 20.1%18.7% Stanford 9 922 9 922 18.0% 18.0%15.2% Villanova 207 207 n/a n/a18.6% SF State U 22 22 n/a n/a 8.5% 8.5%

16 UiTM April 2, 200716 University Budget: Revenue (Stanford University, 2005/06) Source Amount (Mio $) % of revenue Student fees (inc. room and board) 513.3 513.317.6% Research funds (direct & indirect cost) 1 086.1 37.2% Return on investment 584.2 584.220.0% Hospital 295.4 295.410.1% Other (Donations, Patent, Fees) 443.4 443.415.2% Total 2 922.4 100

17 UiTM April 2, 200717 The Hazards of Competition  Aggravating social cleavages  Neglecting the need for a broad-based education (the excellence-expansion quandary)  The danger of commercializing the university in the quest for funding (contracts, patents, fundraising, sports)  Competition for competition’s sake

18 UiTM April 2, 200718 Admissions Data for the 146 Most Selective Colleges in the USA Social class (by income) Admissions (N) Admits as % of each population (vs. normal distrib.) Lowest income quartile 5 000 3 % (25 %) Highest income quartile 125 000 74 % (25 %) Total admissions 170 000 100 %

19 UiTM April 2, 200719 Partners for Excellence  Cooperation among universities: Competition does not preclude cooperation  Cooperation between universities and business: Proximity and affinity  International cooperation: The role of foreign talent  The ambivalent role of privatization: Flexibility vs. dependence and the erosion of standards

20 UiTM April 2, 200720 Concluding Remarks  Competition is both unavoidable and conducive to academic excellence  Excellence needs to be based on both teaching and research, but research remains dominant  The quest for excellence has an international frame of reference  The competition in higher education is not asleep

21 UiTM April 2, 200721 For further discussion: weiler@stanford.edu For further texts: www.stanford.edu/people/weiler weiler@stanford.edu www.stanford.edu/people/weiler weiler@stanford.edu www.stanford.edu/people/weiler


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