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The Governance of European Universities post 2010 (II): Enhancing Institutional Mission and Profiles

Hosted by the University of Barcelona, Spain

27 – 29 March 2008

Background

University of BarcelonaThe Lisbon Declaration (April 2007) states that “For universities, the adaptability and flexibility required to respond to a changing society and to changing demands relies above all on increased autonomy and adequate funding, giving them the space in which to find their place.” This statement provided the starting point of the Wroclaw Conference (October 2007), which focused on the rapidly changing relationship between universities and the state and explored the major impact of these changes on both the internal and external governance of universities by addressing different elements of autonomy and accountability.

The Barcelona Conference followed on from the recent Wroclaw Conference (October 2007) and also builds on the EUA Brno Conference (October 2006), which demonstrated the growing importance of the regional role of universities that encompasses all aspects of the university mission in responding to the different challenges facing both universities and HE systems.

The Barcelona Conference

The Barcelona Conference will continue the debate on institutional and system governance. Specifically, it will investigate the policies and strategies being pursued by higher education institutions and regional or national authorities in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of increasingly diverse higher education institutions and systems. This is becoming increasingly more important across Europe in response to growing societal demands and in order to face global competition. The conference will investigate the role of European, national and regional policies and instruments in promoting and providing incentives for change. Particular attention will be paid to the interplay between European, national and regional funding policies and incentives on the one hand and institutional responses and strategies on the other. This will include looking at the trend towards institutional mergers, regional clusters, ‘pôles de compétitivité’, etc.

The challenge for universities is to define their specific institutional profiles and a place in the system by ensuring complementarity, thus also contributing to the improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the system as a whole. The conference will look at how individual universities cope with growing and multiple societal demands, often ‘stretching’ their conventional functions, for example by developing research and innovation portfolios, promoting lifelong learning activities etc., and thus running the risk of overload, blurring of profiles, and/or mission drift.

Barcelona Conference goals

On the basis of key-note presentations and case studies from across Europe, the goals of the Barcelona Conference were to:

  • Gain an understanding of government policies and incentives at regional, national and European levels to promote the building of critical mass in HE as a means of optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of higher education institutions and systems;
  • Consider the importance of connecting a local or regional focus with national and European priorities as a response to increasingly global environment/challenges;  
  • Investigate institutional strategies for optimising efficiency taking account of the overall European and national policy contexts and the ‘modernisation agenda’ for universities;
  • Identify ways in which university leaders can enhance the strategic position of their institutions using examples of good practice from across Europe.

Audience

The conference was of interest to institutional leaders: Rectors, vice rectors and heads of administration.

Hosted by

Universitat de Barcelona

Patrons

CRUE
ACUP

Sponsor

Caixa Catalunya

European University Association (EUA)

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Avenue de l’Yser, 24
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Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

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