Big fish in a small pond?
Challenges and Strategies for Universities in small nations
International Conference
“Small Nations’ Universities in a Unifying Europe”
University of Tartu, Thursday 26 November 2009
Professor Jürgen Barkhoff
Registrar, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Culture, Arts and Humanities Task Force, Chair
Trinity College Dublin
University of Dublin
History:
• Established 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I
• Regional focus: to educate the sons of
the Anglo-Irish protestant nobility
• ‘Nr 3’ in the UK, but also ‘Oxbridge
reject’ and, at times, ‘silent sister’
• ‘protestant, stronghold’ in the young
independent nation after 1922
Trinity College Dublin
University of Dublin
Today:
• 16000 students, 2/3 UG, 1/3 PG
• 250 Ph.D.s awarded annually
• 3 Faculties and 24 Schools
• 11% International students
• City Center location
• Nr 1 of 7 universities in Ireland
• Nr 43 in THES World Rankings, 12 in Europe
• Member of the Coimbra Group
Coimbra Group
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European University network since 1985
Historic, traditional universities
Comprehensive universities
Outside of capital cities with strong
regional focus
• Important role of heritage: Task Force
Culture, Arts and Humanities
Mission of CAHTF
• Based on the cultural heritage of the Coimbra Group
Universities, the Task Force seeks to explore the
ways in which the traditional role of European
historical universities in shaping European culture can
be continued in the 21st century.
• It is also the task of the Culture, Arts and Humanities
Task Force to contribute to the reflection of the
changing conditions of the Arts and Humanities
sector, and to advocate, in the light of present reform
processes in education and research and based on
experiences of the Coimbra Group Universities, the
centrality of the Arts and Humanities for European
universities and societies.
Overview
1. National expectations vs. international
aspirations
2. ‘Competitive cooperation’?
3. Research and Research Assessment
4. Language Policy
5. Outreach and Engagement with Society
6. A special role for the Humanities?
National
expectations
Expectations of national funding bodies:
• Educate the next generations of
professionals, specialists, leaders
• Support and develop the knowledge
economy
• Stimulate and foster innovation and
entrepreneurship
• Contribute to the reflection of society, its
direction, its values, its strategies
Lisbon Strategy
Europe is to become the
“most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based
economy in the world, capable of sustainable
economic growth and better jobs and greater social
cohesion”
This is put into practice predominantly
at the national level, but through
international networking
International
aspirations
• Research cooperation is international
• Quality benchmarks, especially in research,
are international
• Quality assurance processes are international
• Competition for the best (research) students is
global
• Internationalisation is an increasingly
important KPI (THES)
Schizophrenia or Dialectics?
To be international as a national institution
Overview
1. National expectations vs. international
aspirations
2. ‘Competitive cooperation’?
3. Research and Research Assessment
4. Language Policy
5. Outreach and Engagement with Society
6. A special role for the Humanities?
7. Conclusions
‘Competitive
cooperation’
• Imperative of growing collaboration at national level
• Nobody can be excellent in everything
• Avoidance of duplication vs. the comprehensive
university
• ‘Synergies’ and ‘critical mass’ – just synonyms for
money saving?
• Targeted funding initiatives coupled to cooperation
imperatives
• Mergers threaten identity, destroy institutional
memory, cost time and money and take time to pay off
• Institutional identity and reputation is a resource
Competitive cooperation as answer?
Overview
1. National expectations vs. international
aspirations
2. ‘Competitive cooperation’?
3. Language Policy
4. Research Assessment
5. Outreach and Engagement with Society
6. A special role for the Humanities?
7. Conclusions
English as
lingua franca
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Imperative for research impact
Condition for increased
internationalisation of education
Erasmus mobility targets
Key qualification for graduates across
all professions
European language policy:
mothertongue plus two
Protection of
national languages
• Pivotal roles of national language(s) for
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personal and national identity
cultural memory
preservation of heritage
vitality of culture
social cohesion
• Protection of minority languages key policy
aim in Europe
• Linguistic diversity key requirement for unity in
diversity in Europe
• Institutional responsibility for strong language
policy!
Overview
1. National expectations vs. international
aspirations
2. ‘Competitive cooperation’?
3. Language Policy
4. Research Assessment
5. Outreach and Engagement with Society
6. A special role for the Humanities?
7. Conclusions
Research and
research assessment
• Trends in research evaluation towards
international and generalized KPIs
• Disciplines that are (partially) geared to a
society or country are slipping through the net:
History, Law, Politics, Sociology, History,
Linguistics, Literature, Cultural History
• Non-English disciplines structurally
disadvantaged
• Esteem indicators beyond the discipline
• Wider social, cultural and economic impact
hard to capture and often at national level
HERA 2008
feasability study
Bibliometrics, citation analysis as in the Natural
Sciences does not work for Arts & Humanities:
• Poor coverage of Arts & Humanities by SCI, ISI,
Scopus
• Monographs not included
• Impact slower and more long-term in the Humanities,
citation window substantially different
• Perverse incentives
• Seminal or radical works need time for breakthrough
• Disadvantage for Non-English disciplines / countries
• Disadvantage for disciplines with regional or national
orientation
Overview
1. National expectations vs. international
aspirations
2. ‘Competitive cooperation’?
3. Language Policy
4. Research Assessment
5. Outreach and Engagement with Society
6. A special role for the Humanities?
Outreach
• Engagement with society additional
imperative
• Local, regional and national focus
• Leadership in public debates of educational,
scientific, political and cultural issues.
• Involvement the creative and cultural life of
the city
• Contribution to entrepreneurship and
innovation in city and region
• Foster civic engagement and volunteering of
staff and students
Overview
1. National expectations vs. international
aspirations
2. ‘Competitive cooperation’?
3. Language Policy
4. Research Assessment
5. Outreach and Engagement with Society
6. A special responsibility for the
Humanities?
Responsibility of
the Humanities
• Arts and Humanities at the forefront of
CG Universities since their foundation
• Pivotal role in developing reflecting and
‘translating’ history, heritage, identity
• Need to avoid parochial or partisan
perspectives
• Reflect and foster the dialectic between
the local/regional/national and the
European/global
Key skills for a
globalized world
Humanities graduates possess:
• Cultural awareness
• Ability to ‘read cultures’
• Intercultural competence
• Negotiating otherness
• Culture, tradition, and identity are
powerful resources for innovation,
creativity, entrepreneurship and global
advantage
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