In the context of global turbulence and major change sweeping across many countries of the world, higher education systems, and the universities and colleges that comprise them, are facing changing and conflicting expectations which they must meet with ever greater speed. Some of these originate from the State, some from a diverse range of stakeholders and some from institutions themselves. Universities and colleges are variously expected to be major contributors to countries’ global positioning, drivers of economic development, builders of societal well-being, guardians of democracy, as well as providers of teaching and research. The national contexts in which they operate are as diverse as former soviet regimes, Arab cultures - some of which have been subject to up-risings, Asian countries coming together to collaborate, and mature European and western systems. Institutions’ internal operating contexts also differ – in particular in their levels of autonomy from government.
Through case studies and discussion with delegates, this session explores ways in which universities have responded strategically to the challenges of stakeholder expectations arising out of turbulence and change in country contexts. In particular, presenters consider the sustainability of these institutional responses. Looking across the examples from very diverse contexts, we ask whether it is possible to see the emergence of common patterns and models of institutional change which are successful, sustainable and transferable.
David Lock draws on the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s experience of engaging in these processes in the UK and around 30 other countries. Dr Aida Sagintayeva and Dr Kairat Kurakbayev present a case study from Nazarbayev University, a new university set up to drive the government of Kazakhstan’s policy of 'Europeanisation' of the education system and its global integration. Dr Steve Cannon presents a case study exploring the impact on Hong Kong universities of the "Umbrella Revolution", the pro-democracy protest in which students and faculty took a prominent and leading role.