Mission and Governance of Universities

Four top “mission elements” governing global universities:

1. Learning/Teaching – improving access and excellence (closing skill gaps)

2. Discovery/Research – improving productivity and living-lab (with their city and the world/glocal)

3. Engagement/Entrepreneurship – improving startups and regional economic development impact

4. Integration/Interdisciplinary – improving continuous improvement of holistic re-integrated general education

 

More fully discussed in the papers below…

The best US top university perspective is the following:
http://mup.asu.edu/UniversityOrganization.pdf

The summary of the paper above is that quality matters.  Both in teaching and research which are closely linked.  University mission and governance must have a continuous improvement process for both quality of teaching and research.  Ultimately, quality depends on a new business model for universities, since “paying for quality” is expensive.

The following provides a European perspective:
http://cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/docs/ROPS.Kruecken.EuroView.12.13.11.pdf

The summary of the paper above is that costs of administrative part of universities can balloon if not held in check by continuous improvement processes that rationalize and outsource some of these function.  Scope creep can negatively impact universities, just as it does corporations.   The university does need to create more pathways for students (as interns, as entrepreneurs, as returning alumni, etc.) and without a careful eye on costs, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) can balloon costs.  To be more global, many universities are offering business, science, and other courses in English.

A broader OECD perspective that includes for-profit university competitors is this document:
http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2013%20(eng)–FINAL%2020%20June%202013.pdf

The summary of the paper above is that there are many more ways people in OECD countries are attaining tertiary education levels.  This diversity is at once moving the needle on upskilling populations, and ensuring fewer unfilled job openings because of a skill gap, but also creating confusion among customers – who see many paths, but harder decisions as to which path is best for them (see for example, ConnectEDU, Balloon.com, etc.).  The IBM GTO on Personalized Education also describes this space.

The history of governance at universities is long – but this provides a good summary:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governance_in_higher_education

The Yale Report of 1828 and the AAUP report of 1920 set up the “academic freedom” gold standard that allowed university faculty, especially tenured faculty, who had demonstrated their substantial contributions to deepening knowledge in their chosen area – extra degrees of freedom to challenge the status quo and create breakthrough ideas that might be unpopular at their time of creation.  This establishes a great deal of power with tenured faculty at universities.  Change may be accelerated if tenure requirements, allow for faculty that work with students to do startup companies – this broadens the aperture beyond learning/teaching, discovery/research, to include engagement/entrepreneurship and startups.

This article provides a service science perspective on universities..
http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/ten-reasons-service-science-matters-universities

The summary of the above paper is that a holistic perspective matters.  Universities are not one thing – and good leaders know how to use all the stakeholder connections to advance the mission of the university.  Service science can help university leaders with the integration challenge, moving beyond interdisciplinary studies to true holistic recapitulation approaches that create T-shaped transdiciplinary graduates (see also http://www.league.org/blog/post.cfm/how-transdisciplinarity-will-help-workers-thrive-in-a-complex-world).  This topic will also be explored at the T Summit (March 24-25, 2014 at IBM Almaden).

Finally, in my travels I find these university leaders exemplars:

Purdue
http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q2/purdue-to-expand-entrepreneurship-hub,-increase-commercialization-endeavors-.html

SNHU
http://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2012/southern-new-hampshire-university

SJSU
http://www.informationweek.com/education/online-learning/coursera-courses-approved-for-college-cr/240148119

ETHZ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNo4CXakpJ8

UTEP
http://www.utep.edu/aboututep/visionmissionandgoals.aspx

LNU
http://lnu.se/1.84982/innovation-meeting-hopes-to-encourage-entrepreneurship?l=en

MSU
http://report.president.msu.edu/360/

Standford
http://facultyrow.com/profiles/blogs/will-stanford-and-silicon-valley-transform-education

ASU
http://csi.asu.edu/tag/inspiration/

Aalto
http://www.aalto.fi/en/about/strategy/

E-JUST
http://www.ejust.edu.eg/main/profile/vision-mission

There are many other universities that are transforming their mission while keeping all elements in balance.  It would be helpful, if more presidents/rectors/provosts recorded videos like that of ETHZ above, explaining their strategy for coming up with a mission and governance approach for the future.  And of course, in English as well as mother tongue, would help appeal to top faculty and top students globally.

Four top “mission elements” of global universities:

1. Learning/Teaching – improving access and excellence (closing skill gaps)

2. Discovery/Research – improving productivity and living-lab (with their city and the world/glocal)

3. Engagement/Entrepreneurship – improving startups and regional economic development impact

4. Integration/Interdisciplinary – improving continuous improvement of holistic re-integrated general education

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