EUA : European University Association

SPRING CONFERENCE SPECIAL EDITION

EUA Conference outlines future for university leadership in Europe

EUA Spring Conference in Barcelona
EUA Spring Conference in Barcelona

The nature of university leadership in Europe will have to change as institutions respond to the developments of a competitive knowledge economy whilst meeting the demand for greater social cohesion.

This is one of the conclusions of the EUA Spring Conference that took place last week at the University of Barcelona (27-29 March).

In his concluding remarks, EUA President Professor Georg Winckler outlined some of the key requirements that university leaders will need to guide their institutions into the next decade.

He explained that rectors should not be seen ‘as a corporate chief executive’, as universities were unique organisations that needed to integrate the strategic management of all three elements of the ‘knowledge triangle’ through education, scientific research and innovation activities.

As custodian of the institution, heads of universities would also need to ‘embody the core academic mission of the university’; to sustain public confidence, whilst engaging all university stakeholders (including the public authorities, students, and business).

There also needed to be a clearer understanding of the role of governing boards, Professor Winckler said, so there was a clear definition between governance, management and administration.

EUA’s President also had a message for governments and policy makers. In particular he stressed that there needed to be more efforts to increase funding for higher education – by moving towards the European Commission’s stated goal that 2% of national GDP should be invested in this sector.

It was also important for governments to understand that league tables – which are often based on research performance – were often ‘poor measures of educational attainment’. “Excellence needs to be unpacked and the parity of esteem ensured”, he told the audience of European rectors, policy makers and higher education experts.

Professor Winckler also said the conference debates in Barcelona had shown that there was need for further discussion on a number of topics, in terms of strategic development of universities. These included: defining how best to involve students and other external stakeholders in governing the university; and how to organize the university services in an optimal way to best serve society.

More debate was also required on the issue of ensuring the critical mass in higher education; particularly the impact of a new generation of clusters and the impact this will have on university management and international cooperation.

Please click here to view Professor Winckler’s presentation.

EUA General Assembly adopts revised statutes

The EUA General Assembly at the Spring Conference in Barcelona adopted by a two thirds majority vote the proposal for revised statutes.

The amendments in the revised statutes aim at:

  • Enhancing the impact of the association at the European level: enabling EUA to become an even stronger player, working on behalf of its members to influence the development of the European Higher Education and Research areas;
  • Clarifying membership criteria to ensure that only universities offering quality assured degree programmes and with a significant research base are eligible for membership;
  • Improving the functioning of the association based upon the experience of the first six years of operation.

The first possibility for universities to apply under the revised membership criteria, will be in October 2008, following the adoption of appropriate Rules of Procedure.

The revision of the association’s statutes has been carried out in line with the original 2001 EUA statutes which stipulated that after five years of operation a review process should take place. This process started in 2006 and has been carried out by a Statutes Review Group consisting of nine members from the Board, Council and General Assembly.

The new statutes can be found here.

EUA cooperation with Latin American & Caribbean Universities

The EUA Council and Consejo Universitario Iberoamericano (CUIB) took the opportunity offered by the Barcelona Conference to hold a meeting to explore the development of cooperation between European and Latin American & Caribbean (LAC) Universities.

This followed up cooperation launched by the Declaration of Asturias, signed in Oviedo (Spain) by both organisations in 2006. Discussion focused on potential actions to build regular dialogue between the universities from both organisations and identified the following major topics for concrete initiatives:

  • Developing common understanding of the Bologna process to help the construction of the EU/LAC common higher education area;
  • developing a framework for increasing and improving the quality and impact of mobility;
  • exchanging and improving practice in quality assurance;
  • strengthening institutional profiles and missions;
  • developing research cooperation through better use of new information and communication technologies;
  • strengthening the inter-university cooperation in social and cultural activities;
  • strengthening the role of universities in addressing challenges of social cohesion.

In view of the upcoming EU-LAC Heads of State and Government Summit to be celebrated in Lima 2008, May 17th-18thCUIB and EUA also discussed the content of a joint Declaration to be presented to the Summit. The Declaration would underpin the role of universities as key stakeholders in developing the knowledge society globally, urging the EU-LAC Heads of State and Government to increase participation of universities in policy making and to provide the necessary support for strengthening higher education and research cooperation between the two regions.

The Declaration will also encourage governments to take advantage of the expertise and experience offered by a consolidated CUIB/EUA partnership on all matters related to the development of inter-regional cooperation.

EUA urges universities to develop clear strategies to advance open access

Universities need to do more to develop institutional policies and strategies that increase access to their peer-reviewed research results to the widest range of users, to maximise the impact and visibility of university research.

This is one of the key recommendations published by EUA’s Working Group on Open Access, which aim to raise awareness of the importance of the open access issue within the university community, both in terms of its impact upon the research process but also its financial implications for university libraries.

EUA is recommending that universities across Europe set up an ‘institutional repository’ (or take part in a shared repository) as a key first step to achieving this goal. These repositories should be established and managed according to current best practices and policies developed by universities should ensure that researchers deposit their publications in the repository on acceptance of publication. Embargoes should only apply to the date of open access provision and not the date of deposit.

University policies should also take better account of copyright and the institutional intellectual property rights (IPR) management.

The recommendations were published following a meeting of the EUA Council, which took place before the opening of the EUA Spring Conference at the University of Barcelona. The working group’s recommendations are based on the core premises: the university’s role and responsibility as guardian of research knowledge as a “public good” and that the results of publicly funded research should be publicly available as soon as possible; and that quality assurance peer review processes are pre-conditions for scholarly publishing. 

Please click here to read the full recommendations.

New EUA Board members elected at Spring Conference

EUA is delighted to announce that two new members have been elected to the current (2005-2009) EUA Board.

Professor Tadeusz Luty, Rector, Wroclaw University of Technology (Poland) and Professor Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, Rector, University of Aarhus (Denmark) were elected to the Board following a vote by members during the EUA General Assembly at the Spring Conference in Barcelona.

The two additions to the Board replace Professor Sir Roderick Floud, President Emeritus, London Metropolitan University (UK) and Professor Jaak Aaviksoo, Rector, University of Tartu (Estonia) who were obliged to step down from the EUA Board due to other commitments.

The next EUA President will be elected by members at this year’s EUA Autumn Conference in Rotterdam (23-25 October 2008) – and will act as President elect until officially taking office in March 2009 during the EUA Convention in Prague where eight new Board members will also be elected.

EUA welcomes new members

On the occasion of the EUA Council meeting last week at the Spring Conference in Barcelona, nine institutions were welcomed as full individual members:

  • Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis (Belgium)
  • Daugavpils University (Latvia)
  • Riga Technical University (Latvia)
  • Ulyanovsk State University (Russia)
  • Trnava University (Slovakia)
  • Universidad Europea de Madrid (Spain)
  • Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain – previously an associate member)
  • University Carlos III of Madrid (Spain)
  • Donetsk National University of Economics and Trade (Ukraine)

Dogus University (Turkey) and Vysoka Skola Manazmentu in Trencin (Slovakia) have also become associate individual members while the PRES- Pôle de recherche et d'enseignement supérieur - Université de Lyon (France) has joined as an affiliate member.