Abstracts & PresentationsAbstracts & Presentations

Papers presented at the conference

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Keynote presentations are available here.

Presentations at the parallel sessions:

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Session "Governance – system dynamics and change"

Gabriella KECZER: University governance in the Visegrád countries The so called Visegrád countries have the same historic heritage and a similar socio-economic path since the change of the political system. Hence, it is worth to compare the policies, characteristics and progress of their higher education systems. I focus my analysis on the governance of higher education institutions in the Visegrád countries. I present their historical path from the communist era, and analyze where they are heading nowadays. I pinpoint the similarities of the policies, concepts and reforms concerning university governance in the Visegrád countries, and also the differences in their progress. I cover the legal background, the role of the different actors of university governance and the autonomy of higher education institutions in the V4 countries.

Renata KRALIKOVA: Translation of the modernization agenda in higher education governance in post-communist countries. The case of Slovakia In the early 2000s, many post-communist countries launched reforms of university management and governance marked by the influence of a ‘modernization agenda’ for higher education (HE) governance promoted by the World Bank, the OECD, and the European Commission. Yet, this ‘modernization agenda’ was employed differently in different countries. This paper examines the mechanisms involved in such ‘translation’ in Slovakia and provides two key conclusions. First, the institutional features formed throughout the institutional design process during the transition in the early 1990s set in motion path dependent logics that affect the manner and extent to which a ‘modernization agenda’ is ‘translated’ in early 2000s. Second, the actors’ perceptions of HE institution in place and of the relevance of ‘modernization agenda’ for dealing with shortcomings of the institution in place also influences policy translation.

Norbert SABIC: Governance through transparency tools: The case of Romania HE reforms In 2007 the Romanian government started an ambitious higher education reform. The reform was largely inspired by European policy narratives that emphasized the importance of higher education in a future knowledge economy and more precisely the significance of higher education diversification as means to achieve better overall performance of the system. Consequently, Romania became one of the few Eastern European countries to introduce a diversification policy based primarily on the classification of universities and ranking of study programmes. Rather than merely providing comparable information about the performance of each individual institution and study programme the policy sought to utilize these transparency tools as instruments of governance and link them to the allocation of publicly funded study places and other financial incentives. In this respect, the Romanian reform represents a unique case since it was one of the first attempts in Europe to actually use a classification and ranking exercise for such broad purposes. I deliberately emphasize the word “attempt”, since only one year after their introduction the reforms have eased following a change in the national government. While the Law on National Education, which provided the basis for these reforms is still in place, some of its provisions have been modified and others, such as repeating the classification and ranking exercise every year, are no longer followed. Despite the policies apparent failure, the distinctive endeavour by Romanian policy makers to use transparency tools for steering higher education proves to be a noteworthy case to study.

Jozef HVORECZKY: Mismanagement as a Policy Endorsed by Legislation: A Key Deformation of the Slovak Tertiary Education System

Among the V4 countries, Slovakia is the only one without a university among Top 500. Its tertiary education system is underfinanced but in our presentation we concentrate on non-financial reasons of their lagging behind. First, their organizational structure is too complex. Secondly, the control of the tertiary education system is concentrated in hand of the Minister. Due to it, Slovakia cannot become a regular member of ENQA. There are a few “islands of positive deviation” remain isolated. As they are not prioritized, their potential cannot be fully exploited and can hardly motivate the development of their weaker partners.

Dániel DEÁK: The European Pattern of “HOMO ACADEMICUS” and the chances of its evolution in current Hungarian higher education

The elbow-room of seeking for identity and the role to be filled by academics are limited by the effective system of the governance of higher education. It is a key to the chances of academics of meeting the historically corroborated professional standards that they exercise academic freedom. As it cannot be done individually, but in cooperation (through a collegial system), academic freedom is always combined with collective action. The field where this freedom can be exercised this way can be specified through university autonomy, the lack of which makes a serious barrier to the full development of a character of “homo academicus“. This is now the case in Hungary, the paper suggests.

Andrew TRAVELLER: An exploration of integration and how universities ‘do’ it: A Slovenian case-study

In a globalised, knowledge-intensive society, in which higher education is seen as inextricably linked to economic and social progress, how the university is conceived, and indeed valued, has come into focus. This paper traces the trajectory of the resultant policies that imply a more integrated university actor. It provides a brief conceptualisation of university integration, and examines the formation of ‘policies of integration’ within the European policy space. Following the trajectory, the empirical component focuses on two case-study universities in Slovenia in order to illustrate the challenges and idiosyncrasies of interpreting and enacting the new integrated university ‘ideal’. Consequently, dichotomies were apparent between and within universities as to how integration was defined, from where it should be initiated, and how to achieve it, as global scripts came up against local identities.

Liliana DONATH: Knowledge or competence based higher education. The case of Romania

The public interest in the employability and effectiveness of higher education has grown over the years in Europe as a consequence of higher education expansion, graduates being prepared to meet the labour market dynamic in terms of skills and competences. From this perspective, the time frame spent studying should be as short as possible explaining the considerable number of bachelor study programs that try to accommodate as many students as possible. The question that can be raised at this point is, whether the economy can absorb large cohorts of graduates (over-education) and, if not, to what extent the acquired skills are useful for the regional or global labour market? In the event that the number of graduates is higher than the labour market demand to what extent graduates can be converted so the invested amounts in tertiary education shouldn’t be wasted?

Lilla KOLTÓI – Annamária DOMBI - Paszkál KISS: What do conscious citizens see? Role of higher education in setting social priorities

Democratic societies are based on citizens’ active involvement in civic affairs. Higher education is an important factor in the process of becoming a conscious citizen. In our research we examine the role of higher education in developing students’ political competence, and in forming the public engagement of the future elite. According to our survey results in a national representative sample (N=1500) graduation correlates positively with the components of political expertise such as media use, civic interest, civic knowledge. Political expertise in turn determines the perceptions of the societal role of higher education: graduated people think that universities play more important role in social and cultural life than less qualified persons. Our research results prove that higher education is one of the key factors of developing civic competencies and civic engagement.


Session "Teaching & Learning"

Edina BERLINGER – Krisztina MEGYERI: Access to the higher education for disadvantaged

In 2014, with the participation of two professors and a couple of students at Corvinus University, we carried out a small scale program that aimed to help a few very poor and disadvantaged (mostly Roma) high school students to gain access to higher education. When designing the program, we followed the recommendations of Barr (2012) by demystifying the university, raising the students’ aspirations, and improving their school attainments especially in Mathematics and English. The program relied mostly on volunteers who served as personal mentors. During the conference, the operation and the achievements of this pilot project will be discussed in details.

Zsuzsa KOVÁCS – Orsolya KERESZTY: The Experiences and Views of Next Generation Ph.D. Students on Education A series of research support that academics' views on teaching and learning have an effect on their teaching methods, problem solving tactics and forms of professional learning as well. In our pilot research we study students currently enrolled in Ph.D. programs being interested in whether their views are influenced by their participation (or lack of) in teacher-training, whether they had mentors or how many years (if any) have they taught in higher education. We suppose that, depending on whether the teacher focuses on teaching or on the students' learning processes there is a difference in both the need for professional learning and in behaviour as well. The presentation focuses on some theoretical and methodological issues on the subject and presents experiences related to the development and pilot of a questionnaire.

Annamária DOMBI – Lilla KOLTÓI – Paszkál KISS: University degree: a key to success? –An analysis of social representation

In recent years we have experienced major changes in Hungarian higher education. Many of these changes affected admission rates and conditions. There have been social debates about the ways of financing higher education and about the right proportion of graduates in a certain generation. Behind all these social issues there are personal questions that many young people would ask: Is university a wished pathway to success? The focus in our research is to explore the social representation of success. What do people think about success in Hungary and how they connect this to university graduation? Our representative national sample involved 1500 persons between 18 and 34 and we analyzed 174 person’s word associations with significantly different family background. The results show that there are notable differences between groups’ associations.


Session "Internationalization of HE in the CEE"

Edit ROHONCZI: Higher Education: Challenged by Internationalisation and Competitiveness The demand for internationalization of higher education appeared at a European educational policy level only a few decades ago, but has had increasing significance ever since. The presentation focuses on questions related to the impact of policies and strategies facilitating European internationalisation and that of European programmes as outcomes of these policies on the competitiveness of the European and national higher education. Opportunities created by EU financed programmes and the degree of their utilisation will be identified. Indicators of internationalisation are to be analysed in global, European and Hungarian context, (such as mobility actions, international students/faculty) along with their weightings in the compilation of the much debated international league tables and national university rankings, which in fact are considered to reflect the grade of competitiveness.

Iryna DEGTYAROVA: Scientific cooperation between Polish and Ukrainian universities: Preliminary research results

The paper presents selected results of the research project “Analysis of selected examples of cooperation between Polish and Ukrainian HEIs based on the comparison of higher education systems. Conclusions and recommendations” conducted by PRF together with institutional partners. The aim of the project is the identification, diagnosis and analysis of selected conditions in R&D cooperation between Polish and Ukrainian universities, as well as learning experience from the institutions and individuals who initiated bilateral scientific projects. The objectives of cooperation, mechanisms of establishing, areas of cooperation, barriers and facilitating factors were defined and studied. The institutionalization of cooperation and academic leadership was considered.

Janka HUJAK: The real benefit of an exchange programme: Moving from credit mobility to degree mobility

The most influential exchange programme in Central Europe is the Erasmus+ programme, which is a credit mobility programme. It has been proven that the Erasmus+ is rewarding in numerous ways for the participating higher education institutions, but not financially. Instead of credit mobility, it is the degree mobility which increases the HEIs income. The author investigates whether credit mobility programmes can be turned into tools for increasing the number of tuition fee paying degree mobile students in a HEI. The author sets the theoretical background for further empirical research in the topic.

Zsuzsanna CSÁSZÁR – Tamás WUSCHING: Expanding geographical spaces on the global map of the University of Pécs’s internationalization

The internationalization is playing an important role worldwide in transforming higher education in the 21st century. The University of Pécs, as the oldest, and one of the largest universities in Hungary, has also entered the path of internationalization. The university’s newest statistics show the growing number of international students as well as the emergence of new markets in terms of their countries of origin. In our research, first we have analyzed the latest literature regarding the international student mobility, and we made a detailed geographical analysis on the spatial characteristics of University of Pécs’s international students, pointing out the newest tendencies based on the latest statistical data and interviews. Finally, we intend to introduce our ongoing large empirical research on the internationalization of the University of Pécs.


Session "Research & Development and Third Mission"

Roland HEGEDŰS: Special effects of central higher education network on the carrier after graduating

In my lecture I put special emphasis on the regional relationship systems of Budapest based on the 2012 DPR (Hungarian Graduate Tracking System) database. In the case of the ’14-year-old residency,’ small towns are also present; whereas regarding workplaces, towns being in a higher position in the settlement hierarchy are dominant. Among the institutions, the movement of students graduated from NKE to rural areas stands out, which can be contributed to civil service jobs all over the country. Furthermore, the high percentage of employment of ELTE and BME graduate students in county seats is striking too. Extra point is in my lecture that I research the medical education in Hungary.

László HORVÁTH: Ensuring the competitiveness of knowledge as the fourth mission of Higher Education

The Hungarian 2011. CCIV. law on national higher education identifies the creation of necessary conditions to transfer and obtain competitive knowledge as a main goal. Using a marketing approach, I consider student expectation and satisfaction as one of the indicators of quality in higher education. With the GAP-model of service marketing I assessed the first and fifth gaps, namely the discrepancy between students’ expectations and satisfaction and higher education leaders’ ideas about students’ expectations. The main research questions revolved around the definitions of output, main customer and students (metaphors) in higher education and the expectations and satisfaction with different factors. I hope my research can contribute to the better understanding of student expectations and satisfaction as an aspect of quality in higher education regarding the core business of the institutions.

Jiri NANTL: Central European Institute of Technology: Facing the Challenges

The Czech Republic was given unprecedented opportunity with respect to its research infrastructure in last few years. The EU Structure Funds mainly through the program Research and Development for Competitiveness during the period 2007-2014 helped to build, renovate or equip 48 research centers. This development has significantly shaped the Czech research landscape, and in fact has involved a structural change unseen since transformation of Czech Academy of Science and of regional universities in 1990´s, following the fall of the communist regime. Masaryk University, together with other universities and research organizations took a challenge and established a Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) – a scientific center in the fields of life sciences, advanced materials and technologies whose aim is to establish itself as a recognized center for basic as well as applied research. Being a part of public university sector and going across six partnering institutions, CEITEC has to face many challenges with respect to governance, management, financing and external cooperations, both with academia and industry. What is the lesson to be learned from its experience? Can the existing environment enable to create a world-class research centre? Are other universities and academic entities across Central and Eastern Europe facing similar problems?