Higher Education and Research

Collection of quotes

As part of the documentation for the conference on we are compiling a collection of brief provocative or thought-provoking statements on governance in general and on higher education governance in particular from people from different walks of life (journalistic, political, ministerial, academic, from outside and inside higher education, …) to complement the conference programme.

We invite you to contribute to this collection, by sending us your personal reflection on governance or higher education governance or a quote from someone else to the following address: higher.education.research@coe.int

“According to the underlying ideas and assumptions of reform thinking, universities and colleges should be externally controlled, their activities should be formally evaluated, they should be held accountable for their performance, they should be steered by market forces and not by governmental or state mechanisms, they should be run by professional leaders and managers instead of by academic primus-inter-pares (‘first among equals’), and they should be included as service industries in regional and global trade agreements”.
Peter Maassen “Ch1: Global Reform Trends in Higher Education”, in (Ed.) Cloete, Nico et al. Transformation in Higher Education. Global Pressures and Local Realities in South Africa Juta &Co Ltd 2002
Submitted by Lela Maisuradze, European Integration Division, Ministry of Education and Science, Georgia

“[…] comparative higher education resembles the oarsman who judges his progress by looking back as he moves forward”.
Guy Neave “The Stakeholder Perspective Historically Explored” in (Eds.) Enders & Fulton Higher Education in a Globalizing World. International Trends and Mutual Observations, Kluwer academic Publishers, 2002
Submitted by Lela Maisuradze, European Integration Division, Ministry of Education and Science, Georgia

“Mass higher education is chronically open. It is open in sociological terms because it enrols students with little in common with the elite groups from which university students were traditionally draw, and because students are now more likely to regard themselves as consumers and customers than acolytes or initiates”.
Peter Scott “University Governance and management. An Analysis of the System and Institutional Level Changes in Western Europe”, in (Eds.) Maassen, Peter & Van Vught, Frans Inside Academia. New Challenges for the Academic Profession. De Tijdstroom, 1996
Submitted by Lela Maisuradze, European Integration Division, Ministry of Education and Science, Georgia

“Direct democracy is not in many cases the best solution for good governance. And this is true both for states and universities.”
Kamen Velev, Bureau member of the CDESR

«Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good».
(Cfr. John Paul II, Lettera Enciclica Centesimus Annus, in “Acta Apostolicae Sedis”, 83 (1991), n. 48)
Submitted by Guglielmo Malizia, Holy See delegation

“The governance of higher education in the 21st century needs to develop a fusion of academic mission and executive capacity, rather than substitute one for the other.”
Institutional Management in Higher Education (OECD)

“All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.” (Aristotle)
Submitted by Kamen Velev, Bureau member of the CDESR

“A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students.” (John Ciardi)
Submitted by Kamen Velev, Bureau member of the CDESR

“Europe needs strong universities (in the broadest sense) as “motors” in the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation. We need universities that are able to move out from the shadows of nation states and are able to do both: go for excellence in research as well as in teaching and provide broad, equitable access to basic higher education in Europe.”
Georg Winckler, President of EUA

« La meilleure gouvernance c’est quand «les gouvernés» ne s’en aperçoivent pas et obtiennent des meilleurs résultats dans leur vie. »
Georgii Kriuchkov

“Effective governance is a harmonious fusion of power and authority and equal balance between trust and control where democratic, autocratic and laissez faire management styles are addressed according to the needs of a society and within the boundaries of active legislation.”
Lela Maisuradze, European Integration Division, Ministry of Education and Science, Georgia

“Higher education and research are probably the most productive investments of human and natural resources in the long run. The optimal utilization of precious and scarce resources, however, depends on an efficient system of policy-making and policy-implementation.”
Joseph S. Joseph, University of Cyprus, Member of CDESR

"There is no contradiction between professional university governance and the special organisational characteristics of the university. On the contrary, one important priority for the university management is to preserve those characteristic features at a time of growing demands from society."
Soren Nedergaard, Special Adviser , Division of Education and Science Institutions
Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Denmark

“Gouverner, c’est maintenir les balances de la justice égales pour tous. »
F.D. Roosevelt, Combats pour demain

“As the globalised knowledge economy increasingly puts new demands on societies' important knowledge institutions like universities and colleges, a highly competent leadership will be required. In-depth knowledge of the institutions, competence in professional leadership and the ability to motivate people to take part in the complex change processes must be central parts in a new governance strategy for higher education institutions.”
Anne Welle-Strand, Center for Education Management Research, Sandvika

“Higher education is too important to society to be left to itself;
governance must be a partnership between outsiders and insiders.”

Roderick Floud, London Metropolitan University

“Effective university governance transcends the formal responsibilities of officially-designated governors; it is shared with and engages all legitimately interested stakeholders.”
Robin H. Farquhar, former President, The University of Winnipeg and Carleton University, Canada

“If you think things cannot get worse, they sure will!.”
Jaak Aaviksoo, University of Tartu

“We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge.”
John Perry Barlow

“Health services are striving to create the kinds of organisation where a passion for quality is instilled throughout the organisation. Where all staff have a curiosity, a drive, an enthusiasm for innovation and improvement. Where solving individual clinical problems is still vital but where seeing opportunities for better care for hundreds of patients captures the imagination of all staff."
Sir Liam Donaldson writing in 'Clinical Governance' Wright J & Hill P (Eds), London: Churchill Livingstone, 2003

“The concept of "governance" is not new. It is as old as human civilization. Simply put "governance" means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).”