11 Oct IAU 2017 International Conference
Date: 18th-20th October
Venue: Accra, Ghana
Theme : Leadership for a changing public-private higher education funding landscape
The 2017 IAU International Conference will focus on the role, responsibilities, expectations and needs of higher education leaders – rectors, presidents, but also deans and department heads in higher education in this new and shifting landscape when faced with the changing nature of higher education that comes with a more blurred notion of public and private. Speakers will be drawn from both mostly public, and mostly or wholly private higher education institutions. In addition, IAU will draw on institutions where the shift from predominantly one side of the spectrum (either public or private) to the other has taken place to learn about these transitions and transformations.
The continuous growth in demand for higher education, the policies that focus on limiting public spending, the increased commercialization of education and the arguments that higher education has a greater private than public return on investment are all factors, among others, that contribute to the expansion of the place of private sector funding of higher education worldwide. This is true not only of higher education that is completely privately provided but also of higher education offered in public universities. The share of operating costs that are covered through tuition fees has and continues to grow in many parts of the world, and fund-raising, philanthropy and public private partnerships in the higher education sector are all gaining in importance even in nations where such practices do not have a long tradition or a favorable fiscal environment.
The impacts and challenges of this shifting or blurring of the public and private spheres and the pressure for changing the funding mix when it comes to higher education and research are manifold. At the system level, they raise questions of the very definition of what is a public or private university, questions about the regulatory and accountability frameworks that governs each type of institution universities, questions with regard to quality and recognition, for students the issues are about accessibility, participation and retention. As well, this changing public – private landscape can influence the profile of individual institutions and the disciplinary mix or curricula that they offer, what academic skills they provide, the students they wish or are able to attract, the relationship they build with communities and potential employers. These changes can have a profound impact on research both in terms of focus, scope, dissemination or results and ownership.
In some fundamental ways, this blurring of boundaries between public and private higher education raises, once again, the fundamental questions about the goals and purposes of higher education for the individual, for the nation and for society.
In all respects, these changes, taking place in most higher education systems worldwide, albeit in different degrees, bring new demands and new challenges for the institutional leadership at all levels. In some ways, they are redefining the role of the higher education leader.
For more information visit the official IAU Conference 2017 website