Making an Impact: Higher Education and/in the Knowledge Society

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Author(s)Ellen Hazelkorn
Today, higher education institutions provide education from associate degree to PhD level, conduct research, participate in outreach initiatives, and are a source of innovation and entrepreneurship. They are emblems of nation-building; to some they are the engine of the economy, to others a critical partner in the ecosystem. Beyond imparting education, they are the source of human capital; act as a regional, national and/or global gateway attracting highly-skilled talent and investment, actively engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders through knowledge and technology transfer, and underpinning the global competitiveness of nations and regions. Some have medical schools, museums, theatres, galleries, sports facilities and cafes – all of which play a significant role in their community, city and nation. As a group, they sit within vastly different national context, underpinned by different value systems, meeting the needs of demographically, ethnically and culturally diverse populations, and responding to complex and challenging political-economic environments.
This paper will look at the way in which HEIs and systems have evolved in response to what Neave (2000) has called a further step in the democratisation of the “Humboldtian ethic”. In contrast to a time when institutional boundaries reflected a relatively simple understanding of society, knowledge systems and labour markets, as knowledge has become more complex and society more demanding, diverse higher education models have developed. The transformation from elite to universal higher education has given birth to multi-dimensional diversity. What are the implications of these developments for higher education institutions and their wider region? What role does/should higher education play, and what are its responsibilities within a broader innovation eco-system?
CategoriesMission of PHE » Research Developement and Innovation, 2013 23rd Annual Conference