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Comparing Governance Typologies in Higher Education: From Europe to the Americas

Governance
Comparative Perspective
Higher Education
Beverly Barrett
University of Houston
Beverly Barrett
University of Houston
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Abstract

There are historic and modern social, cultural, and economic ties across the Atlantic among Europe, Latin America, and the United States. In the 21st century knowledge economy, the emphasis on higher education attainment and mobility, as well as international trade in services, is stronger than ever. In this context of global interchanges, this research makes comparisons about the governance of higher education among select countries in Europe and select countries in the Americas. The governance of higher education theoretical typologies – state-centered, market centered, and academic centered – are applied in this work to analyze the case study countries as they compare to each other (Dobbins and Knill 2009, 2014). The analysis compares the governance of higher education for four European countries, four Latin American countries, and the United States. The research question asks if type of higher education governance has a relationship with higher education attainment (based on OECD data) and with global rankings (based on the UK Times Higher Education (THE): World University Rankings). Both higher education mobility and international trade are measures of globalization that are assessed qualitatively with country cases and quantitatively with statistics in this research. Using data from the OECD, Eurostat, and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the analysis centers on higher education attainment and mobility data. There is the understanding that these measures do not explain higher education quality, which is central to delivering upon the three missions of higher education – teaching, research, and economic development. It is recognized that each country represents some aspects of each of the three typologies for governance of higher education. In Europe, the dominant typologies are applied as follows for these countries: Britain (market-state), Germany (market-academic), Portugal (academic-state), and Spain (state-academic). The countries of Portugal and Spain have cultural and historic ties to select countries in the Americas, demonstrating the Ibero-American relationship. In Latin America, this research highlights trends of state-centered governance of higher education institutions in the Pacific Alliance countries – Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. In the United States, the dominant typologies are academic-centered and increasingly market-centered, as a global trend in recent decades, for the governance of higher education. Higher education institutions’ relevance to other policy areas such as employment, mobility, and international trade has to do with their newer third mission of economic development, beyond the missions of teaching and research.