By Ruth Hayhoe

Given the research interest on universities and innovation in CIHE, I thought it would be good to share a recent experience of international dialogue on a small scale. It was a meeting of the International Advisory Committee of the University of Macau, held at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and hosted by the President, who serves on this committee, along with former presidents of University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and Texas A&M University, as well as a senior official from the National Science Foundation and the President of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.


By Ruth Hayhoe

Stanford University has a centre in a beautiful classical building in the historical section of Peking University’s campus where a two day forum considering an institutional perspective on world class universities was held on November 4 and 5.


The initiators of the forum were Professor Min Weifang (pictured with Glen Jones and Ruth Hayhoe), former Chairman of Council for Peking University and Professor Jean Oi, a senior political scientist at Stanford.

The forum provided a range of interesting comparative perspectives on what it means for universities to be world class and what kind of institutional patterns as well as societal and governmental factors underlie their emergence.

With distinguished scholars of higher education and university leaders from China, Hong Kong, Macau, the USA, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom as keynote speakers and panel presenters, it was a dynamic two days of debate and discussion. The themes covered included differentiation of higher education systems, institutional and organizational contexts of world class universities, managerial characteristics and the social development of worldclass universities.

Just to highlight a few of the keynote speakers, it was fascinating to hear historical and sociological perspectives in the US context from Professor Roger Geiger and Professor John Meyer, which gave deep insights into particularities of the US experience as well as more general societal consequences of a massification of higher education that has universal dimensions.

On the side of Russia, Professor Isak Froumin gave a picture of main characteristics of a state-driven environment for higher education, with a focus on actorhood and autonomy. Professor Motohisa Kaneko and Takahiro Ueyama of Japan looked at design issues in the creation of Super Research Universities in Japan and the ways in which Japan is still seeking to emulate institutions such as Stanford and the University of California in terms of strategic management.

Professor J C Shin of Seoul National University spoke about some of the obstacles to change rooted in disciplinary culture in Korea’s most influential public university while Professor Jaeho Yeom, President of Korea University gave a somewhat different perspective from this prestigious private university.

A number of university leaders from Greater China, including Zhao Wei, President of University of Macao and Tony Chan, President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology gave talks that highlighted unique features of their institutions.

Professor Simon Marginson gave a dynamic keynote speech, looking at research productivity as measured in various rankings in the context of a comparative analysis of state power, bureaucratic power and academic power in the world class multiversity. Our own Glen Jones preferred to avoid the term worldclass and use the term major research universities while presenting some of the current challenges faced by Canadian universities in academic self-governance.

The core idea for this stimulating two day event was developed by Professor Min Weifang, a remarkable figure in Chinese higher education as the first Party Secretary in contemporary China with a PhD from the United States. He got his doctorate in economics of education at Stanford in the early 1990s, worked for a short period with the World Bank and then decided to return to Beijing at a difficult time in China’s relations with the Western world. He began as Director of the Institute for Higher Education at Peking University, then as Vice President in 1998 he hosted a celebration of the university’s 100th anniversary which attracted presidents from top universities around the world.

A few years later he was appointed Party Secretary or Chairman of Council and in this role he guided Peking University over a period of nine years, ensuring a high degree of academic freedom and spearheading many new developments. Since stepping down a few years ago he has continued supervising doctoral students and teaching courses in the economics of education at PKU’s Graduate School of Education.

By Ruth Hayhoe

It was a great pleasure to attend the 16th World Congress of Comparative Education in Beijing, August 22-28 on the theme of “Dialectics of Education: Comparative Perspectives.” The World Council of Comparative Education Societies was founded in 1970 and had its first Congress in Ottawa that year, since then meeting about every three years in cities around the world, including Montreal in 1989, and more recently, Chungbuk, Korea in 2001, Havana, Cuba in 2004, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2007, Istanbul, Turkey in 2010 and Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2013. (more…)

By Anatoly Oleksiyenko

Following the 2014 Revolution of Dignity and the subsequent Russian occupation of Crimea and armed intervention in Donbas, the Ukrainian NGO Poruch (“Alongside”) (est. 2011) has championed an extraordinary volunteer movement that engages local professors and students in relief work in the war-affected communities. Galvanized by the ideas and spirit of Dr. Maria Tyshchenko and her colleagues at the Kyiv National University of Economics, the NGO attracted young scholars who eagerly sought opportunities for grassroots activism, active citizenship and civic engagement. (more…)

By Baris Uslu

Turkey has unpleasant memories from several military interventions including the coups in 1961 and 1980. During the cold war, those were conflicts that reflected the cleavage between people in the “right” and “left”. During past coups, many academics were discharged from universities due to their political views, and academic freedom for others was strictly curtailed by military-led governments. (more…)

Editor’s note: The Blog welcomes contributions by Turkish professors and experts sharing their views on current events. Usual disclaimers apply, i.e., the personal opinions and perspectives of post authors do not constitute official views or positions by CIHE, OISE or the University.

By Sedat Gumus and Bekir S. Gur

Since its establishment, Turkey has experienced several military interventions including two coups in 1960 and 1980 as well as 1971 military memorandum and 1997’s so-called “postmodern coup.” Academics were some of the biggest victims of previous military interventions in Turkey. Hundreds were dismissed from universities and many were arrested just because of their opinions or ideologies. In addition, academic freedom was significantly restricted during those periods. (more…)

By Ruth Hayhoe

After four days in Chongqing, I moved on to Lanzhou, the capital and largest city of Gansu Province in Northwest China. OISE had a CIDA supported partnership with Lanzhou’s NorthwePicture1st Normal University from 1989 to 2001 in which some of China’s first doctoral students in education after the disastrous Cultural Revolution were nurtured. One now serves as Director of Education for the province of Gansu, with a population of 27 million, another as vice president of the university. We had a great time recollecting the rich collaboration in areas such as minority studies, bilingual education and women’s education. We also made plans for a lecture series I will give there next year. (more…)

By Ruth Hayhoe

Southwest University in Chongqing, a city of  30 million in West China, celebrated a history of 110 years on April 17 and 18. It has been a major Picture1normal university for the Southwest region since 1952 but ten years ago it was allowed to merge with its neighbouring agricultural university and drop the word “normal” from its name. Teacher education is still a strong focus and the celebration was combined with a conference on reciprocal learning in teacher education, where teacher candidates from schools in Canada and China reported on their valuable learning in exchange programs. (more…)