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Nr13 - Welcome to HUMANE

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Nr13 - Welcome to HUMANE

    Message from the Chairman............................................................................................................................... 3 1. Bulletin Changes ............................................................................................................................................ 4 2. 2004 2005 HUMANE Seminars.................................................................................................................... 4 3. HUMANE Seminars How to Register? ......................................................................................................... 5 4. HUMANE ASBL.............................................................................................................................................. 5 5. Round Table................................................................................................................................................... 6 6. ESMU-HUMANE Winter School for senior administrators ............................................................................... 6 7. HUMANE Seminars on Governance ............................................................................................................... 7 8. HUMANE seminars on student issues, 2000-2004 .......................................................................................... 9 9. Winter School Alumni a New Network ........................................................................................................ 12 10. H. E. E. Consulting Group - Update ............................................................................................................ 12 11. HUMANE Bank News ................................................................................................................................. 13 12. HUMANE Friends ....................................................................................................................................... 13 13. HUMANE Website ...................................................................................................................................... 14

     Annexes .......................................................................................................................................................... 14

Colophon

The HUMANE Bulletin is distributed 2 times a year

    Brussels, No. 13 July 2004

    Edited by Hans van Dam (Network Manager), Tim Evans (Secretariat) and Esther Langen (Webmaster)

HUMANE

    31 Rue Montoyer (Box 2)

    B-1000 Brussels

    Tel.: +32 (0) 2 513 8622

    Fax: +32 (0) 2 289 2467

    E-mail: info@esmu.be

    www.humane.eu.org

    HUMANE 2

Message from the Chairman

    The expansion of the European Union with a considerable number of states in East and Southern Europe affects HUMANE as well. At the Round Table meeting held mid-June in Maastricht we were able to greet a number of representatives from the new member states. Also on this spot I wish to extend a warm welcome to all universities that have now entered our network‟s operational sphere. I gladly express the hope and expectation that we will

    draw mutual benefit from each other‟s knowledge and experience.

    The Round Table decided to dedicate a seminar in 2005 to the consequences for the universities of entering the Union. It will come as no surprise that this seminar is to be held in one of the new member states, namely Poland. You will find the planning for the seminars in 2005 elsewhere in this Bulletin.

    Partly on account of the larger number of countries and members, not five but six seminars will be held in 2005. A special feature of the 2005 „season‟, decided upon in Maastricht, is to offer graduates of our Winter School the opportunity to hold a presentation at the seminars. The first lecture from this group will already be held at the November seminar organised on Gran Canaria, concerning student affairs. Their proposed topic, „Effects of

    introducing school fees on Higher Education‟, will be the seminar‟s central theme. Which brings me to the content of the seminars: in 2005 the Executive Committee shall attempt, more than before, to bring the results of previous seminars to bear on the organisation of subsequent seminars. In so doing we play our part in contributing to university organisational development. This approach is partly made possible by the thorough update of the HUMANE website. Here, in the „Members Only‟ section, you now have access to all lectures held thus far. This facilitates their easy use in preparing new seminars.

    The Round Table also took note of the fact that a seminar sometimes takes place in an attractive tourist destination. It was stressed that we should avoid creating the impression that HUMANE seminars are a tourist excursion. Although I underwrite this position, the fact that some universities happen to reside in places where one would also like to go for a holiday cannot be a reason to decide against holding seminars there. The content of our gatherings is what counts, on this we must be able to look back with pride and satisfaction. That we moreover get to know the setting in which the University operates (even if it provokes another‟s envy) is equally valuable. If this part of a visit

    to a kindred institute provides us with pleasant memories, what is the objection to that?

    Even though the number of HUMANE members is no reason for concern, we always strive for growth. I am thinking in particular of those countries where the number of members has stalled. The Executive Committee has determined that this development may well be tied to the current debate in those countries about the positioning of responsibility for the operational management of the university, within or outside of the chancellor‟s office, or however else the heads of European universities are called. In a number of countries the independent position of the Head of Administration has become a contentious issue. Certainly given the arrival of new EU member states, HUMANE will have to carefully reconsider the definition of membership. If we do not, we run the risk of not providing sufficient opportunity for true colleagues in a number of countries to join HUMANE. I expect we will be discussing this issue at the Round Table meeting to be held in Paris this coming year.

    I am very pleased to report that 2004 once again saw the joint initiative of HUMANE and ESMU, the Winter School in Barcelona, enjoy great success. Under the inspiring leadership of Christine Challis the weeklong course ran without a glitch. You‟ll recently have received the announcement of the Winter School 2005. Given our members‟ great interest in this study facility for their most promising senior co-workers, I recommend you indicate quickly whether you intend to register someone as a participant.

    Another activity that seems to be gaining ground is the initiative taken by a number of ex-members to create a HUMANE Friends network. At the Round Table in Maastricht we had the pleasure of the company of the former registrar of the University of Exeter, Ian Powell, who is very much at the forefront of this HUMANE spin-off. There is much interest among ex-members. A first announcement drew some 20 responses from prospective friends, all eager to contribute to the development of HUMANE by letting current members benefit from their experience and their own networks.

    My final announcement is that HUMANE has procured the status of a legal personality under Belgian law. Our Network Manager Hans van Dam and ESMU‟s Nadine Burquel have had to devote much time and effort to this

    process, and I take this opportunity to express our gratitude. This Bulletin comes along with a copy of our legal statutes.

    In conclusion I wish you all a wonderful vacation; I hope it will restore all your energies so that your institute may perform even better in the coming academic year!

Ruud Bleijerveld

    Chairman, HUMANE Executive Committee

    HUMANE 3

1. Bulletin Changes

As you will have noticed the Bulletin has a new format. We have decided to follow the style used in our

    previous TNP reports and we would once again like to thank the University of Aberdeen for the cover

    illustration.

The TNP reports disseminated the results of the working groups that took place over a three year period

    from 1999 to 2001. Now we have the results of 7 years worth of seminars it is worthwhile to disseminate the

    results of these seminars. In this Bulletin you will find a draft on the themes “Students” and “Governance and

    Accountability”, which are, or course, the themes of the final two seminars to be held this autumn.

During the summer we will be working on drafts of other themes covered by HUMANE seminars. We will do

    our best to make sure all presentations are included. We will try to create some sort of colour coded

    reference system to assist the reader.

You can check how this is proceeding by going to the HUMANE web site (www.humane.eu.org). We would

    very much appreciate your suggestions and input to help make this key tool for HUMANE members.

    2. 2004 2005 HUMANE Seminars

    Governance

    Pavia, 15th to 16th October 2004

    Università degli Studi di Pavia

This seminar will look into the role of the Head of Administration, Registrar, Kanzler or how we chose to

    identify a person responsible for the administrative life of the institution. To put it simply, this is about the role

    of HUMANE members. We will try to look into various national systems and their effects. Questions I hope to

    be answered are just as examples:

What are the effects of the Kanzler being responsible to the Government, while the Gerente reports

     to the Rector?

     Why have we seen recent changes in Austria and Lower Saxony

     How do the split administrative responsibilities in France function?

     What are vice-rectors good for?

If you have more questions or answers I am sure that there are colleagues interested. Do advise me on

    your interests.

Student Issues

    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 19th to 20th November 2004

    Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

This seminal addresses the relation between tuition fees and the organization of academia education. An

    interesting topic to be discussed on the first day of the seminar is how the national systems of tuition fees

    affect the access to the university and the study results. Variable tuition fees could stimulate students to

    study harder, but on the other hand the risk is that the university becomes inaccessible to large groups of

    students, which could otherwise obtain their degree with a small amount of financial support.

Some specific questions:

    - Is a common European system of tuition fees desirable?

    - Is a division in Europe desirable between state university who don‟t charge tuition fees and private

    universities with high fees?

    - Would it be logical to charge no or a low fee for courses in the national language and to charge a

    higher fee for courses in a foreign language?

    - How do universities deal with students who temporary quit their studies? What are the

    consequences for the overall university statistics (enrollment figures) sent to the government, and

    the related financial consequences?

    - Are students allowed to pay their fees in periods?

    - Do high tuition fees result in better student services?

Another interesting topic to be discussed on the second day of the seminar is the relation between the

    level of the tuition fees and the quality of the services for students. When students are paying high fees they

    also can have higher demands with regard to the quality of the services the university offers them.

    HUMANE 4

2005 Seminars

The venues for the seminars in 2005 are provisionally:

    ? April 1/2 Groningen

    ? April 29/30 Vienna

    ? June 17/18 Stochholm/Kiruna

    ? Sept 23/24 Warsaw

    ? Oct 21/22 Warwick

    ? Nov 18/19 Valencia

Bulletin 14, published in December, will have the finalised program, and the HUMANE web site will be kept

    updated of seminar developments.

The topics are not yet decided, this will be confirmed at the Executive Committee meeting in October. Please

    do not hesitate to make any suggestions about themes you would like to see coved at a HUMANE seminar,

    likewise if you would like to suggest improvements to the seminar format. Any suggestions can be sent to the

    HUMANE Secretariat (tim.evans@esmu.be).

3. HUMANE Seminars How to Register?

Please read ANNEX 4 (which is in the ANNEX Download section), which lists the terms and conditions of

    participating in a HUMANE Seminar. If you wish to register for a HUMANE seminar you can do by returning

    the registration form that can be found on the last page of this Bulletin, or alternately you can also register

    on-line at:

    http://www.humane.eu.org/members/Registration_form.htm

You will receive a written confirmation from the HUMANE Secretariat. Important if you do not receive a

    written confirmation within 7 days please contact tim.evans@esmu.be . A registration is not to be considered

    as confirmed if you do not have written confirmation.

Once you have received written confirmation from the HUMANE Secretariat that you have been registered

    for a HUMANE Seminar, cancellation fees will be applied as follows:

    ? From 21 to 7 days before the Seminar, 50% of the fee.

    ? Within 7 days of the Seminar, 100% of the fee.

A registration form is in the ANNEX Download section as ANNEX 5.

4. HUMANE ASBL

    HUMANE was set up in 1997 with the aim of grouping all heads of

    university administration in Europe in an informal network devoted to

    professional development and best practice. HUMANE wishes to

    preserve the informal character of the Network, but for participation

    in joint ventures and in EU projects being a legal body is necessary.

    We have kept you up to date with the process of making HUMANE

    into HUMANE ASBL (a „not for profit‟ organisation). We are please to

    announce that the lengthy process has now been completed. With

    the printed version of Bulletin 13 we will include the Articles of

    Association and the Internal Regulations which have been produced

    in booklet form.

    You can also find these Articles as well in Resources at the website.

    HUMANE 5

5. Round Table

The Round Table is the highest policy making body in

    HUMANE. The format of the meetings have developed

    in the last years and nowadays this takes the form of a

    business meeting on Friday-afternoon, a HUMANE

    dinner in the evening with country reports on a theme

    at Saturday morning. Since a lot of Round Table

    members stayed overnight till Sunday we decided to

    organise a social program at Saturday afternoon and

    an extra dinner for the Saturday evening. The host

    organised a program for accompanying persons at

    Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The program

    for accompanying persons has become very popular.

    The new group for former HUMANE members,

    HUMANE Friends, are welcome to join this program.

    Since this group likes to meet old friends we decided

    to open this program to all HUMANE members. The next meeting of the Round Table will be in Paris at 27/28 May 2005. If you want to join the program for accompanying persons please send an e-mail to the Secretariat in Brussels: tim.evans@esmu.be. You will have the opportunity closer to the time to register. 6. ESMU-HUMANE Winter School for senior administrators

Send in your candidates for the third edition of the Winter School!

    The second edition of the ESMU-HUMANE Winter School was a great success. With 30 participants from all over Europe, the School took place at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona from 29 February to 6 March. The School target audience is fast-rising administrators who are seen as having outstanding potential for future leadership, and the capacity to become influential senior managers. They are nominated by their head of administration, and selected by the School steering committee. Some candidates reapplied from last year, with this time a strong letter of recommendation from the head of administration which made it easier for the steering committee to make a more informed decision.

    The School aims to develop the leadership potential of outstanding administrators by making them fully aware of the concepts and practices of strategic management in a European context and of the importance of effective implementation involving integration of academic and financial issues, with human resource strategy, ICT and space management. This follows from HUMANE‟s focus on the practical implementation of strategy and policy and the sharing of good practice.

    With prominent experts in the field of higher education management from across Europe, participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with management approaches and leadership styles from different cultural contexts. Selected themes reflected current priorities in higher education management. European policies in higher education and research, which have a strong impact on the management of European universities, featured highly in the School, which was greatly appreciated by participants.

    Practical case study project work prepared on an imaginary university in great financial difficulty enabled participants to put into practice what had been learnt in plenary sessions. The case study was prepared by Trevor Field, the previous HUMANE Network Manager. In the evaluation forms, the case study work was often rated as the most interesting aspect of the School. At the end of the School, the projects outlining possible scenarios to solve the problems of this university were presented to a Jury chaired by Mr. Klaus Von Trotha, former Minister of Science and Culture, Land of Baden-Württemberg (Germany). Other members of the Jury were Ruud Bleijerveld, HUMANE Chairman and ESMU Board Member, and members of the Winter School Steering Committee (Christine Challis, Winter School Chairman and ESMU Board Member, Rafaël Zorrilla and Dietmar Ertmann).

    Participants developed close contacts with one another in Barcelona which will been followed up both informally and formally, in the framework of an alumni network which the first 2003 Winter School alumni group is currently setting up, and which will be opened to alumni of all future Winter School editions.

    The School steering committee has already started the preparations for the third edition of the School; A pre-announcement has been sent to all HUMANE members via the HUMANE discussion list.

Nadine Burquel

    ESMU-HUMANE Winter School Manager

    HUMANE 6

7. HUMANE Seminars on Governance

    During the last six years HUMANE organized many seminars on “Governance”. You will find an overview on the website at www.humane.eu.org/4_sem_next_gov.htm. We are still having difficulties in defining

    governance separate from internal structures, quality, accounting, strategic management, management of change and so on. We had better speak of a pilot at the moment, on which we will improve the coming months.

    The seminar held in Pavia this year will focus on the position of the Head of Administration. In the dissemination of results of seminars held in the past, we selected contributions of:

    ? Willem Kardux, Secretray-General, University of Utrecht (NL); seminar Barcelona 1999

    ? Francesco Savonitto (Università degli Studi di Udine); seminar Reykjavik 2000

    ? John Lauwerys, University of Southampton; seminar Lyon 2001

    THE DEVELOPMENT OF MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION AT UTRECHT

    Willem Kardux, Secretray-General, University of Utrecht (NL).; seminar Barcelona 1999

    This presentation illustrates the experience of Utrecht University in improving the management of the university in two rounds of management renewal. These stages concerned both the academic and the administrative parts of the university, because central in our view is the concept of integral management. The special problems of university management have its roots in the past. Since Von Humboldt an ongoing policy program applies: Less bureaucracy, more cohesion and a better ?antenna system? to pick up signals from society. For this purpose two opposite movements are needed - firstly, decentralization of the administration, but at the same time, strengthening of decision power in academic affairs at faculty and university level. Major themes in our first project were: decentralization, management by objectives and integral management. Decentralization implied that the faculties became the central points in the administrative organization. The faculty directors were given control over finance, personnel and housing facilities.. Management power in academic affairs has been strengthened by introducing development plans at faculty and university level, and a planning & control cycle.

    A special part of the decentralization process concerned the support services. The main point was the change from input- to output-funding. The corresponding part of the central budget was decentralized to the actual customers. They became free to order the same facilities outside the university. Our support services could acquire orders from external customers, and were thus transformed into semi-independent businesses. This turned out to have obvious advantages, but some shortcomings too, and some further steps are needed. One possibility is the outsourcing of those activities that do not belong to the core competence of the university. We are trying to assess whether the service will be competitive in the long term. The computer centre is not, in our opinion. Therefore it has recently been sold to a private company.

    In our second round of management renewal we were helped by two small but crucial changes in the law. The first one was that the faculty deans no longer are chosen by the Faculty Council but are appointed by the University Board. This made integral management at faculty level fully possible. The second one is that the department is no longer the compulsory operational unit for both teaching and research. So it is possible to replace the old formal structure of the university by program institutions. Decentralization of administrative power to these institutions brings integral management to the “shop-floor”.

    To avoid the problem of management across three levels it is essential to align the strategy of the University Board and the strategies of the deans. To achieve this we introduced the concept of the University Strategic Program. The program consists of a set of strategic aims and objectives and of corresponding activities, which replace the former development plans. Special attention has been paid to the idea of program management, with great importance attached to the personal strategic work program of the dean. Summarizing the changes in more abstract terms, one might say that in the second round of management renewal the three S?s of strategy (development plan), structure (faculties) and system (planning & control cycle) of the first round are replaced by the more dynamic three P?s of purpose, people and process.

Summary and Discussion

    Wim‟s review of the concept of integral management was illustrated with slides, and the full text was given to participants. He noted the shift of control from Department to Faculty, and the problems which this had caused (as well as the overall success). He acknowledged that in some areas there had been a shift, or even an increase, in bureaucracy, but illustrated the overall advantages. Several participants asked about the issue of financial risk, which Wim explained remained at University level. His remarks on the outsourcing of various support services led to discussions of what should properly be defined as a core business [for further discussion, see also the Helsinki seminar of June 1999], and was linked to discussions of whether it was possible or desirable to ask agencies to “head-hunt” professional Deans from outside the institution.

    HUMANE 7

    THE ROLE OF THE HEAD OF ADMINISTRATION IN A CHANGING UNIVERSITY

    Francesco Savonitto (Università degli Studi di Udine); seminar Reykjavik 2000

    The presentation describes the position of the Direttore Amministrativo after the reform of the higher education system which took place in the previous decade. Although most of the universities‟ finances came from the State, there was much less dependence on the State. Rather, each University now had its own strategies, goals and resources, with policies carried out by its own management. The

    DirettoreAmministrativo was deeply involved in all the previously described changes. But he worked in a scenario where many people influence the decision-making processes and may say “no” at many levels.

    The role of the Direttore has clearly become much more active. Previously he would have been a civil servant with expert knowledge in Law. Recruitment practice thus had to be different from the previous competitive examination, and it was typical to have a three or five-year contract, renewable according to performance. Strategic planning meanwhile remained in the hands of the Rector, who could decide to put in post a new Direttore this was a crucial relationship. The Direttore was in charge of all the services which

    were not teaching and research. His changing role depended on:

    ? the need for communication (using discussion lists or addressing students)

    ? entrepreneurial activity (less State money and tuition fees representing about 10% of income)

    ? organization and motivational ability.

The problems were complicated by the fact that accommodation services as in France were controlled by

    a regional organization, while university teaching hospitals were outside the university system. In previous years academics were not allowed to be involved in business, but now such activity was required, and universities like Udine had created a number of companies.

    Different universities have different methods for recruiting heads of administration and the version which

    includes a committee with academic members is particularly difficult. From this point the discussion led to what was called the innate anti-managerialism of the university community, and discussion of how entrepreneurial behaviour could be encouraged. It was agreed that although the university is not a business, managers must be business-like. It was also observed that the current move towards firm managerial attitudes was in many ways a reaction against previous mis-use of the concepts of collegiality and academic freedom.

    The point was also made that in the UK the link between head of administration and academic head was less direct, since the governing body usually had a majority of members from outside the university, and the role of the Secretary was to report to that governing body. Thus there was a triangular relationship between the Chairman of the Board, the Vice-Chancellor (=Rector) and the Secretary (head of administration). It was admitted that this link was more problematic if the Secretary was on a fixed-term contract. It was also recognized that the UK was different from others in this.

THE ROLE OF THE HEAD OF ADMINISTRATION IN PRESERVING INSTITUTIONAL INTEGRITY AND

    ADHERENCE TO THE STANDARDS OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY

    John Lauwerys, University of Southampton; seminar Lyon 2001

    The Head of Administration in a University has a particular responsibility for ensuring that his/her University acts in accordance with the national and international law as it affects the University, along with the University's own governing rules or internal laws. In general this role is carried out as part of the normal professional role of the Head of Administration and rarely causes internal conflict or significant difficulties.

    On relatively rare occasions some senior members of the University, including even the Rector (President) may propose to act in ways which conflict with the University's own established procedures and contrary to proper standards of public conduct. In recent years in the UK there had been a number of such instances which led to public criticism when the facts became known, and even to investigation by the National Audit Office (an office which is responsible to Parliament for the proper expenditure of public funds). This led to full reports being published and measures being subsequently taken to reduce the likelihood of repetition of these problems.

    Four major case studies were done to examine the position of the Head of Administration when such serious events occur. His comments on these UK universities were all taken from the publicly available reports published by the National Audit Office. The activities which had been criticized included excessive overseas visits (with family members), abuse of privileges such as official transport, nepotism, and a lack of full reporting to the governing body. On this basis some general principles were suggested which one might establish to protect institutional integrity and proper standards of public accountability. Crucially, he suggested that the Head of Administration has an absolutely central role in providing such safeguards - this raised an immediate contrast with the situation in France since most of the case studies from Britain showed how the Vice-Chancellor himself had been under investigation for abuse of his position. In all cases, there had been a situation where the governing body of the university did not know what was going on.

    HUMANE 8

Four main conclusions regarding common factors from the case studies:

    ? The Vice-Chancellor or Principal in each case had lacked proper ethical standards and judgment

    ? The Vice-Chancellor had been too close to the Chair of the governing body

    ? There had been a lack of openness or proper reporting procedures

    ? None of the HEIs had had a sufficiently senior member of staff to deal with the issues.

    The British Committee of Standards in Public Life, first set up under the chairmanship of Lord Nolan, had elaborated a set of seven principles of conduct for public servants, known now as the Nolan Principles:

    ? Selflessness

    ? Integrity

    ? Objectivity

    ? Accountability

    ? Openness

    ? Honesty

    ? Leadership

    Requirements were that the head of administration should hold a senior position immediately below that of the Rector, and with a direct line of responsibility to the governing body. He or she should have a permanent contract with a high level of job security, and should of course possess high standards of professional competence and personal integrity..

    In discussion, there was some surprise among participants that systems of audit had not worked. It was observed that (for example) in the Netherlands consultants had audit functions both for finance and for general management. John Lauwerys noted that in the UK there were systems both for internal and external audit, but that generally such measures involved either overviews or samples. The key issue was that of whistle-blowing. John also assured participants that there were procedures in place in most universities, but that a determined or powerful individual might still find ways to by-pass such rules. Participants recognized that control by the head of administration was both necessary and difficult. John also stressed that the four prominent cases which he had mentioned involved only two universities out of more than 100, with the other two institutions being sub-university units of higher education.

    The view was also expressed that while the presentation had focused on behavior at the top of the organization there was a need for all staff to be operating under the same principles.

8. HUMANE seminars on student issues, 2000-2004

    Starting in 2000, HUMANE organized a yearly seminar on „Student Issues‟. Specific topics within this theme were:

    ? Student services (Rennes 2000)

    ? ICT services (Utrecht 2001)

    ? Quality of education (Bologna 2002)

    ? Students and internationalization (Lund 2003)

    Although there is one central theme per seminar, topics from former seminars on student issues are usually also being readdressed in order to accumulate in-depth knowledge (see also the seminar overview at the HUMANE web-site: www.humane.eu.org/4_sem_next_stud_is.htm).

    The next seminar on student issues will take place in Gran Canaria, from the 19th to the 20th of November 2004. The theme will be: “Tuition fees and the university”, and deals with the relation between the level of tuition fees and the organization of academic education. „What is the effect of charging fees for access to the

    university?‟ In many countries the matter of charging fees is being discussed. This could lead to students having to take loans to finance their studies or having to find a job next to their studies. This could have a negative effect on the amount of hours students spend on their studies. The question is raised whether universities should feel themselves responsible for offering students possibilities to earn money while

    taking into account the demands of the study program. This in order to prevent students from giving up their studies.

    The above mentioned questions have already been addressed in the past, that is to say in the presentation of D. Owens, at the seminar in Rennes in 2001 (chapter 1 of his presentation). He describes the increasing financial problems of students and the way universities can offer support with the help of student services. He gives examples of Cardiff University, which has got a large Students Services Division. He argued that the access to the university can be stimulated with the help of ICT services. During the Gran Canaria seminar the above mentioned topics will be discussed tuition fees, student services and e-learning and

    they will be explored in detail.

     HUMANE 9

    The Gran Canaria seminar will also refer to topics addressed by A. Alonso-Sanchez in his presentation in Bologna in 2002 (chapter 1 and 2 of his presentation). Alonso-Sanchez discusses experiences at the University of Salamanca with the Total Quality Management system, which can be used to measure the quality of student services. In this presentation three sub themes come together: Quality, ICT systems, Student services and the question of how the university can offer the best support to students, with regard to their specific needs. The Gran Canaria seminar will partly focus on these topics.

    THE ROLE OF STUDENT SERVICES IN A RESEARCH-LED ENVIRONMENT

    D. Owens, Cardiff University (UK)

The undergraduate student experience

    The research-led orientation of the University should not, and does not detract from the centrality of students to the university. They remain its raison d‟être, and crucially, its source of funding. Cardiff University appears to be a popular choice with students, and there are few problems in attracting sufficient numbers of high quality. However, the stu-dent experience is changing in the UK in a number of respects, and given likely trends, will change more in the foreseeable future. These changes will pose particular challenges for Universities and student services.

Finance

    The greatest change in the student experience in recent years, and currently one of its most noticeable features, is the emergence of student debt, and the contribution students (or their parents) must now make to their undergraduate careers. In recent years, grants for students (which did not require repayment) have ceased, to be replaced by student loans (themselves dependent on among other things, parental income). In addition, home students may be charged a portion of their tuition fees. As a result, students are increasingly likely to build up debt during their undergraduate careers so that, when they graduate they can owe as much as ?10000. These financial demands, and the extra burdens imposed can lead also to emotional difficulties. To offset these expenses, students increasingly take on part-time jobs (though in Cardiff University the maximum recommended allowance in 15 hours per week during the semester), while the government has also pro-vided sources of funding to offset hardship such as the ACCESS hardship funds and Hardship loans. Clearly the distribution of such funds falls into the remit of student ser-vices, though of necessity, this must be undertaken in conjunction with other administrative divisions in the University. The overall effect on the student experience is therefore the acceptance of the inevitability of debt, some initial exploration of means of reducing financial outlay (such as students staying nearer home for their studies), reliance on part-time work and perhaps in the longer term, a move to taking longer to complete a degree.

Widening Participation and Life-Long Learning

    A key feature of recent government initiatives to broaden the base of student back-grounds, and make higher education available more widely have been associated with „widening participation‟ and „improving access‟.

    The thrust has been to encourage those from backgrounds which are under-represented in higher education, such as those from the lower social classes or less privileged circumstances including, for example, lone parent families, to embark on academic courses in higher education. Statistics provide national comparisons between institutions of higher education, with, for example, Wales have a higher than average proportion of students for the lower social classes than Eng-land, though institutional variability is considerable. A recent system of bursaries for students who are over 25 has been established to help provide the financial wherewithal to attend University, but it is far too early to say if these will have any significant impact on patterns of admission to University and in any case, these are likely to benefit only a small minority of students. Clearly widening participation and increasing access will contribute to a more heterogeneous student body. But it may also give rise to a greater number of difficulties experienced by the student body, many of which, but by no means all, will be financial. Consequently, the implications for students and for higher education of changes to finance will be the greater, with consequent pressures on institutions of higher education to ensure the efficient and compassionate delivery of services in this area.

A further agenda of „life-long learning‟ is associated in at least two different ways to the above. As well as the

    widening participation and increasing access agendas, there is also a thrust to provide opportunities for study throughout the life cycle, and move away from the perception that, for example, university is a once and for all experience for those in their late teens and early twenties. Provision of these opportunities is intended to make higher education more accessible for those outside that age group and who will find it easier to undertake shorter periods of study than required for a full degree. Such shorter periods of study should also be easier to reconcile with limited finances, though it will mean that institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom will need to consider part-time degrees in more detail and the establishment of institutional structures to cater for different types of arrangements. To that end in Cardiff University, the erstwhile Department of Continuing Education has been re-titled LEARN, a new post of Director (now occupied by a senior academic has been set up), and its activities are central to the strategic plan of the administration. Obviously the link between LEARN and student services is crucial, since so many of the students that

    HUMANE 10

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