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Mon, Feb 22



Improving future university performance: strategies, performance measurement and quality enhancement

In this Online Summit, speakers from institutional and higher education research organisations and Government bodies from China, Germany and Norway will share their project results and insights on various aspects of how to improve future university performance.

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Improving future university performance: strategies, performance measurement and quality enhancement
Improving future university performance: strategies, performance measurement and quality enhancement

Time & Location

Feb 22, 2021, 9:00 AM – 12:35 PM GMT+1


About the event


  • 09:00-09:10  Welcome
  • 09:10-09:40  Driving innovation and building quality: Disseminating results and outcomes from development projects in higher education. Margrete Søvik (Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education, Norway)
  • 09:40-09:50  Discussion (Q&A)
  • 10:00-10:30  The impact of ranking on university’s strategic planning – A textual analysis of the “13th Five-year Plan” of seven universities in China. Jing Ren, Junchao Zhang (Institutional Research Center of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China)
  • 10:30-10:40  Discussion (Q&A)
  • 11:00-11:30  Evidence-based sustainable strategy development - The challenges of measuring staff and student diversity globally – U-Multirank. Kathrin Mueller, Deborah Werner (CHE Centre for Higher Education, Germany)
  • 11:30-11:40  Discussion (Q&A)
  • 11:50-12:20  A comprehensive set of performance indicators for higher education sustainable development in learning and teaching. Theodor Leiber (Evaluation Agency Baden-Wuerttemberg & University of Augsburg, Germany)
  • 12:20-12:30  Discussion (Q&A)
  • 12:30-12:35 Closing

About the Event

Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku): Diku manages new schemes for quality enhancement established in Norwegian higher education, in addition to many well-established national and international schemes, such as Erasmus+. Guiding projects in their dissemination plans and activities is a crucial task for Diku that constantly seeks to build a better understanding of favourable conditions for and effective methods of dissemination. The purpose of this presentation is to invite an international audience to reflect on how dissemination of project results and outcomes may inspire innovation and raise quality in higher education, beyond the funded projects. Our hope is to bring forward examples of best practice, tools and methods of dissemination. Among the questions we want to explore are: What is experienced as the main challenges for dissemination of project results among project participants? How does the design of a project and a project group influence the prospects of dissemination of results? What is required if dissemination is to become a true change-making endeavour? Is it possible to point out some major elements of a successful dissemination strategy?

Institutional Research Center of Huazhong University of Science and Technology: Based on a textual analysis of the 13th Five-year Plan (2015-2020) of seven universities of different types in China, this paper observes that university rankings have a marked impact on universities in terms of strategy basis, strategic objectives, and strategic measures. Additionally, university rankings can promote as well as mislead the strategic planning of universities. On the one hand, they can stimulate universities’ internal vigour, aggravate the competition within the higher education ecosystem, motivate universities to strengthen their awareness of data, and realize self-evolution and development. On the other hand, universities are forced to overemphasize the improvement of some critical indexes but ignoring comprehensiveness and integrity of strategic planning, which is not beneficial for sustainable development of universities. Ecological strategic thinking is important for the universities to make the rankings serve overall planning and development of universities. It can be recommended that universities should establish ecological strategic thinking, take a rational view of university rankings and adhere to educational laws. Meanwhile, they also need to apply university rankings data to make it serve the universities’ strategic planning and overall improvement, thereby promoting the sustainable development of the universities.

CHE Centre for Higher Education: This presentation is three-partite: first, it introduces the international university ranking ‘U-Multirank’ in terms of its methodology and shows in how far it differs from other prominent global university rankings in measuring excellence. Second, it discusses the question of how the concepts of ‘diversity’ and ‘gender balance’ can be measured in order to form a basis for sustainable strategy development. Third, it presents the first findings of its gender balance indicator which is already in place and is unique in addressing this matter at department rather than solely at institutional level. The presentation provides new evidence on gender balances in higher education in three key regards: first, it casts a wider geographical net and does not exclusively focus on one country or area. The evidence confirms there being imbalances in terms of subjects studied and academic positions held by women and men corresponding to unused intellectual capital. In terms of policy recommendations, the findings therefore – still – relate to advice given by UNESCO and still require implementation by policy makers and higher education management and leadership. The goal should be the balance of men and women within academia, no matter what the study subject may be. Balance within higher education should go beyond gender issues. Even more, academia should include all parts of society instead of furthering the already advantaged. It should consider how the given context impacts upon the understanding of which groups are considered advantaged. Therefore, rankings should collect data on the participation of underrepresented groups in academia. By depicting the current situation, they form the basis for evidence-based strategy development.

Evaluation Agency Baden-Wuerttemberg: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), particularly Higher Education for Sustainable Development (HESD) are core tasks for any society. Against this backdrop, the presentation analyses the UNESCO ESD Learning Objectives (2017) that respond to the 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in 2015. On the basis of these learning goals and the German guideline “Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education Teaching” (2018), a related set of qualitative narrative performance indicators (PIs) is explored that are a core ingredient for systematic quality development – monitoring and evaluation – of HESD that still is a desideratum in many HEIs. The HESD-related PI set is integrated into the broader context of a comprehensive PI set for higher education learning and teaching (L&T). As a byproduct of the analysis, a systematic complementary revision of the German Sustainability Code for Higher Education Institutions (2018) is suggested.


Theodor Leiber, Theodor is Scientific Advisor and higher education researcher with Evaluation Agency Baden-Wuerttemberg (evalag), Mannheim (Germany) and Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Augsburg (Germany). He received a Diploma in theoretical physics, PhD degrees in Theoretical Physics and Philosophy and a habilitation in Philosophy. His research focuses on evaluation, impact studies, performance measurement and governance, quality management and organisational development in higher education and on philosophy of science and ethics. His publications relate to physics, epistemology, philosophy of science, ethics and higher education research.

Kathrin Mueller, Kathrin is the responsible project manager for U-Multirank’s student survey. Besides the student-survey-related communication with participating universities, she co-ordinates the data collection on student satisfaction and is in charge of the calculation of the student survey indicators. Kathrin holds a B.Sc. in Psychology (University of Regensburg, Germany) and an M.Sc. in Intercultural Psychology (Osnabrück University, Germany). Before joining the Centre for Higher Education (CHE) in 2019, she worked as a research associate at Leibniz University Hannover, Germany.

Jing Ren, Jing is a research associate at the Institutional Research Center of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China). She has participated in many projects such as "The Mid-term Evaluation of Wuhan Institute of Technology’s 13th Five-Year Strategic Plan". She has a deep interest in university rankings and university strategic plans. She got the bachelor’s degree in education at Hebei Normal University (China), and now she is pursuing the master’s degree in education at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Margrete Søvik, Margrete is affiliated to the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku), where she works as senior adviser in the Department of Development and Analysis. She has been engaged with a wide range of topics in the field of higher education and is currently working with a project on dissemination of results in educational development projects. Margrete has a PhD degree in contemporary European history, from the University of Bergen.

Deborah Werner, Deborah joined CHE – Centre for Higher Education as a project manager at the international university ranking “U-Multirank” in 2017. She leads the collection and analysis of data in the institutional survey and is responsible for corresponding with data co-ordinators of the participating institutions. Deborah gained a BA degree in Law, Politics and Economics at Erfurt University (Germany), an MA degree in European Studies at Maastricht University (Netherlands) before she took her PhD degree at the University of Leicester (UK).

Junchao Zhang, Junchao worked in the Institutional Research Center of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China) for 15 years and served as the Secretary General of China’s Association for Institutional Research. She has led many research projects on universities’ strategic plans and college students’ outcomes assessment. Junchao received a BA degree in education and literature at Hubei University (China), and then she gained a MA degree in Communication and a PhD degree in Higher Education at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China). In addition, she has been a visiting scholar of University of Maryland (U.S.A) and University of Cambridge (UK).


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