Innovation in Higher Education: has it a Scientific Basis?
I want to reflect with you on the simple question: does innovation in the university have a scientific basis or, when we make changes, are we simply operating on whim, hunch or prejudice? // I shall begin by talking about research on universities - as opposed to research in universities - to make the point that in relation to its size the higher education industry conducts remarkably little research on itself. Clearly this is a handicap if you want to take a scientific approach to university management. // After that I shall look at some of the drivers of change in universities, the global trends that will affect university systems in the first part of this century. Even if these trends do not affect your university directly they will certainly change it indirectly as the academic environment around you changes. I shall ask what scientific basis you have for reacting to those trends. // The trends I have selected are the growth of private, for-profit higher education; the expansion of distance education; and the development of cross-border education. The latter will lead me to talk about a relatively new phenomenon which offers tremendous opportunities for you to leapfrog developments in teaching and learning, namely the multiplication of open educational resources.