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Assessing the Contributions of Higher Education

Knowledge for a Disordered World

9781035307166 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Simon Marginson, Professor of Higher Education, Department of Education, University of Oxford, UK, Brendan Cantwell, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Administration, Michigan State University, US, Daria Platonova, Researcher and Anna Smolentseva, Senior Researcher, Institute of Education, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation
Publication Date: February 2023 ISBN: 978 1 03530 716 6 Extent: c 336 pp
Despite the broad engagement of higher education institutions in most social sectors, limited thinking and hyper-individualistic approaches have dominated discussions of their value to society. Advocating a more rigorous and comprehensive approach, this insightful book discusses the broad range of contributions made by higher education and the many issues entailed in theorising, observing, measuring and evaluating those contributions.

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Despite the broad engagement of higher education institutions in most social sectors, limited thinking and hyper-individualistic approaches have dominated discussions of their value to society. Advocating a more rigorous and comprehensive approach, this insightful book discusses the broad range of contributions made by higher education and the many issues entailed in theorising, observing, measuring and evaluating those contributions.

Prepared by a group of leading international scholars, the chapters investigate the multiple interconnections between higher education and society and the vast range of social, economic, political and cultural functions carried out by universities, colleges and institutes and their personnel. The benefits of higher education include employable graduates, new knowledge via research and scholarship, climate science and global connections, and the structuring of economic and social opportunities for whole populations, as well as work and advice for government at all levels. Higher education not only lifts earnings and augments careers, it also immerses students in knowledge, helps to shape them as people, and fosters productivity, democracy, tolerance and international understanding. The book highlights the value added by higher education for persons, organisations, communities, cities, nations, and the world. It also focuses on inequalities in the distribution of that value, and finds that the tools for assessing higher education are neither adequate nor complete as yet.

International and interdisciplinary in scope, this book will prove an invaluable resource to students and scholars of higher education, educational policy and social policy. It will also prove a useful resource to both university executives and tertiary education policymakers who want to make higher education more effectively accountable to the public.
Critical Acclaim
‘The debate about the contributions of higher education for individuals and societies has been dominated by those aspects associated with the labour market's participation of more qualified individuals and the expansion of wealth and income derived from the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Despite their importance, the excessive attention to those benefits has induced a tropism that has narrowed academic and policy debates about the multiple and complex roles that higher education institutions can play in the betterment of their communities. The authors of this volume should be commended for their important effort to develop a broader and more fruitful dialogue among social scientists and policy-makers about those contributions. Their achievement is also a reminder of the need for more interdisciplinary approaches to understand complex social phenomena.’
– Pedro Nuno Teixeira, University of Porto, Portugal and former Director of CIPES – Center for Research in Higher Education Policies

‘If the legitimacy of higher education is to be maintained in the face of increasingly hostile questioning, it is essential that its contributions to societies are opened up to critical scrutiny so that they can be enhanced and more widely recognised. This engaging and insightful book does a great service to the field by beginning this important work.’
– Paul Ashwin, Lancaster University, UK

‘This book takes readers on a world tour to make a compelling case that higher education has made a significant difference and for some countries, the contributions have been underestimated. The set of authors who are situated across different national contexts present fresh data and analyses to recognize and conceptualize both local and global contributions of higher education. At the same time, the authors are aware that the full potential of higher education has not yet been fully realized and make clear the challenges moving forward for both policymakers and scholars of higher education. Readers will appreciate the deep analyses and insightful observations offered here on a global scale not just for celebrating the contributions of higher education to justify future investment but also for offering different paths forward to account for and address global challenges to maximize the return on that investment.’
– Mitchell J. Chang, University of California, Los Angeles, US
Contributors
Contributors include: Brendan Cantwell, Aleksei Egorov, Isak Froumin, John P. Haupt, Glen A. Jones, Jenny J. Lee, Rita Locatelli, Sergey Malinovskiy, Simon Marginson, Terhi Nokkala, Daria Platonova, James Robson, Ksenia Romanenko, Anna Smolentseva, Jussi Valimaa, Marijk van der Wende, Johanna Witte, Lili Yang

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