Globalization Broadens Higher Education

By Breslauer, Tamar | International Educator, July 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Globalization Broadens Higher Education


Breslauer, Tamar, International Educator


An interview with Ellen Hazelkorn

ELLEN HAZELKORN HOLDS A JOINT APPOINTMENT as policy adviser to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and director of the Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU) at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. She is also president of EAIR (European Higher Education Society) and chairperson of the EU Expert Group on Science Education (2014), and on the Management Board of the ESRC/HEFCE Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), at the Institute of Education, UCL.

Hazelkorn has worked as higher education policy consultant and specialist with international organizations and governments for over 15 years, and regularly undertakes strategic and research evaluations and peer review assessments for European and national research/scientific councils and universities. She has more than 20 years senior experience in higher education, holding positions as vice president of research and enterprise, and dean of the Graduate Research School (2008-2014), and vice president and founding dean of the Faculty of Applied Arts, Dublin Institute of Technology (1995-2008).

She has authored/co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed articles, policy briefs, books and book chapters e.g., on higher education policy in addition to Irish politics and society; digital technologies, gender, work practices and the cultural industries; relations between the media and the state. She has written several books, including Developing Research in New Institutions and Rankings and The Reshaping of Higher Education: The Battle for World-Class Excellence. She edited Global Rankings and the Geo-Politics of Higher Education, and co-authored The Civic University: Meeting the Leadership and Management Challenges and The Impact and Future of Arts and Humanities Research; she also has numerous forthcoming publications.

IE: You look at higher education through multiple lenses-from the perspective of a policy adviser to the Irish Higher Education Authority, a former university leader, and a researcher. What do you see as the major effects of globalization on higher education?

HAZELTON: No matter which lens I look through and where I look, there is little doubt that globalization has broadened the educational mission, has simultaneously diversified and stratified the landscape, and transformed individual universities and colleges. Policymakers, and institutions, ignore this dimension at their peril.

Traditionally seen as a local or national institution, higher education today has global reach and significance; its success is intricately tied to its nation-state and vice versa. At its simplest, higher education requires public investment to succeed, usually measured in terms of GDP but evidenced also through genuine political and societal commitment. In return, as a producer of graduates and new knowledge, higher education acts as a major contributor to/for social and economic development and prosperity as well as being a magnet for mobile capital and talent. The latter is increasingly important as countries seek to strengthen their knowledge-intensive economies at a time of demographic decline.

At the same time, the demand for higher education is escalating. There are currently 196 million higher education students worldwide, likely to rise to nearly 430 million by 2030. Developed economies are rapidly moving beyond traditional definitions of "mass" and "universal" systems-whereby 50 percent of the population were enrolled-to a situation where, in my view, nearly 70 percent will be enrolled in postsecondary education.

Yet, this growth is ambiguous. In 2005 young people were 13.7 percent of the population in developed countries, but their share is expected to fall to 10.5 percent by 2050. This presents another set of challenges.

For Ireland, a small open economy now emerging from a disastrous economic policy that plunged the country into one of the world's worst recessions, its ability to navigate the choppy waters of global competition necessitates higher education engaging purposively with business and meeting societal demands. …

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