International Research Conference: World Class Universities

  • Date:
  • Location: Humanistiska teatern
  • Website
  • Organiser: Den högre utbildningen som forskningsobjekt (HERO)
  • Contact person: Judit Novak
  • Konferens

The conference focuses on the alleged characteristics and policy expressions of the discourse of the “World Class University” (WCU).

The conference focuses on the alleged characteristics and policy expressions of the discourse of the World Class University (WCU). The purpose is to provide a venue for the diffusion of research on WCUs and global rankings of higher education produced at the interface of a variety of approaches from several disciplines. The conference will provide not only a broad overview of the historical background and recent developments of the discourse of WCU; it also aims to broaden and deepen the theoretical discussion, and ultimately to point a way forward out of present impasses resulting from the pervasive use and abuse of both the notion of “world-class” and related terms in the discourse of quality assessment (rankings, league tables, excellence initiatives, etc.). The goal is to stimulate, integrate and consolidate HE-research at the highest level and contribute to theoretical, methodological development while also providing important empirical data that can be useful for educational policy and practice broadly. 





09:30-10:00 Registration

10:00-10:15 SHARON RIDER, Uppsala University: Welcome and introduction, MIKAEL BÖRJESSON, Uppsala University: Presentation of HERO

10:15-11:00 GUY NEAVE, CIPES: The University World Ranked: A Sell, a Claim, a Classification or a Policy?

11:00-11:45 PAUL GIBBS, Middlesex University London: The Marketization of Higher Education

11:45-13:00 Lunch Break

13:00-13:45 CRIS SHORE, University of Auckland, and SUSAN WRIGHT, Aarhus University: The Measure of Academic Excellence—Audit Culture, World Class Universities and the Reputational Arms Race

13:45-14:30 JACK LEE and RAJANI NAIDOO, University of Bath: Complicit Reproductions—Global Rankings and their Impact on Higher Education in the Global South

14:30-14:45 Coffee Break

14:45 -15:30 SONIA GIEBEL, Stanford University: The Paradox of the Global University

15:30-16:15 TERO ERKKILÄ, University of Helsinki: What counts as world class?

16:15-17:00 Panel discussion. MIKAEL BÖRJESSON, THOMAS KARLSOHN, JUDIT NOVAK, and LINDA WEDLIN, Uppsala University: The Use and Abuse of Rankings for Higher Education: Historical and Contemporary Reflections. Moderator: SHARON RIDER.



09:15-10:00 JON NIXON, The Education University of Hong Kong: ‘Orderly’ Identities—University Rankings and the Re-Ordering of the Academic Mind

10:00-10:45 MICHAEL PETERS and TINA BESLEY, Beijing Normal University: The Neoliberal Discourse of the World Class University—Digital Socialism, Openness and Academic Publishing

10:45-11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-12:00 TIEN-HUI CHIANG, Zhengzhou University: The State Role in University Excellence Policies in the Era of Globalization —The Case of China

12:00-13:00 Lunch Break

13:00-13:45 Panel discussion on Conceptualizing the World Class University with SONJA ARNDT and CARL MIKA, Waikato University and RIKKE TOFT NØRGÅRD, Aarhus University. Moderator: MICHAEL PETERS

13:45-14:30 RONALD BARNETT, University College London Institute of Education: Realizing the World-Class University—An Ecological Approach

14:30-14:45 Closing Remarks, SHARON RIDER.


Register for the conference here, no later than May 8.


The conference is financed by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Department of Education. It will be hosted by Higher Education as Research Object (HERO), a multidisciplinary research network at Uppsala University.