International Conference on Higher Education Reform (HER)

International Conferences on Higher Education Reform (HER)

Over the last eighteen years, a number of education policy researchers from various countries have organized each year a series of international conferences. Six of these have taken place in North America (Canada [3], the US [2] and Mexico [2]), four in Europe (Austria, Ireland, Germany, and Slovenia), and four in Asia (Japan [2] and China [2]).

Themes: Conferences themes have covered various topics, ranging from internationalization and marketization to issues of institutional governance (see table below). The major papers from the conferences have been published, either in the form of monographs, special issues of academic journals, or as individual articles or chapters. 

Participation: With one exception (Shanghai 2009) which had over 200 participants, the number is usually between 75 and 100. Participants include mostly post-secondary education researchers, both professors and graduate students, and in some cases policy analysts and representatives of HE ministries or policy bodies.

Financing: The conferences are self-financing, i.e. financed mainly through participants’ fees, but also from external contributions in the form of grants from research councils, governments, or hosting institutions. Because conferences are held on campus, the fees are usually fairly low. There are different fees for various categories of participants, such as for grad students, emeriti or early registrants.

Other support: All of the HER conferences have been co-sponsored by learned societies in various countries (for example the [North American] Comparative and International Education Society [CIES] and the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education [CSSHE]).

Organization: The conferences are organized by local teams at the hosting institution. They are assisted by 3 coordinators and members of the International Advisory Board (IAB).

International Advisory Board Members and Coordinators

Abebaw Yirga AdamuEthiopian Institute for Higher Education, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Germán Alvarez Mendiola
Department of Education Research, Centre for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) Mexico City, Mexico
Isak FrouminHigher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
Jacobs University Bremen
Gaële Goastellec Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Futao HuangResearch Institute in Higher Education, Hiroshima University, Japan
Mei LiEast China Normal University, Shanghai, China
Michal OsborneUniversity of Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Hans G. Schuetze
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Maria Slowey
Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
Hilligje Van’t LandInternational Association of Universities (IAU), Paris, France
Andrä WolterHumboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Shinichi YamamotoOberlin University, Tokyo, Japan
Pavel ZgagaLjubljana University, Slovenia
Ran ZhangPeking University, Beijing, China

HER Conferences

YearPlaceMain theme(s)Publication of proceedings
2003Vancouver (UBC) Canada(Paired comparison of) Reforms of Higher Education in Six Countries, various themesSpecial Issue of Canadian Journal of Higher Education. vol 34 Nr. 3
2005Vienna (U Klagenfurt) Austriavarious themes incl. institutional diversity and system coordination, the changing state – HE, collabo-ration with the private sector,[Major papers on conferences web site (no longer available)]
2006Tokyo (U Tsukuba) JapanHigher Education reforms in Japan and various other countriesSpecial Issue of Journal for University Studies Nr 35 (2007)
2007Dublin (Dublin City University) IrelandInnovations in Teaching and LearningSpecial Issue of Journal of Adult and Continuing Education (JACE) vol 2 Nr. 9
2008Shanghai (East China Normal U) ChinaInternationalization of HESpecial Issue of Journal of Higher Education (Oct, 2008)
2009Mexico City (CINESTAV – DIE) MexicoThe Changing Roles of State and Markets in HESchuetze, H. G., & Alvarez Mendiola, G. (Eds.). (2012). State and market in higher education reforms Trends, policies and experiences in comparative perspective. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
2010Vancouver (UBC) CanadaReform of University GovernanceSchuetze, H. G., Bruneau, W., & G. Grosjean. (Eds.). University governance and reform – Policy, fads, and experience in international perspective. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
2011Berlin (Humboldt U) GermanyUniversities and Lifelong Learning[Publ. together with HER 10 (Ljubljana) publ., 2015, 2nd ed. 2019]
2012Pittsburgh (U Pittsburgh) USACommunity Engagement of UniversitiesJacob,J.W., Sutin, S.E., Weidman, J.C. & J. L. Yeager (eds) (2015). Community Engagement in Higher Education – Policy Reforms and Practice Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
2013Ljubljana (U  Ljubljana) SloveniaHE Reforms: Looking Back – Looking ForwardZgaga, P., Teichler, U., Schuetze, H.G., & A. Wolter (eds.) (2nd ed. 2019) Higher Education Reform: Looking back – Looking forward. Frankfurt/New York: Peter Lang. Publisher's URL:
2014St. John’s, NL,
(Memorial U) Canada
Student Policies and Higher Education ReformsArcher, W. & H.G. Schuetze (eds) (2019). Higher Education and its Principal Mission: Preparing Students for Life, Work, and Civic Engagement Rotterdam and Boston: Sense-Brill.
2015Tianjin (Tianjin Normal U) ChinaPolicies and Practice of Quality Assurance and Control in Higher EducationSelected papers published in Frontiers of Education in China (Springer) 2018, vol. 13 no.2:
2016Dublin (Dublin City University) IrelandWider Access, Changing Demographics and Migration: Implications for HE Reforms and PolicySlowey, M. & Schuetze, H.G. & T. Zubrzycki) (eds), (2020), Inequality, Innovation and Reform in Higher Education – Challenges of Migration and Ageing Populations. Cham (CH): Springer.
2017Hiroshima (Research Institute for Higher Education Hiroshima U) JapanAssessing the missions of Higher Education: Performance, productivity, and pedagogiesHuang, J. & J. Oba (eds) (2019), Higher Education Forum vol.16 (Special Issue). Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University
2018Baltimore (Johns Hopkins U) USAReinventing the public mission of Higher Education: Policies and practicePapadimitriou, A. & Boboc, M. (eds) (2020). Re-envisioning Higher Education’s Public Mission – Global Perspectives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
2019Mexico City ('Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados – DIE)Digitalization of Higher Education: Impact and Consequences for PolicyAlvarez Mendiola, G., de Vries, W. & Schuetze, H.G. (eds.) (forthcoming) Higher Education Reform in the Digital Age Special Issue,  Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education
2023Glasgow (Glasgow U) Scotland, United KingdomHigher Education and its contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals