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Higher Education Research Centre

ICHER International Conferences on Higher Education Reform

Over the last several decades, HERC has been actively involved in a series of International Conferences on Higher Education Reform (ICHER) and hosted this conference in Dublin City University, Ireland in 2016. Eight of the conferences 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 (two each in Japan and China).

Further information about ICHER, previous conferences and publications, and the International Scientific Committee can be found below.


Themes: The conferences 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. Organizers served also as editors, with occasional help from members of the International Advisory Board.

Format: A key aim of the series is to facilitate engagement and intensive dialogue on the topic at hand. For this reason, while attendance is open to all interested parties, the target number of participants is usually relatively small (c75-100). Participants include post-secondary education researchers, both professors and graduate students, policy analysts and representatives of HE ministries or policy bodies. A strength of the conference series is the opporunity it offers for cumulative discussions over the years- there is usually a body of around 25 to 30 people, who have attended most of the workshops.

Financing: The conferences are self-financing, i.e. financed through participants’ fees. On several occasions, local organizers have attracted external contributions in the form of grants from research councils, governments, or the hosting institution. Because conferences are held on campus, the fees are usually fairly low (on average between US $ 120 and 150). There are different fees for various categories of participants, such as for grad students, emeriti or early registrants.

Co-sponsorship: 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]). While this has meant greater dissemination of the call for papers and higher visibility of the HER-conferences and the publications emanating from them, it has not generated direct contributions to the funding.

Organization: The conferences s are organized by local teams of the hosting institution. They are assisted by members of an international advisory board (IAB), for example with advertising the workshop in their respective countries or regions, identifying and providing contact with potential keynote speakers and principal panelists, adjudicating paper proposals, and suggesting themes, and workshop-related events as well as potential publishers for the proceedings,

Dates: The workshops were usually held in the late summer or beginning of the autumn, depending on the availability of staff, rooms, and speakers.

Previous ICHER conferences - Venues, Themes and Publications


(please scroll to the right to see the full table)




Main theme(s)

Publication of proceedings

Sept 2020

Glasgow (Glasgow U)

Sustainable Development Goals: Their potential and relevance for HE education policy and reform

POSTPONED to a later date due to COVID pandemic

Sept 2019

Mexico City (CINESTAV – DIE), conference website here

Digitalization of Higher Education: Impact and Consequences for Policy

De Vries, W., Alvarez Mendiola, G. & H.G. Schuetze (Eds. forthcoming)


Baltimore (Johns Hopkins U) USA, conference website here

Reinventing the public mission of Higher Education: Policies and practice

Papadimitriou, A. & Boboc, M. (Eds. 2020) Re-envisioning Higher Education’s Public Mission - Global Perspectives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-55716-4


Hiroshima (RIHE Hiroshima U), Japan, conference website here

Assessing the missions of Higher Education: Performance, productivity, and pedagogies

Futao Huang, Jun Oba (Eds. 2019), Special Issue, Research in Higher Education (Daigaku Ronshu), Hiroshima: Research Institute for Higher Education, HiroshimaU.


Dublin (DCU) Ireland, conference website here

Wider Access, Changing Demographics and Migration: Implications for HE Reforms and Policy

Slowey, M., Schuetze, H.G. & Zubrzycki, T.) (Eds. 2020): Inequality, Innovation and Reform in Higher Education - Challenges of Migration and Ageing Populations. Cham (CH): Springer. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-28227-1


Tianjin (Tianjin Normal U), China

Policies and Practice of Quality Assurance and Control in Higher Education

Selected papers published in Frontiers of Education in China (Springer) 2018, vol. 13 no.2: https://link.springer.com/journal/11516/13/2


Memorial U, St. John’s, NL (Canada)

Higher Education and its Principal Mission: Preparing Students for Life, Work, and Civic Engagement

Archer, W. & H.G. Schuetze (Eds. 2019): Preparing Students for Life and Work: Policies and Reforms Affecting Higher Education’s Principal Mission. Rotterdam and Boston: Sense-Brill https://brill.com/view/title/54347


Ljubljana (U  Ljubljana), Slovenia, conference website here

HE Reforms: Looking Back – Looking Forward

Zgaga, P., Teichler, U., Schuetze, H.G., & A. Wolter (Eds. 2nd ed. 2019): Higher Education Reform: Looking back - Looking forward. Frankfurt/New York: Peter Lang, https://www.peterlang.com/document/1049323


Pittsburgh U Pittsburgh), USA

Community Engagement of Universities

Jacob,W.J., Sutin,S.E., Weidman, J.C. & John L. Yeager (Eds.) (2015): Community Engagement in Higher Education - Policy Reforms and Practice, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, https://brill.com/view/title/36775


Berlin (Humboldt U), Germany

Universities and Lifelong Learning

[Publ. together with HER 10 (Ljubljana) publ., 2015, 2nd ed. 2019]


Vancouver (UBC), Canada

Reform of University Governance

Schuetze, H. G., Bruneau, W., & G. Grosjean. (Eds.): University governance and reform - Policy, fads, and experience in international perspective. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, https://link.springer.com/book/10.1057/9781137040107


Mexico City (CINESTAV – DIE), Mexico

The Changing Roles of State and Markets in HE

Schuetze, H. G., & Alvarez Mendiola, G. (Eds. 2012): State and market in higher education reforms. Trends, policies and experiences in comparative perspective. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, https://brill.com/view/title/37567


Shanghai (East China Normal U), China

Internationalization of HE

Special Issue of Journal of Higher Education (Oct. 2008)


Dublin (DCU), Ireland, conference website here

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

Special Issue of Journal of Adult and Continuing Education (JACE), (2009) vol 15 Nr. 2, https://journals.sagepub.com/toc/adua/15/2


Tokyo (U Tsukuba), Japan

Higher Education reforms in Japan and various other countries

Special Issue of Journal for University Studies Nr 35 (2007)


Vienna (U Klagenfurt), Austria

Various themes incl. the changing state – HE relation, collaboration with the private sector,

[Major papers were published on the workshop website (no longer available)]


Vancouver (UBC), Canada

(Paired comparison of) Reforms of Higher Education in Six Countries, various themes

Special Issue of Canadian Journal of Higher Education (2004). vol 34 Nr. 3, https://journals.sfu.ca/cjhe/index.php/cjhe/issue/view/Volume%2034,%20issue%203

ICHER International Advisory Board:



Position, Title


Abebaw Yirga Adamu

Associate Professor and Director

Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Germán Alvarez Mendiola (Co-coordinator)

Professor and Head of Department

Department of Education Research, Centre for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV), Mexico City, Mexico

Isak Davidovich Froumin


Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Gaële Goastellec


Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Futao Huang


Research Institute in Higher Education, Hiroshima University, Japan

Anna Kosmützky


Center for Science and Society, Leibniz Universität, Hannover, Germany

Mei Li

Associate Professor

East China Normal University, Shanghai, China

Antigoni Papadimitriou

Associate Professor

Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, USA

Hans G. Schuetze (Co-coordinator)

Professor Emeritus; former Director, Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Rob Shea

Associate Vice President Academic,
Student Affairs and Research

Memorial University, St. John's, Canada

Maria Slowey (Co-coordinator)

Professor and Director, Higher Education Research Centre

Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

Hilligje Van’t Land

Secretary General

International Association of Universities (IAU), Paris, France

Andrä Wolter

Professor Emeritus

Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Shinichi Yamamoto

Professor Emeritus

Oberlin University, Tokyo, Japan

Pavel Zgaga

Professor and Director, Center for Educational Policy Studies

Ljubljana University, Slovenia

Ran Zhang

Associate Professor

Peking University, Beijing, China