Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe

Policy & Strategy Integration

Policy and Strategy integration refers to the integration of the world of work into policies and strategic framework. The core criterion for it in PHE, is that institutional policies and strategies are defined in collaboration with the world of work.

The following are best practice examples of implementation of this criterion:

World of work representatives as PHE presidents in France – networking, capacity building and quality assurance

Author: Stéphane Lauwick, Vice-President (International Relations), Association of IUT Directors

French University Institutes of Technology (IUT) and engineering schools are administered by a board composed of representatives of regional and local authorities, employee unions and employers. The quality assurance system of Engineering Schools requires its members to elect employers as the presidents of their board. Approximately 95 % chose to do so, even if without being legally obliged and today 110 out of 113 IUTs in France have an employer representative as their president. For example in 2014, some IUT presidents held key positions in companies such as Total, Gaz de France, Electricité de France, Safran, Sanofi, and Areva.

Just as the directors of IUTs or Engineering Schools are organised in national networks, IUT presidents form national associations for lobbying but also capacity building. The national association called UNPIUT puts forward the voice of the world of work and collaborates with the legislator or HE concerning the legal framework of French higher education. UNPIUT promote the place of IUTs as PHE within the unitary system for matters such as easing access to PHE by students from diverse backgrounds, funding, and, more significantly the professionalisation of the IUT curricula through projects, placements, etc. The association has voluntary staff, but individuals usually have a mandate from their employer. Activities are financed by the IUTs (1 euro per registered student).

Until 2007, IUTs were autonomous structures within the universities. When they lost that autonomy, UNPIUT work was essential in helping directors (umbrella org: ADIUT) have the French legislative assembly vote for a Decree that protects IUT funding within the universities.

Furthermore regular seminars for newly elected presidents are held. Because of their expertise and ability to mobilise all stakeholders in the world of work, these associations are also involved in the quality assurance process. The QA body for the IUT network (abbreviated CCN) involves members of employee and employer unions as well as academics and students. Their mission is to make sure that curricula remain relevant to the expectations of employers and universities.  The QA body evaluates each IUT every 5 years performing a quality check from the institution’s QA documents and subsequently visiting the IUT and its departments. Each evaluation and visit is carried out by a pair of evaluators: one academic and one representative of the world of work, often a member of UNPIUT.

Organizing stakeholder sessions to revise institutional policy

Author: Marc Vanderwalle, Secretary General of the Flemish Council of University Colleges

University Colleges have independent boards of directors composed of executives and representatives from the world of work for example leading figures from companies, employers, organisations etc. mostly from the region of the higher education institutions ranging from top managers of private companies or hospital leaders, to government executives and high management of employers’ organisations or sector representatives. In most institutions these representatives make up for more than two thirds of the board and hence have a decisive voice in the policy and strategy of the institution. Many involve staff members, students and alumni. The sessions’ aim is to gather inspiration and input from a wider and more diverse group of people to shape or adapt the HEIs’ strategy and policy.

Balanced representation by law – University bodies at Cooperative State University Baden-Württemberg

At DHBW Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (Cooperative State University Baden-Wuerttemberg) the University Council  is the highest decision making body and the majority of its members are representatives of the world of work. The boards of each of the 3 faculties are composed of an equal number of representatives of the world of work and of academia

In those committees institutional strategies are crafted and decided upon. The balanced representation is required by the higher education law of the Southern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and is one of the only state legislations in Germany detailing how the world of work partners shall be embedded within the governance scheme of the university. The law outlines their roles and responsibilities as well as the relationship between the world of work and the world of academia for the DHBW in detail. It is a unique example of legislation designed to ensure an equal partnership between world of work and academia and respecting the governance of an academic institution at the same time.

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