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Teaching and Professional Practice

M17(a) - Higher Education (Part 2 of 2) - The Bologna Process, 20 Years On

Date: Jun 6 | Time: 10:30am to 12:00pm | Location: SWING 409

Chair/Président/Présidente : Kurt Huebner (University of British Columbia)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Merli Tamtik (University of Manitoba)


Session Abstract: This panel is intended to be one of two in a workshop which examines the policies and governance of higher education. The issue that integrates the two panels in this workshop pertains to measuring and understanding the domestic policy effects of integration at a regional (European) level, in comparison with the global level. In 1999, the Ministers of Education from twenty-nine European countries signed the Bologna Declaration, indicating an intent to harmonize diverse systems of higher education into an inter-operable European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Initially, this meant coordinating recognition across the sector and facilitating greater staff and student mobility, yet the Bologna Process has since broadened to include 46 countries (along with the Vatican and the European Commission) and deepened to touch on many of the core activities of a university. With 2019 being the twenty-year anniversary of the Bologna Declaration, it is time to take stock. What has this ambitious reform program meant for participants and observers of the project? This panel will examine various perspectives on what ‘Bologna’ means: Has the Bologna Process changed our understanding of higher education? Of higher education governance? Of aspects of higher education internationalization, such as mobility or competitiveness? This panel will assess the Bologna Process twenty years on, its implications for the globalization of higher education, and its impacts on those that have been involved in or influenced by its generation.


“Bologna in a Global Setting”: An Analysis From the Perspective of 20 Years Later: Pavel Zgaga (University of Ljubljana)
Abstract: This paper deals with the idea of opening up the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) to the wider world, and to the question of approach in the light of the history of policy ideas. At the ‘Bologna’ ministerial conference in 2005, a new item appeared on the agenda: “To elaborate a strategy for the external dimension”. A draft strategy was gradually developed and endorsed by ministers at their next conference in 2007. I was invited to write a background study (Zgaga 2006) and this work has motivated me to follow the topic with interest to this day. In the paper, first of all, the context of drafting the strategy is highlighted, as well as some of the dilemmas that have arisen at that time (e.g., various scenarios on the relationship between the concepts such as ‘attractiveness’, ‘cooperation’, ‘competition’). On this basis, I will analyse, first, the implementation of the strategy in the EHEA and, second, the conceptual transformation of the idea of “Bologna in a global setting”. In conclusion, an assessment of the current situation and current dilemmas will be given. The approach of the 2007 study will be used, complemented by a critical analysis of the concept of ‘opening’ put in a perspective of the history of policy ideas.

772.Zgaga.pdf


Taking Stock of the Bologna Process at 20: The Possibilities and Limits of Soft Law Governance: Ligia Deca (New Europe College), Robert Harmsen (University of Luxembourg)
Abstract: The Bologna Process stands as both an exemplar of regional cooperation in the higher education policy sector and as a comparatively successful instance of the use of so-called ‘soft law governance’ policy instruments. Yet, as this pan-European process now marks two decades of existence, questions are increasingly being posed as to its direction and purpose going forward. Against this background, the present paper seeks to take stock of Bologna as it enters adulthood, drawing on both the substantial body of scholarship that has emerged on the process and practitioner insights to examine its past achievements and current challenges. The paper will be broadly structured around three themes: policy learning, domestic legitimation and implementation. The first theme will explore the manner in which the process has created a pan-European policy space and a ‘common language’ in which higher education issues may be discussed. The second theme looks at the domestic uses (and misuses) of the Bologna Process by national authorities to advance domestic higher education reform agendas, particularly contrasting the experiences of West European and post-Communist participating states. Finally, the paper probes the difficulties of moving towards a ‘harder’ implementation regime, focusing on the results of the most recent (2015 Yerevan and 2018 Paris) ministerial conferences of the European Higher Education Area.


Bologna Process - A New International Higher Education Regime: Hila Zahavi (University of Toronto / Ben Gurion University of the Negev), Yoav Friedman (Bezalel Academy of Art and Design)
Abstract: In this article, we discuss the BP as an international regime. With the aim of qualifying the BP as an international regime, the article traces the features which enabled it to diffuse not only within but also outside Europe. We assume that although the BP was established to provide a solution for internal European problems, it sparked interest outside Europe, affecting the global sphere of HE. The international dimension of the BP is examined through the prism of regime theory, with the objective to determine whether the BP suits the definition of an "international regime." Through an analysis of the BP’s cooperation mechanisms, an examination of its establishment and institutionalization, and by tracing its stages of development, this paper sheds light on the forces behind it and allows inferences about the role of its participants as international players. Moreover, we will draw conclusions about the forces that govern the regime, inasmuch as they increase their international power as well as those that govern the international arrangements promoted by the regime. To examine the compatibility of the BP with the definition of an international regime, the article begins with a discussion of the various conceptual assumptions of regime theory. The article then elaborates on the methodological tools chosen for the research. The following section opens an empirical discussion, tracing the conceptualization of the BP as an international regime. Lastly, the paper discusses the implications of the findings for regime theory and international HE cooperation.

772.Zahavi-Friedman.pdf