11 May 2021
An article for the journal “Wissenschaftsmanagement”, written by Julia Klingemann and Jens Engelke with colleagues from Z_punkt, sheds light on how higher education institutions can develop “foresight literacy”.
Higher Education Institutions are very familiar with creating or updating a Higher Education Development Plan (HEP). This plan usually describes the strategic direction and overall institutional plans for five years. But how future-proof are the usual approaches to HEP development?
In their contribution, the authors point out two aspects that are striking. On the one hand, it follows from the five-year perspective that longer and long-term developments in society, the economy, politics and other areas of (global) coexistence can only be moderately taken into account. On the other hand, little consideration is given to opportunities and risks induced outside the institution (“outside-in” perspective), which result from long-term developments in the Higher Education environment.
In response to this observation, the authors suggest initiating the method of strategic foresight for more than five years in order to be able to take into account diverse trends and drivers of developments – local to international – in the planning. This could also promote “changeability”, the positive mental attitude towards change. By discussing possible futures, the authors say, the flexibility and agility of the organisation can be increased.
Strategic foresight is not understood as prognostics. Rather, it is about systematic preparation for possible developments, including those that are “improbable” or “utopian” from today’s perspective. The methodology should enable joint thinking and talking about alternatives as well as the development of options for action.
The spectrum of methods is broad and includes quantitative, expert-based, interactive as well as creative approaches. Frequently used are strategic trend analyses, explorative and normative scenario techniques as well as Delphi surveys, often in combination and adapted to the specific insight interest, the situational application context and the previous experience as well as time resources of the participants.
The article presents a six-phase model for strategic foresight. It describes how leaders of Higher Education Institutions can take the first steps and dive into a foresight pilot phase.
05 May 2021
In a recent article for DUZ Wissenschaft & Management, Jens Engelke (CHE Consult) and Mathias Falkenstein (XOLAS) argue: Higher Education Institutions can open up new opportunities if they orient themselves towards students’ sustainability expectations.
In a study conducted by the “Positive Impact Rating Association”, nearly 3,000 students from business schools around the world were surveyed. The results were presented during the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020. They show: The students surveyed expect their Higher Education Institutions to make a positive contribution to a sustainable social transformation process. On the other hand, non-university activities are expected, such as intensified cooperation with primarily local actors from society and business.
In their article, the authors explain how Higher Education Institutions can meet such expectations of students and which mistakes should be avoided. It is important not to misuse the topic of sustainability in the sense of superficial marketing interests. According to the authors, “prospective students can very well determine […] with what stringency and consistency a Higher Education Institution operationalises its further development. Key players in society also expect a university to offer solutions to societal challenges and thus to provide added value for society.”
University management in particular is called upon to provide orientation through the implementation of strategic guidelines. One way in which this can be achieved is through Positive Impact Development. The approach supports the Higher Education Institution in identifying the many facets of sustainability – from resource-efficient building use to third mission – and subsequently developing them in a concrete and measurable way.
The authors further argue that by anticipating and, if possible, fulfilling students’ (sustainability) expectations, attractiveness and retention can be generated. As a result, the probability of attracting additional students increases. In addition, alumni management could also be promoted considerably.
The original articel was published in: DUZ Wissenschaft & Management, 03/2021, www.duz.de
07 December 2020
On behalf of the CHE Center for Higher Education Development, CHE Consult has been analyzing the development of part-time study programs in Germany on an annual basis since 2016. This year’s edition of the “CHECK – Part-Time Studies in Germany“”, is now available. It covers all part-time study programs offered of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the country and the demand for these programs students.
About one third of the working population in Germany is employed in part-time positions. In contrast, although the proportion of part-time students has increased to 7.5 percent of the total amount of students enrolled in HEIs, this figure shows that part-time study still far from being an established alternative to conventional, full-time studies. The causes of this lie, on the one hand, in the general framework conditions of the German higher education system and on the other, the limited range of courses offered by HEIs, as a current overview by the CHE Center for Higher Education Development shows.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, 214,000 people in Germany were officially studying part-time in the winter semester of 2018/19. This corresponds to an increase of 11,000 persons in comparison to the previous year. The proportion of part-time students among all students is currently 7.5 percent, higher than ever before.
With 100,000 students, around half of all part-time students are enrolled at a university in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). However, Hamburg has the highest proportion of part-time students, with one in five studying part-time, ahead of NRW (12.9%).The Saarland comes last in the ranking with 121 official part-time students, which corresponds to a rate of 0.4%.
“Flexible, part-time models in the world of work are now well established. In the areas of academic learning and further education, part-time models are still a long way from being established, despite the record number of part-time students we’re seeing”, said Frank Ziegele, Managing Director of CHE, assessing the current figures. He added that this lack of progress applies in particular to public universities.
About half of all part-time students make use of study opportunities at private universities. Of the 14 institutions with more than 2,000 part-time students, only four are public universities.
In real terms however, the number of “de facto” part-time students is likely to be significantly higher that the numbers suggest, owing to students who are enrolled in a full-time program but study less intensively and therefore longer than planned, explains the CHE.
One of the reasons for the low official figures for part-time students is the poorer financial framework conditions with which part-time students are confronted. “For many students, part-time studies are likely to be significantly more expensive than a full-timeprogram. Every second part-time student falls back on the paid study offers of a private university. In the case of studies at public universities, although they are offered free of charge, the missing BAföG eligibility for part-time students makes itself noticeable”, explains Cort-Denis Hachmeister expert for university access at the CHE.
A further reason for the low official figures might be the low number of part-time courses on offer. According to the data in the HRK Higher Education Compass, only one in every six degree programs in Germany are also open to part-time students. In the current winter semester of 2020/21, the proportion of courses offered on a part-time basis16.1 percent. This represents an increase of 2.2 percentage points in comparison to the previous year.
The Saarland holds the top position in terms of the proportion of courses offered on a part-time basis. Here,two out of three study programs (67.1%) can also be studied part-time. Hamburg and Brandenburg follow with 53.8 and 46.4 percent respectively. In five federal states, the proportion of part-time courses is less than 10 percent. Bremen has the lowest proportion of part-time courses on offer at 2.1 percent.
At 17.2 percent, the range of part-time courses offered at universities is somewhat more extensive than at universities of applied sciences, which only offer 13 percent of their courses on a part-time basis. Master‘s students and people who would like to study parallel to their job also have a greater choice at 19% of the courses offered on a part-time basis in comparison to Bachelor’s courses (14.3%).
In the social sciences, the part-time option exists for every fifth degree program. The lowest percentages are found in agricultural and forestry sciences with 7.7%.
The statistical basis for the part-time option quota cited here is the data of the Hochschulkompass of the German Rectors’ Conference for the winter semester 2020/21. The percentage of part-time students is based on data from the Federal Statistical Office for the winter semester 2018/19.
07 December 2020
In the course of the last few weeks, HEIs have been and continue to be confronted with exceptional challenges in their operational processes. This also applies to recruitment and appointment procedures, if these cannot conducted in-person. Currently, various digital formats are being tested. However, digitally mediated discussions and appointment processes are developing their own dynamics. Therefore, technical, organisational as well as psychological aspects must be taken into account in this development process. These topics were discussed by around 45 participants in the second Online-Dialogue of CHE Consult.
The following questions were at the centre of the discussion:
- To what extent are online procedures already being used to select applicants?
- How do the psychological aspects of interaction affect job interviews?
- Will hybrid formats – analogue and digital – be developed for the selection of applicants after Corona?
The discussion kicked off with a presentation by Mrs. Rogalla (Head of the Department of Finance, Human Resources and Communication, Medical Faculty of the OWL, University of Bielefeld) and Prof. Dr. Hauck (Professor of Communication Psychology and Organizational Consulting, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences) on these topics. They also reported on the current state of research as well as practical experiences in the field.
Some aspects of the process would be different with digitally-supported procedures, as compared to analogue formats. For example, the media competence of the applicants is much more apparent in a digital format and has an effect on the overall perception of the candidates. A preliminary assessment of technological competency is also indispensable for a successful interview.
However, there are aspects that have to be considered for both digital and face-to-face interviews. These include ensuring comparability (in terms of form and content), drawing up a competence profile and clearly defining the formal requirements.
For future application and appointment procedures, the two input providers concluded that a dialogue process would now have to be initiated at universities regarding how to take advantage of both variants and develop hybrid processes in line with the motto “Get the best of both worlds!“. There is still one drawback of hybrid formats – while digital formats enable comparability, they do not replace direct and therefore social and interpersonal exchange.
Julia Klingemann, initiator and moderator of the Online Dialogue, expressed her delight at the continued interest in the series and announced that it would be continued: “We are delighted about the large number of participants in our second Online Dialogue. The next Online Dialogues are therefore already being planned and will cover topics such as Virtual and innovative Leadership and On- and Offboarding”.
If you are interested in participating in upcoming exchange formats or have any further comments on the topic, please contact us and send an e-mail to elisa.himbert(at)che-consult.de.
08 July 2020
In cooperation with the non-profit CHE, CHE Consult has presented the Numerus Clausus CHECK for the Wintersemester of 2020/21. The study shows that those who want to start studying in the coming winter semester still have a good chance of being accepted. The quota of admission to study programmes with a grade requirement has again fallen slightly. Only around 40 percent have a so-called Numerus Clausus, or NC for short.
The study has found that university courses, on average, in Berlin, Hamburg and the Saarland are more freuqently subject to admission restrictions. This is the result of the annual Numerus Clausus CHECK of the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development. Among the larger university cities, Leipzig and Saarbrücken have the highest NC rate.
In Berlin, Hamburg and Saarland, two out of three courses of study are currently subject to admission restrictions. Berlin has the highest quota in a comparison of the federal states with a share of 66.1 percent, followed by Hamburg and Saarland with quotas of 65.4 and 64.2 percent respectively. Prospective students have the lowest NC hurdles in Thuringia. Here, with a share of 19.4 percent, only one in every five degree programmes has admission restrictions.
A noticeable trend in this year’s Numerus Clausus CHECK is the divergent development of NC quotas in the federal states. While Bremen and Lower Saxony were able to reduce their NC quotas by 6.2 and 7.5 percentage points respectively, the proportion of courses of study with restricted admission in the Saarland rose from around half (56.8 percent) to around two thirds (65.4 percent). As a result of this divergence, overall, the nationwide proportion of degree programmes with restricted admissions changed only minimally. Compared to the previous year, the proportion fell by 0.1 percentage points to 40.6 percent.
“This year, many prospective students have faced exceptional conditions during their Abitur, owing to Corona. The fact that the Abitur grade is again irrelevant for almost 60 percent of all courses of study this year is certainly good and reassuring news,” CHE Managing Director Frank Ziegele said, summing up the results. Another positive aspect is that the number of courses of study with restricted admissions has fallen in comparison to the previous year, particularly in the federal states of Hamburg, Berlin and Bremen, which are popular with first-year students.
Clear differences persist when cities are compared. Prospective students in Giessen have the best chances for a place at university in university towns with more than 40,000 students. Here, first-year students can enrol in four out of five courses of study without any prerequisites. Leipzig and Saarbrücken, where around two thirds of all courses of study (65 percent) are NC-restricted, showcased the highest numbers of admission-restricted courses.
“It is always worthwhile for prospective students to look beyond their own immediate environment or the borders of the federal state in which they live. Often they are able to study the same course without a numerus clausus at universities in their close neighbourhood,” advises study author Cort-Denis Hachmeister. In Saarbrücken, for example, the NC quota is around 65 percent, but in the cities of Trier and Kaiserslautern, which are located about 60 kilometers away, it is only 8 percent.
Depending on the study subject, the type of university and type of degree, the numerus clausus quota varies greatly. In law, economics, social sciences and economics, about one in two courses of study nationwide is subject to admission restrictions. In mathematics and the natural sciences, on the other hand, more than 60 percent of the courses are open to all first-year students, regardless of their Abitur grade.
A lower proportion (37.2 percent) of degree courses at universities are subject to NC than those at universities of applied sciences (45 percent). Bachelor’s degree programs have a slightly higher NC rate of 42 percent than master’s degree programs (38.8 percent).
Due to the corona pandemic, the application deadline this year for study places allocated via the Foundation for University Admissions (hochschulstart.de) has been extended until August 20. The application portal has been open since 1 July. The universities are also extending the application and enrolment deadlines in some cases for courses of study which are NC-free or where admission is restricted locally. Prospective students should check the websites of the universities for up-to-date information on the deadlines.
The “CHECK – Numerus Clausus at German universities 2020/21” is based on the NC data of the Higher Education Compass of the German Rectors’ Conference for around 20,400 study programmes in the winter semester 2020/21 as well as corresponding data from previous years. The quotas oft he federal states were determined in relation to the state in which the university is located. In the case of location-based NC quotas, all degree programmes at the place of study are counted. This may result in smaller deviations between the state and local quotas in the federal (city) states. Federal state, type of higher education institution, type of degree and subject group served as analysis criteria for the authors Anna Gehlke, Cort-Denis Hachmeister and Lars Hüning.
18 May 2020
CHE Consult saw the opportunity offered by the pandemic to investigate, via an online survey, whether and how higher education institutions (HEI) enable their academic staff and their technical and administrative personnel to work from home or out of office. The study looks at different types of out of office work and focuses on home office in particular. As a result, we differentiate various procedures and regulations depending on the type and size of the higher education institution. The results of the study will be available to download on our website www.che-consult.de in the course of the summer.
The survey is aimed primarily at HR managers and pays particular attention to the procedures that were already in place before Corona. The subject matters dealt with in specific are,
- how to deal with overtime, clocking or communication routines,
- whether employment contracts already contain home office regulations,
- how quickly members of the higher education institution may switch to home office and
- whether they can determine their working times in home office flexibly and spontaneously.
The study also examines HEI-specific factors that can make it difficult or impossible to work from home and whether it is more personal or institutional reasons that lead to home office either not being offered by an institution or not being taken up by staff.
Against the backdrop of the corona pandemic, we also examine the challenges higher education institutions experience with regard to home office, to a greater or lesser extent and aim to ascertain which existing arrangements for home office the institutions might consider establishing on a permanent basis.
The study was launched on 4 May 2020 and will be open to participation until mid-June 2020. So far, around 70 relevant persons from all types of higher education institutions have filled out the online survey.
If you or your institution would like to participate or if you have further remarks, please contact elisa.himbert(at)che-consult.de
13 May 2020
“Home Office and Higher Education Institutions – more risk than reward?” This question was discussed by 59 people from 39 HEIs in an online dialogue organised by CHE Consult on 6th May 2020. This discussion was the first in a series initiated by CHE Consult. At present, the topic “home office” is more relevant than ever for HEI members. While working from home was previously an exception, this form of work has become common practice, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The following questions were discussed by the participants during the online dialogue:
- What are the risks associated with home office?
- What are the advantages?
- What experiences will you take with you for your HEI for the time after Corona?
At the beginning, Ms. John-Redeker (Head of Human Resources Development and Recruitment, TH Köln) and Prof. Dr. Salomo (Head of Department for Technology and Innovation Management, TU Berlin) each presented three theses on the topic. Afterwards, the participants had the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas together. Three short surveys were also conducted.
Many of the participants shared the assumption that attitudes towards home office at their HEI will change for the better after corona and that it will be easier to work from home. However, some also had reservations about the impact of corona on home office practices at their HEIs. According to the respondents, the biggest challenges for university staff working from home are the compatibility of childcare and home office, the availability of technical equipment and the level of interaction with colleagues. However, most participants also saw opportunities for the time after Corona. A large number of them believed that it will become the norm for employees to be able to work from home and about half of them assume that their university will invest in additional technical equipment for this purpose.
Julia Klingemann, initiator and moderator of the online dialogue, is pleased about the great interest that was on display: “We are pleased about the large number of participants and the intensive exchange of experiences in this online format. This encourages us to continue along this path and to continue the dialogue as a series”.
The first online dialogue dealt directly with the topic of HR development. Based on four themes, which according to our consulting experience play an essential role in HR development concepts, namely
- Strategic HR planning
- Application Management & Onboarding
- Personal development for employees
- Leaving Experts
we would like to prepare another online dialogue that deals with the field of “Strategic HR Planning” or “Application Management & Onboarding”.
If you are interested in participating in upcoming exchange formats or have any further comments on the topic, please contact us and send an e-mail to laura.wallor(at)che-consult.de
20 April 2020
The management of the ETH Zurich has adopted a new “Collections and Archives Strategy 2021 to 2024”. This marked the completion of a project lasting more than one year, which was supported by CHE Consult in cooperation with foresight company Z_punkt. The project was commissioned by the Vice President for Infrastructure Prof. Dr. Ulrich Weidmann, who has now also been tasked with implement the strategy by the Executive Board of the ETH Zurich .
At the conclusion of the project, Prof. Dr. Weidmann stated: “The strategy that has been developed provides a guiding framework for action for the coming years and aims at enabling the Collections and Archives department to make a significant contribution to the success of the university as a whole. The support provided by CHE Consult and Z_punkt helped us to involve various actors and stakeholders in a consensus-oriented and participatory manner. Through a target-oriented working process in practicable formats, forward-looking solutions supported by everyone involved were created”.
During the project, CHE Consult’s main tasks includedthe planning and management of the project,stakeholder management, moderation of various project groups, the conducting of extensive (online) surveys and providing advice on governance and outreach issues.
The Collections and Archives department of the ETH Zurich includes around 20 institutions that own Swiss cultural assets and valuable research data. The department constitutes a part of ETH Zurich’s basic mission to maintain, secure and ensure public access to these internationally significant and unique materials. The spectrum of items in its care include natural science and art history collections, archives and cultural-historical collections, as well as the literary estates of Thomas Mann and Max Frisch. The departmentalso hosts exhibition facilities as places of art education for the public and dialogue between scientific research and society.
The new strategy of the department is based on the values and strategic development plans of the ETH Zurich. Based on the vision and mission of the ETH Zurich, the project formulated strategic principles for seven thematic areas, ranging from research, teaching and dialogue with the public to the development of the collections, the protection of cultural assets, as well as cross-sectional issues such as digital change and the topic of organisation and cooperation. Points of action have been identified for each principle, which are to be implemented by means of measures that were developed in the strategy process.
In addition, measures were prioritised in each field of action and recommended for implementation in the form of projects. The focus is on promoting dialogue with the public and intensifying cooperation with the Departments of Research and Teaching.
Principal Consultant Julia Klingemann emphasizes the high level of cooperation among those involved in the project: “The trust placed in us external consultants by the management and staff of the Department of Collections and Archives was just as motivating as their commitment to their own individual concerns and the common goals of the ETH Zurich as a whole”.
09 March 2020
On behalf of the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development, CHE Consult has analysed the websites of universities. For this purpose, personas were developed, of five ideal-type prospective students who were interested in studying business administration. With reference to the personas, a questionnaire consisting of 69 individual questions was created, with which a sample of 32 university websites could be tested. The publication “Hochschulwebsites für heterogene Zielgruppen – Mit Personas Websites strategisch gestalten”, in addition to the analysis, contains eight central recommendations for action.
On behalf of the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development, CHE Consult has analysed the websites of universities. For this purpose, personas were developed for five ideal-typical prospective students who were interested in studying business administration. With reference to the personas, a questionnaire consisting of 69 individual questions was created, with which a sample of 32 university websites could be tested. The publication “Hochschulwebsites für heterogene Zielgruppen – Mit Personas Websites strategisch gestalten” contains eight central recommendations for action in addition to the analysis. (As above)
German universities respond to the individual information needs of prospective students on their websites to varying degrees. Foreign applicants are informed quite comprehensively. Persons without a school leaving certificate, on the other hand, find answers to relevant questions on the websites of the universities to a much lesser extent. This is shown by an analysis of the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development.
In light of the more than 20,000 courses of study currently on offer at around 400 German universities, orientation for prospective students is more important than ever. In addition to comparative overviews such as rankings or the Higher Education Compass, the websites of the universities serve a central orientation function.
A CHE analysis shows that German universities largely satisfy the information needs of foreign applicants. On average, a typical applicant from abroad receives answers to three quarters of relevant questions on the university websites. The situation is considerably worse for potential applicants without a high school diploma.
For the analysis, the CHE created five fictitious applicant profiles as representatives of typical target groups and developed a specific questionnaire for each. A random sample was used to determine which of these questions could be answered by research on the websites of selected universities. Universities of varying types and sizes were considered in the sample.
The ideal applicant profiles have proven to be very insightful. The remarkable insight they produced is that state universities tend to focus more on the special situation of students with children, from abroad or persons with a strong interest in research. Students without a high school diploma or with a more pragmatic and everyday-oriented view of their studies will find less relevant information on the net.
Private universities, according to the results of the sample, offer less concrete information on the net. The authors see a possible explanation for this finding in the fact that private universities pursue the strategy of quickly entering into direct dialogue with potential students and therefore do not attempt to answer as many questions as possible on the internet.
“It is a positive sign that at some universities the diversity on campus is also reflected in the specifically prepared information offered on the website”, co-author Ulrich Müller said, evaluating the results. “After all, what good is the best course of study if potential applicants do not feel they are being addressed with the relevant information and their questions are not being taken up,” says the head of political analysis at CHE.
The authors see potential for improvement in the structure of the websites. In many cases, the structure of the university itself, for example in terms of their faculties or departments, also dominates the structure of the website. However, this logic is not immediately comprehensible to prospective students and makes it more difficult to find relevant information or may lead to redundancies and contradictions.
One of the eight central recommendations of the analysis is therefore the organisation of university websites according to the specific needs of target groups. The use of fictitious profiles, so-called personas, as used in the CHE analysis, can provide valuable assistance here.
“The diversity among students will continue to increase,” predicts CHE expert Ulrich Müller. “Especially universiiesthat are located far from urban centers,, which have to fight harder for students, can score points with well-prepared information offers on the internet for specific target groups”, says Müller.
16 February 2020
CHE Consult and ICF Consulting have jointly prepared the Erasmus+ Higher Education Impact Study from January 2017 to April 2019. The study measures and analyses the impact that the Erasmus+ programme has on students who study abroad with the programme. It focuses on the development of individual competences, employability and a common European identity. In addition, the study analyses the effects of Erasmus+ mobility on the use of innovative teaching and learning methods by academic staff and the effects of the programme on institutions.
The study examined four main target groups and several subgroups: Erasmus+ students before and after their stay abroad, graduates with Erasmus+ experience, academic and non-academic staff and institutions involved in Erasmus+ projects. The results of the study are based on almost 77,000 responses. The participants include 47,000 students, 12,000 graduates and 10,000 employees of institutions.
During their stay abroad, Erasmus+ students explore what they would like to do in their lives. They experience new teaching and learning methods and strive for higher educational qualifications than non-mobile students. More than 70% of students say that they have a better idea of what they want to do in their future career after they participate in the Erasmus+ programme abroad. One quarter said they had reoriented their studies after the stay, with the experience abroad helping them. Erasmus+ also has an impact on students‘ personal life: One in five graduates said they met their partners during the Erasmus+ period abroad.
Erasmus+ students improved their labour market-related skills and their competences in terms of social cohesion. 9 out of 10 of the students interviewed said that they had improved in terms of adaptability, interaction with people from other cultures, communication skills and problem-solving abilities. More than half improved their digital literacy. 9 out of 10 graduates report that they use the skills and experience acquired during their Erasmus+ study in their current job. In terms of personal development, social engagement and openness to other cultures, Erasmus+ has a stronger impact than other mobility programmes.
Graduates with Erasmus+ experience find a job slightly faster than the control group without mobility experience in their studies. 3 out of 4 graduates with Erasmus+ experience believe that the stay abroad was beneficial in finding theirjob after graduation. 40 percent of those who completed an internship in the framework of Erasmus+ were offered an employment contract by the company at which they completed their placement.
Erasmus+ Academic mobility also improves the teaching and learning practices, as well as the broad skills and competences of higher education staff. 43% of academic staff who taught or learned abroad through the Erasmus+ programme integrated at least one new teaching method into their work, such as work-based learning for example. 60 per cent of teachers who participate in Erasmus+ at some point involve employees of companies in their teaching. This is a significantly higher proportion than the control group of teachers without corresponding experience abroad, where this happens in 40 percent of cases. The effects go beyond the change in participants’ practice. More than 80 per cent of the employees who are mobile abroad state that Erasmus+ has led to improvements in the development of innovative curricula and modern teaching practices in their faculty or department.