When reflecting on higher education evaluation initiatives, one discovers shifting relationships between universities, the government, and the market (and society outside the university). Universities in Japan have long enjoyed a collegial culture in which professors are not disturbed by various demands outside the academy ; the government and market has effectively respected university autonomy.
With the massification of higher education and the growing importance of scientific research, universities are no longer able to exist without support from the government and the market. Accountability has become a key word for us to understand in this current situation. Universities in Japan should have strong ties with the market if they are to positively reform themselves. The reality, however, is that universities have failed to get support from the market and must now passively react to the allied forces of government and market. Various policies for university reform have thus been implemented by the government with strong support from the market, not the universities.
The public’s dissatisfaction with the current quality of university activities has pushed the government to establish a new national institution for university promoting and monitoring evaluation strategies. The new institution is expected to contribute to university reform and resource allocation initiatives. While the future of this evaluation system is still uncertain, we must understand that it will fundamentally change of the relationship between universities and society at large.
As in many other OECD countries, the evaluation of higher education institutions has recently become a policy issue in Japan. While attention has been given to better methods of evaluation, it is important to analyze the structure and actual function of evaluation as a social and political process. From this perspective, this paper examines the social and economic backgrounds of the rising interests surrounding evaluation, the organizational characteristics of the evaluation process, and its social and economic consequences.
Recent forms of evaluation can be divided into three major types : market, voluntary, and agency. Japan, along with a few other OECD countries, has recently created an evaluation system based on the agency model. As a result, this paper argues that Japan will suffer from contradictions between social expectations and what can actually be achieved. It will be essential for the new organization to involve voluntary participation by academics and to integrate the information produced by the market.
Over the last decade, government initiatives have resulted in the establishment of agencies of higher education evaluation in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and other European countries. Some state agencies have started new assessment methods for institutional performance in the United States. National systems of systematic evaluation for higher education have also been developed in European countries and America.
These new systems of evaluation share a number of similarities and differences. One common theme is “accountable autonomy”, government-initiatives that tie certain performance measures to funding appropriations. The methodology incorporates various combinations of three elements : self-assessment, peer evaluation (usually in the form of an institutional visit), and statistical or performance indicators. Among these elements, self-assessment and peer evaluationare believed to be important in enhancing scholarship and keeping academic modes of thinking in higher education. It is generally not believed that there is a necessary link between performance indicators and academic quality.
In Japan, a new form of higher education evaluation is emerging as a result of a governmental initiative. This system is expected to resemble “accountable autonomy,” and will include a combination of a self-assessment, peer review and some indicators.
This article describes higher education evaluation systems in Europe and America. It examines several aspects of the British evaluation system, various institutions’ own internal evaluation plans, academic audit processes, quality and research assessment, and the significance of self-evaluation and peer review. Finally, it discusses the potential effects of the new evaluation system on the future of Japanese higher education.
Because Japanese institutions of higher learning have had few experiences with self-evaluation and peer review, it is anticipated that the new evaluation system may produce some areas of conflict. Japanese universities must find a way to control the evaluation system if they are to enhance scholarship and extend public supports to the higher education community.
The humanities and social sciences (HSS) are defined differently from one country to another, evidenced by the fact that even the worldwide classification scheme proposed by the ISCED of UNESCO does not apply to every country. In addition, there is often significant overlap between HSS disciplines. These facts make it difficult to do bilateral and multilateral comparisons of various HSS environments. In Japan, most HSS researchers－nearly 9 out of 10－are employed by universities, especially private institutions. Funding for HSS research has slightly increased in recent years, with the country’s national universities receiving a larger share of monies than public and private institutions. Despite these increases, per capita HSS funding to the national universities has declined. One result of this trend has been an ever expanding funding gap between national and private universities. University research and education evaluation measures are increasingly common in Japan and other world countries. While these measures have evolved to some degree among the natural science disciplines, those for the humanities and social sciences have not been sufficiently developed. It is commonly assumed that hard science evaluation methods should not be applied to the HSS disciplines. Instead, certain factors, such as strong country.specific cultural orientations, should be taken into consideration. Although bibliometrics are commonly used to measure both natural science and HSS contributions, available HSS indexes preferentially focus on journals from North America and Europe, especially those written in English. HSS researchers are today increasingly faced with many challenges. These include changes in interdisciplinary collaborations and growing demands for accountability. Some countries have prioritized HSS research to make it more mission.oriented. In Japan, however, HSS research organizations are intensely discipline based, and widely understood to have not significantly contributed to efforts to overcome social problems. The reorganization of the national universities in Japan is proceeding with an emphasis on the evaluation of their output. If national universities are to be reorganized, efforts to do so should enhance their research quality without discouraging the creativity of individual researchers.
This paper describes the relationship between the role of university educators and university evaluation measures from the perspective of the academic.
Within highly developed countries, the prestige of the academic profession has gradually decreased in recent years. Concomitant with this change, the priorities of scholarship have shifted from research to education, and the number of university teachers hired on a part-time basis has gradually increased.
In “Scholarship Reconsidered,” Ernest Boyer, proposes that the work of academics be divided into four overlapping categories : discovery, integration, application, and teaching. He offers “integration,”as a new category, in the hope that educators might concern themselves to a greater degree with the relationship between the discovery and application of knowledge. On higher education’s international stage, each university’s unique character requires that its educators be at the same time both specific and diversified in orientation. Because of this, many educators are at risk of loosing some of privileges of autonomy and curriculum management. Boyer recommends the creation of creative contracts that would serve as a link between the priorities of institutions and their academics.
The Japanese University Council has recommended that Japanese universities project themselves as one of three types of institution in the 21st century’s research university, a professional university, or a liberal arts university. Many Japanese universities are now working to meet this challenge. Within this environment of change, some university educators will have to assume different professional identities according to the kind of university with which they are affiliated.
Recent efforts to enhance the quality of Japanese universities have resulted in increased scrutiny of the work of campus educators. Today, for instance, 71 percent of Japan’s national universities now require class evaluations. University accreditation has also greatly expanded in importance, partly in an attempt to ensure that the quality of university educators is on par with that of most graduate schools. Additional external evaluation systems will be implemented at national universities in the year 2000. And, after three more years, the national university sector may be modified to reflect a new, more independent corporate system.
The evaluation of the roles of university educators in Japan will be expected to insure that higher education institutions maintain a high level of a quality.
In recent years, Japan’s university entrance examination process has become less competitive. As a result, the attractiveness of universities and the criteria students use to evaluate them have also changed. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate three of these change areas.
The first area of change concerns the purposes underlying why high school students go on to study at universities. Broadly speaking, shifts in orientation over the past ten years have resulted in a strengthening of interest in practical forms of education, and a weakening of interest in liberal arts study.
Secondly, the orientation of higher education students following matriculation has also changed somewhat from years past. While this change has been toward a greater interest in practical education － interest in occupational credentials, for example, have decreased of late － and freedom of choice, an interest in the liberal arts now appears to be on the rise.
Finally, student evaluations indicate that they appear to be increasingly interested in both classes that employ innovative and attractive pedagogical formats rather than more traditional forms of study, and physical environments that are more aesthetically pleasing than traditional campuses.
This paper aims to examine the nature of the relationship between the university and the regional community by focusing on discourses about policy on university-community partnerships and, using survey data, on the activities and opinions of faculty members.
From the beginning of the postwar era to the present, “university-community” policy has shifted from “local dispersion of institutions and educational opportunity” to “industry-university cooperation” and “lifelong learning. “Four problems remain : 1) policy focuses tend to be blurred, 2) the attitudes and orientations of academics are not sufficiently considered, 3) there has been little discussion or evaluation of the merits and demerits that cooperation with industry may bring to the university as a whole to, and 4) linkages at institutional levels are too much focused on.
Considering these four issues, we analyzed empirical data from two surveys. The main findings are as follows. First, expectations of regional community leaders toward the university are rather holistic compared to the areas on which the policies focus. Second, the regional exchange activities of the university have extended to a wide range of areas. In particular, faculty members in the social sciences and in health are positive and active. However, third, “university-community” partnership at present is led mainly by faculty members, and only with attitudes of service and self-sacrifice. Fourth, a lot of faculty members recognize various kinds of obstacles in both the university and the regional community. Fifth, some faculty members have clear and strong interests in combining the traditional mission of teaching and research and the new, challenging activities of cooperating with the regional community. This kind of integration and reciprocality may imply the emergence of a new domain of research mode, the so-called “Mode II.”
According to these findings, whether or not the development of “university-community” partnership diversifies the university or brings the university a new source of energy depends on both the consideration of incentives for academics and appreciation by university of a new, reciprocal mode of research done in cooperation with the regional community.
Following the introduction of a new quality assurance system in Japan, this article reviews previous studies of quality assurance in Japanese higher education, as well as current quality assurance system trends within the United States, Europe, and East Asia. The authors argue for the importance of recognizing systemic quality assurance development techniques in the context of these geographical areas and their respective educational systems. Using a comparative sociological perspective they diagram three distinctive quality assurance systems : internally evaluated vs. externally assessed, centralised vs. decentralised, and integrated vs. fragmented. From this diagram, they argue that Japan can be said to have an internally evaluated, decentralised, and fragmented model of quality assessment.
A questionnaire was used to a survey the current quality assessment and evaluation initiatives being undertaken at Japanese universities. The data acquired from the questionnaires are presented and analysed, with results showing that various measures are being used in self-evaluation activities. These measures can be divided into six categories : student evaluation, organizational management, educational activities, research activities, input and output performances, and social services and public welfare. Further analyses show certain relationships between the activities and reforms of colleges and universities. Moreover, the analyses reveal that the evaluation system of Japanese higher education has a highly diversified and complex structure, reflecting the country’s hierarchical and compound higher education structure.
Current quality assessment systems － based on self-evaluation － are helpful in the modification of assessment schemes at the respective institutions studied. This is due to the fact that they take into account both the variety of individual needs of each of the institutions and their different characteristics. However, if a newly centralised quality assurance body is established, its goal should be the technical support of evaluation activities and the assurance of minimum standards of quality, rather than the supervision or meta-evaluation of self-evaluation activities by universities themselves.