Tempus & Bilateral Cooperation with Industrialised Countries

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1 Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency Tempus & Bilateral Cooperation with Industrialised Countries Tempus Regional Seminar on Human Resource Management in Public Higher Education in the Western Balkans June 2012 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency organised in June 2012 in Sarajevo a seminar on the management of human resources in public higher education in the Western Balkans. The aim of the seminar was to present the results of the Tempus study "Human Resource Management in Public Higher Education in the Tempus Partner Countries" and to encourage reflection and discussion among academics, experts and ministerial representatives from the Western Balkans on the general challenges and trends in human resource management in public higher education. This was the first event in a cycle of four seminars, covering each of the Tempus regions (Western Balkans, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Southern Mediterranean). The event was attended by over 60 participants, coming from six countries of the region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo 1, Montenegro and Serbia). There was a good balance among participants between university representatives (academic and administrative staff), staff of higher education agencies, ministry officials and National Tempus Office representatives. Discussions during the seminar were lively and showed that the topic is highly relevant for higher education institutions in the region. The participants also generally confirmed the findings of the Tempus study as far as the region of the Western Balkans was concerned. Issues that often came up in the discussions were linked e.g. to the lack of transparency in recruitment procedures, the lack of training possibilities, the insufficient attention paid to the development and motivation of administrative staff and the challenges created by the expansion of higher education and the lack of integration at the level of institutions. The role of the Tempus programme was highlighted for example in connection to staff training, considering that, in many cases, the only training and development opportunities for staff are offered via Tempus projects. Summary of conclusions from the working groups 2 Five different themes were covered in workshops during the seminar: Theme 1: Challenges at national level and their impact on human resources Theme 2: Human resource management - Academic staff Theme 3: Human resource management - Administrative and technical staff 1 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. 2 These conclusions are those provided by the rapporteurs of the different working groups and do not reflect any official position. The European Commission and the Executive Agency cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

2 Theme 4: Human resource management - Rectors and Deans Theme 5: Human resource policies and reforms The main conclusions and recommendations based on the discussions on the five themes are presented below. Theme 1: Challenges at national level and their impact on human resources The group's first task was to indentify issues that pose a challenge for human resource management in higher education at the national level. The following issues were identified: Macro constraints such as the economic crisis, a high unemployment rate, etc Globalization and, more specifically, internationalisation in higher education Public policies as regards the development of higher education (impact on the number of students, type of education, public funding...) Quality of students entering higher education Matching graduate students with the requirements and needs of the labour market Demographic trends of the overall population Demography of academic and administrative staff (number, ageing) Adequacy of staff profiles compared to the needs of teaching/research, internationalisation and other institutional objectives Brain Drain (competition at international level, between public and private education sectors and with private business) Recommendations: Human resource management policies in public higher education should therefore: respond effectively to the pressure of slow economic growth and steady unemployment rates in the region; address strategic and quality changes to make universities more entrepreneurial and more focused towards managing effectively the increasing number of students, the training of teaching and administrative staff, etc.; address the issue of Brain Drain at the national and international level, making the region gain in the international rankings and reversing Brain Drain into a Brain Gain process; create closer relations between higher education and the labour market and ensure the input of representatives of the labour market on defining learning outcomes; ensure that transparent and open recruitment practices are in place, giving priority to the skills required for the university of the 21st century; promote quality assurance systems for human resource management in public higher education in order to increase the quality of teaching, research and management. Theme 2: Human resource management - Academic staff Working conditions of Academic Staff: o In general, employment contracts are considered satisfactory; o Nevertheless, staff members often need to take a second job, mainly because of the stagnation of salaries (despite an increased workload). Recruitment procedures for Academic Staff: o a rather traditional and conservative system with strong resistance to change;

3 o significant funding problems mainly due to the economic crisis; o recruitment procedures are formally open, but appointments not always transparent and objective. Career Development of Academic Staff: o a high number of teachers do not have any experiences outside of their own university; o research conditions are deteriorating, mainly due to the lack of funds from the state budget; o academic staff is not trained in IT, languages and/or modern teaching methodologies. Working conditions of Academic staff o A threshold for promotion conditions should be set at national level. o More time should be allocated for training and development. o The purchasing power of salaries should be maintained / increased. Recruitment procedures for Academic Staff o Changes are needed in the selection mechanisms. As there are no language barriers in the region, there should be regulations at the national level which would make foreign applicants from the region eligible for academic positions at public higher education institutions. Career Development of Academic Staff o Academic staff mobility at the regional level should be encouraged, in order to improve knowledge exchange within the region. o Research opportunities at international, European and regional level should be improved. Working conditions o Pedagogical/psychological support for staff should be available at institutional level. Recruitment procedures for Academic Staff o Research competencies are easy to quantify, but the pedagogical approach of candidates should be assessed more carefully (e.g. via demo lessons, in the presence of academic staff and students). Career Development of Academic Staff o Increase inter-institutional cooperation via national and regional mobility of academic staff, to facilitate exchange of knowledge within the region. o Training opportunities should be offered to young academic staff and even be made mandatory. Theme 3: Human resource management - Administrative and technical staff Higher education institutions are either understaffed or have enough staff, but not with adequate profiles to meet the institutional needs (lack of skills and competences). Lack of a transparent system of recruitment of administrative and technical staff (public procedure with exact criteria). Lack of a system of monitoring and evaluation of administrative and technical staff. Lack of motivation need for a proper system of rewarding and promotion. Lack of training possibilities (IT, languages, soft and professional skills, but also training about e.g. higher education reforms and the Bologna process).

4 Lack of communication between management and administration. Dissatisfaction of students regarding the way in which administrative tasks are performed and in their relations with administrative and technical staff (lack of proper introduction and communication). The development of administrative and technical staff should be included in all national strategies for higher education their work should be recognised, as these categories of staff can (and should) also contribute to the higher education reform processes. Funds should be allocated for the development of administrative and technical staff. The distribution of responsibilities within institutions could be improved in order to strengthen middle-management at HEIs. National strategies / policies should be developed in cooperation with the institutions: their feedback should be sought and taken into account. Transparent recruitment procedures based on clear criteria should be developed and properly implemented also for administrative and technical staff. Systems of monitoring and evaluation, including proper promotions and rewarding based on transparent and measurable indicators, should be introduced. Regular training (e.g. based on outcomes of evaluations) should be organised in IT, languages, soft and professional skills, but also training about e.g. higher education reforms and the Bologna process. The staff s workload should be defined accordingly, taking into account the time needed to attend such training. Regular meetings and networking of all staff categories should be a practice, in order to improve the cooperation and flow of information and lead to an appropriate distribution of responsibilities (increased responsibility can be an efficient tool to increase motivation). Institutions should be aware that they can move forward on a number of issues, even if a national strategy is not yet in place. Theme 4: Human resource management Management staff (Rectors and Deans) In many cases, managerial skills of management level staff are considered insufficient. Suitable training schemes to develop managerial skills of deans and rectors are lacking. Unwillingness of management level staff to participate in training. Untransparent selection procedures, impact of political or other affiliations. The integration of universities is not enforced and this affects the role and responsibilities of management staff. Look for leaders who have a vision and sufficient managerial skills. Find a way to improve the transparency of selection procedures. Move towards integrated universities, with a satisfactory level of internal autonomy and clearly defined responsibilities. Change and/or expand selection criteria to include aspects such as the contribution of the candidate to the academic community as well as to the wider community.

5 Improve / introduce training opportunities and requirements for university staff in managerial skills and organise specific training schemes for deans and rectors. Apply public calls and open competitions for management positions in order to achieve better results in the recruitment of managerial staff. Theme 5: Human Resource policies and reform There is a need to transform human resource management at universities. Not sufficient action is taken to implement HR strategies at the level of institutions. HR issues are not addressed at a national scale, by linking them to development and economic growth. Develop training schemes for all categories of staff. Pilot, spread excellence, and develop national policies for human resource management. Link human resource management and higher education policies to other national policies, such as those for growth and development, and recognise the role of higher education and its human resources to wider policy agendas. Create a system of incentives for innovative projects in human resource management. Spread excellence in teaching and university management through the creation of centres of excellence for training. Implement transparent feedback processes to promote and incentivise excellence in teaching. Ensure that internal evaluation takes place regularly and is in line with governance objectives. Investigate the feasibility of a Regional masters program in human resource management in higher education. Follow-up The seminar participants were encouraged to disseminate the results of the study and of the seminar in their countries, in order to provide material for policy discussions at national and regional level and contribute to reforms. It was also suggested that participants should use the possibilities for project submission under the following Tempus IV Calls for Proposals to develop projects in this field. Furthermore, NTOs in the region could make use of the possibility to use the technical assistance facility offered in the framework of the Executive Agency's service contract with the UNICA network to invite EU experts to their countries for training/information missions in topics related to human resource management in higher education. Once the planned cycle of seminars is finalised, the conclusions of all seminars will be integrated into a summary report covering the four Tempus regions. This report will be published as a part of the "Tempus study" series.

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