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IHEP: The Bologna Club: What U.S. Higher Education Can Learn from a Decade of European Reconstruction

Clifford Adelman, The Bologna Club: What U.S. Higher Education Can Learn from a Decade of European Reconstruction, Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2008. Pdf file, pages 134.

The Bologna Process is the most far reaching and ambitious reform of higher education ever undertaken. What has transpired since 1999 cannot be but lightly acknowledged in the United States. This essay brings to a broad academic audience in the United States highlights of what European higher education authorities, academic leaders, faculty, and students have accomplished and learned in the course of their considerable efforts, particularly in the challenging matters of

    • Student learning outcomes (set in what are called “qualification frameworks”),
    • The relationship of these frameworks to credits and curriculum reform,
    • The construction of new paths to student participation in higher education, and
    • The reflection of all of this in “Diploma Supplements.”

Based on what the U.S. can learn from the experience of Europeans, the report makes some very concrete suggestions for change across the U.S. higher education system, all of them following a student-centred story line of accountability, including

    • Developing detailed and public degree qualification frameworks for state higher
      education systems, and, for all institutions, in students’ major fields
    • Revising the reference points and terms of our credit system
    • Introducing a new class of intermediate credentials
    • Expanding dual-admissions “alliances” between community colleges and four-year institutions
    • Developing and expanding “bridge” access programs between stages of higher
    • Refining our definition and treatment of part-time students and
    • Developing a distinctive version of a diploma supplement that summarises individual student achievement.

The essay itself offers further detail and accounts of nuances that are inevitable when 46 countries are involved. An even more elaborate research monograph on the topic will be available from the Institute for Higher Education Policy in September 2008.