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Brussels, 12 October 2012

Higher education in 2030. A look into the crystal ball


Higher education has undergone enormous changes in the past decades. And it will further change in the future, probably at an unprecedented pace. What will higher education in the world look like in the year 2030? This is the guiding question behind the third ACA European Policy Seminar in 2012, a “foresight” exercise or a “look into the crystal ball”.

In anticipating the future, Higher education in 2030 will take a double perspective: regional and thematic. In regional terms, we are addressing the future global ‘pecking order’ and, in particular, the issue of global higher education leadership. Will the US still lead, or is it going to be overtaken by up-and-coming Asian countries? Will Africa have finally developed its higher education systems, and no longer be in need of development aid? What will be the role of Europe in the geo-politics of higher education and how will we view the Bologna reforms in 18 years from now?

In a thematic respect, we will look into the role of internationalisation in 2030. Will it – finally – have become a salient feature of higher education? What sort of models of governance, leadership and management will there be? Will we have, as the OECD predicts, almost universal participation in higher education in 2030? And will the ‘brick-and-mortar university’ still prevail, or will most teaching be done in the ‘virtual’ mode?

For the look into the crystal ball, ACA has succeeded in enlisting some of the world’s top ‘clairvoyants’ as speakers. The future is one of the hardest things to predict, as Groucho Marx and Woody Allen found out. But our speakers will rise to the challenge.


Thursday 11 October



Seminar dinner

Friday 12 October





Welcome and introduction
Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA


Opening keynote


Needs, opportunities and challenges: European higher education in 2030
Rolf Tarrach, Rector, University of Luxembourg


Regional perspectives


The global pecking order: will the US still lead?
Peter Scott, Professor of Higher Education Studies, Institute of Education University of London (UK)


Coffee break


Asia: the new powerhouse?
Nigel Healey, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), Nottingham Trent University (UK)


Africa: Development aid: a ghost from the past?
Beer R.E.V.M. Schröder, Head of Expertise Department, Nuffic, The Hague (The Netherlands)


Bologna: all forgotten?
Johanna Witte, Senior Researcher, Bavarian State Institute for Higher Education Research and Planning, Munich (Germany)


Sandwich lunch


Thematic perspectives


Internationalisation: the salient characteristic of higher education?
Ulrich Grothus, Deputy Secretary-General, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Bonn (Germany)


Leadership, management and governance
Robin Middlehurst, Professor, Kingston University, London (UK)


Coffee break


Participation: universal access to higher education?
Kiira Karkkainen, Analyst, OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), Paris (France)


ICT: the end of the “brick-and-mortar university”?
Piet Henderikx, Secretary General, European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), Heerlen (The Netherlands)


Wrap up and good-bye


End of the seminar


Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). He studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany).  His career has been focused on international higher education. He worked for the University of Kassel, the British Council, and the Fachhochschule Darmstadt, before joining DAAD as the head of their EU division. He subsequently became the Director for Higher Education (Erasmus) in the Brussels Socrates Office. In 1998, he took up his present post as ACA Director. Bernd Wächter has published and lectured widely on international higher education. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education.
Bernd Wächter has two children. He is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Rolf Tarrach

Dr. Rolf Tarrach is the rector of the new University of Luxemburg as of 2005. He was postdoc at CERN, Geneva. Dr. Tarrach is professor of theoretical physics, and has served in that capacity at the universities of Valencia and Barcelona. He has an honorary degree from the University of Saint Petersburg. He is a former president of the CSIC (the Spanish Scientific Research Council, Madrid), and a former member of EURAB, EUROHORCS, ESOF2004 (in Stockholm, 2006 in Munich and 2008 in Barcelona), former president of ACA (Brussels) and former Vice-chair of the jury of the French “Initiative d’excellence”. He chaired the committee of international experts EU2015 (Spain). He is currently on the EUA Council.

Peter Scott

Peter Scott is Professor of Higher Education Studies at the Institute of Education University of London and also Chair of the Council of the University of Gloucestershire. From 1998 to 2010 he was Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University in London. Before that he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor responsible for external affairs at the University of Leeds. He was also Editor of ‘The Times Higher Education Supplement’ (now ‘The Times Higher Education’) for 16 years.

Prof Scott was President of ACA from 2002 until 2008. He was general rapporteur of the Bologna Researchers’ Conference held in October 2011 as a preliminary to the recent bi-annual Bologna ministerial meeting. He was also a member of an expert group established by the European University Association to advise the Romanian Minister of Education on the restructuring of Romanian universities. He has written extensively about the internationalisation of higher education.

Nigel Healey

Professor Nigel Healey is pro-vice-chancellor (International) and head of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University. He has previously held positions as pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), dean of Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and Jean Monnet Chair of European Economic Studies at the University of Leicester. He has served as policy advisor to the prime minister of Belarus and the deputy minister of economy of the Russian Federation and managed number of international research and educational development projects in Central and Eastern Europe and South-East Asia.

His current research focuses on the internationalisation of higher education, with particular reference to the Asia-Pacific region, and developments in higher education policy nationally and internationally. He has chaired the International Academic Advisory Committee which organises the QS-APPLE conferences in the Asia-Pacific since 2008. Hosted by leading Asian universities – Yonsei University (2008), University of Malaya/Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (2009), Mahidol University (2010), University of Santo Tomas (2011) and Bogor Agricultural University (2012) – this international conference is modelled on the EAIE and brings together senior university staff, academics and policymakers to track developments in the world’s fastest growing higher education market.

Beer Schröder

Beer Schröder was born in a small village in the Netherlands. He grew up in New Guinea, Spain and the Netherlands and studied cultural anthropology, Dutch and Spanish linguistics and literatures, and finally earned his doctoral degree in general and comparative literary criticism, with a specialisation in (oral) literature in Africa at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Since 1982/3, Beer works for the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education and research (Nuffic)  in various management and expert positions. Nuffic is an independent, not-for-profit, national agency. He started as the registrar for a number of international education institutions, followed by several management positions at Nuffic in the field of education and international development cooperation.

Over the years, Beer has developed a broad portfolio of scholarships and capacity development programmes, tasks and services for Nuffic. Since January 2011 he is head of the Expertise Department, a position in which he covers the broad spectrum of internationalisation, international capacity development / development co-operation in higher education and research. As such, he works actively in realising Nuffic’s motto Linking Knowledge Worldwide.

At the request of the European Commission and EADI, Beer published in 1993 the International Course Organiser’s Handbook, that turned out to be instrumental in designing international study and training programmes across Europe. In the slipstream of this publication many training courses, workshops were given across the world on international course design and related topics such as intercultural communication, preparation, reception and guidance of international students.

Johanna Witte

Johanna Witte is Senior Researcher at the Bavarian State Institute for Higher Education Research and Planning (IHF) in Munich, Germany. Before, she worked for seven years at the think tank and consultancy CHE (Centre for Higher Education Development) in Guetersloh, also in Germany. Her research is in the area of higher education policy, governance and management, curriculum reform and quality assurance, often in international comparative perspective. Her main focus in the last years has been the change of European higher education systems in the course of the Bologna process. She holds a Masters degree in Economics from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, an MA in International Education from the University of Sussex in England, and a PhD in Public Policy from CHEPS (the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies) at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Johanna Witte was Member of the Executive Committee of EAIR, the European Higher Education Society, and member of the Editorial Board of the journal “Tertiary Education and Management”.

Ulrich Grothus

Ulrich Grothus, who was born in 1952, is the Deputy Secretary-General and Director for Strategy and Projects of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He obtained a Master’s degree in Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin in 1976. He then worked as a journalist before joining the International Division of the former West German Rectors Conference in 1982. He has been working for DAAD since 1988, first as spokesman and head of the president’s office. Starting in 1991, he was consecutively director of all three DAAD program directorates. In between, he served as director of the Paris office from 1998 to 2000 and of the New York office from 2004 to 2008. Since 2010 he has been member of ACA’s Administrative Council, in December 2011 he was elected Vice-President.

Robin Middlehurst

Robin Middlehurst is Professor of Higher Education at Kingston University, attached to the Vice Chancellor’s Office. She joined Kingston in July 2007. From May 1st 2004, she has also been on half-time secondment to the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) as Director of Strategy, Research and International. In the LFHE, she is responsible for commissioning the Foundation’s programme of research and leading the development of the Foundation’s international strategy which supports the internationalisation agenda of the UK higher education sector.

Robin’s own research, teaching and consultancy are focused on higher education policy and practice covering the themes of:
– Leadership, governance and management and leadership development
– Quality assurance and enhancement at national and international levels
– ‘Borderless higher education’ and internationalisation
– The role of the private sector in higher education

Robin has taught at all levels of education, from primary to adult levels. Prior to entering higher education in 1986, she worked as a youth and social worker in various settings. Robin has held research and academic positions at the University of Surrey and the Institute of Education, University of London. From 1994-1998 she worked at the national policy agency, the Higher Education Quality Council (subsequently QAA), becoming Director of the Quality Enhancement Group (QEG). From 1994-7, the QEG team was responsible for a major national research and development programme into academic standards, providing evidence for the Dearing Committee. The outcomes of this work now form the basis of the UK’s ‘academic infrastructure’. In 1998, Robin re-joined the University of Surrey as Director of the Centre for Continuing Education, and was awarded a personal professorship in higher education. Successful research projects at Surrey provided evidence for the establishment, in 2002, of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, now a global strategic information service for higher education, and in 2003 for the establishment of the Leadership Foundation.

Robin has co-directed the UK’s Top Management Programme since 1999. She has been a member of governing boards in two universities, one higher education agency and a learned society; she was awarded a Fellowship of the Society for Research into Higher Education in December 2009. Robin is regularly invited to undertake consultancy and research work for national and international organisations including UNESCO, OECD, UUK, and the UK funding bodies.

Kiira Karkkainen

Kiira Kärkkäinen is an Analyst at the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) that concentrates on forward-looking research, educational innovation as well as on international exchange of knowledge and experience. She works on analysis, research and coordination of two CERI projects: the Future of Higher Education and the Innovation Strategy for Education and Training. The project on the Future of Higher Education aims to inform and facilitate strategic decision-making in higher education by exploring what may be possible, different roles for higher education in future societies. It comprises trends analysis, international stakeholder dialogue and scenario building. The project has resulted to Higher Education to 2030 book series, including volumes on Demography (2008) as well as on Globalisation (2009), co-edited by Kiira. The Innovation Strategy for Education and Training explores new approaches to equip people with innovation skills and to support radical innovation and continuous improvement in education systems. The project has produced several reports on these topics.

Previously Kiira worked on forward-looking education policy issues as a consultant and at CERI. She conducted research and analysis for UNESCO on corporate-public sector partnerships in education. Kiira has also worked on international development policy, co-operation and diplomacy at the European Commission, UNESCO, the Mission of Finland to the UN and in Romania. Kiira holds a Masters in International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris, France, and a Bachelors of Social Sciences in Political Science and International Politics from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Piet Henderikx

Piet Henderikx (°1947) graduated in Psychology and Educational Sciences at KU Leuven, Belgium (1970). He acted as advisor for educational policy at the Christian Labour Movement (ACW) in Belgium (1969-1973). He was engaged in research and development in the field of teaching and learning in higher education at KU Leuven (1973-1986). He was appointed as a special advisor for university and research policy in the Cabinet of the Minister of Education (1986-1988) and as director of the national distance higher education network in Flanders (1988-1996).

Since 1996, he is Secretary General of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) and senior advisor of KU Leuven for international policy. EADTU is the institutional network of European open and distance teaching universities and traditional universities organising open and flexible education. Many members organise large scale distance education based on proven pedagogical concepts including high quality course materials and learning services. They are frontrunners in online teaching and learning.

His activities in EADTU are currently related to the policy and organisation of open and flexible education. Focus areas are open knowledge sharing (OER, open access, open innovation), international collaborative curricula and online mobility, customized education and training on demand, quality benchmarking in distance and online education, strategies and business models in higher education and university-business collaboration.

Also, he has been counselor for several governments and universities with regard to the quality and accreditation of distance programmes and institutions and to the integration of open and flexible education in national higher education systems.


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