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The role of foundations in German higher education: a case study on the influence of foundations on teaching at universities

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Reis, Julia

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Corporate Editor Maecenata Institut für Philanthropie und Zivilgesellschaft
Abstract The need for a change in the status and quality of teaching at German universities has been on the public agenda for several years now and actions have been taken to improve the situation by a number of stakeholders. This thesis examines the role which foundations have played in this process and links its empirical analysis to the existing theoretical framework about the roles which foundations can play in society (Anheier & Daly, 2007). The qualitative analysis is based on an examination of written material as well as twelve interviews conducted with foundation and university representatives as well as policy makers. Its main results are firstly a typology consisting of the three main categories of "Competitions", "Networking" and "Think Tank" describing current foundation programs aimed at university teaching. Secondly, case studies analyzing the programs Wettbewerb Exzellente Lehre and Lehren indicate that they both originated from a failure of the state to set up programs regarded necessary for the improvement of university teaching. Thirdly, while foundation programs certainly contributed to putting the issue on the political agenda, a causal connection between the Wettbewerb Exzellente Lehre in particular and the subsequent Federal-Länder program Qualitätspakt Lehre cannot be clearly established. Lastly, the analysis suggests the addition of a category of "networkers" to the conventional canon of roles which foundations play in society. The thesis concludes by providing policy recommendations aimed at foundation program managers and points out some risks such as a lack of sustainability and evaluation threatening the effectiveness of foundation programs. (author's abstract)
Keywords Federal Republic of Germany; foundation; university; competition; networking; think tank; university teaching; university research; social actor; network; promotional program; university level of education; empirical research; method; case study; educational program
Classification Training, Teaching and Studying, Professional Organizations of Education and Pedagogics; Macroanalysis of the Education System, Economics of Education, Educational Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
City Berlin
Page/Pages 65 p.
Series Opuscula, 85
ISSN 1868-1840
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works