Transforming Universities for the Digital Age - Policies – Business Models – Resources

Eva Szalma


Higher education systems in the European Union are operating in an increasingly fast-changing and competitive environment. They have to tackle key issues dealing with massification, career guidance, cost-efficiency, international attractiveness, student mobility. At a more operational level, digital practices and technologies support the change of several aspects of higher education institutions and new players providing expertise and methodologies undermine the classical model of university as a leading knowledge producer and disseminator.

Such major transformations require modern governance arrangements and dynamic leadership. As outlined in the EU Modernization Agenda of Higher Education (2011), the major bottleneck found is the staff competence and preparedness, more specifically at the institutional leadership and executive management level.

The interest for e-learning is not new but contrary to the obvious interest for equipment or management, this has not been enough for e-learning to impose itself. As stated by Paul Bacsich (2011) the presence of ICT in universities is a reality but the education transformation has not yet taken place. So far, initiatives are generally focused on operational (managerial) aspects. The D-TRANSFORM project starting in 2014 and ending in 2017[1] was the first European-funded project focusing on the fundamental strategic aspects of digital innovation of Higher Education. Through leadership schools, MOOCs, guidelines and stat-of-the-art reports it helped university governing bodies to define their own digital strategies and coordinate them with public policies defined at the European/national level and to be able to plan e-education according to the university needs and profile.

[1] DigiTal Resources As a New Strategic FactOr for a Renovation and Modernization in HE

Type: Initiative supported by the ERASMUS+(2014- 2017)

Budget: 1 M$

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