Thursday, February 10, 2011

Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) annual conference will convene 22-24 May 2011 in Vienna, Austria

The following announcement about the upcoming 2011 Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) annual conference is mostly a copy and past job from a recent SECUSS-L post by Laura Rumbley, Deputy Director of ACA and I am reposting with her permission.  While I am not a member and have not attended an ACA conference (not yet anyway!) I have been a fan of what they have been doing in the field and have been following their work for many, many years.

The ACA 2011 Annual Conference will convene 22-24 May 2011 in Vienna, Austria. This event will present an outstanding roster of speakers providing unparalleled insight into the conference’s highly compelling theme: “The excellence imperative. World-class aspirations and real-world needs”.

FEATURED SPEAKERS (among others):

*  Jamil Salmi (coordinator of tertiary education for the World Bank)
*  Hans de Wit (Professor of Internationalisation and Special Senior Policy Advisor International at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands)
*  Eva Egron-Polak (Secretary General of the International Association of Universities)
*  Helga Nowotny (President of the European Research Council)
*  Ellen Hazelkorn (Vice President Research and Enterprise, and Dean of the Graduate Research School, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland)

DESCRIPTION:  Recent years have witnessed the emergence of a new paradigm: that of the world-class university.  The paradigm is closely linked to the parallel emergence of international institutional rankings and league tables, which rely heavily on criteria almost exclusively related to research, mostly in the ‘hard’ sciences.  But higher education institutions around the world differ immensely in mission and activity focus, and only some of them are truly research-led. Teaching-focused universities and colleges, the vast majority of higher education institutions, almost by definition fail to qualify as “world-class” in this sense, because they aspire to other forms of excellence than those measured by international rankings.

This conference will explore the question of what makes an excellent university or college. In doing so, it will consider not only the research function of higher education, but also its educational role – teaching and learning – and manifold OTHER functions and missions, such as higher education’s role in maintaining and building civil society, in addressing today’s global challenges, and in international cooperation, amongst others. In other words, it is intended to seek to identify different forms of excellence, geared to different aspirations.

TARGET AUDIENCE:  ACA seminars typically attract university leaders, and program and department directors, as well as a smaller number of higher education scholars, researchers, policymakers and graduate students interested in international higher education issues.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The full program, list of speakers, and registration details can be consulted via the conference website here.  Specific enquires may be directed to

ABOUT ACA:  ACA is a think tank-like organization focused on international higher education issues mostly, although not exclusively, in Europe. We also serve as a membership organization, currently with some 18 institutional members, all national-level agencies active in internationalization policy spheres and programming. The British Council, DAAD, Nuffic, CampusFrance, figure among our members, and IIE in the US is an associate member. ACA also produces a monthly newsletter (“ACA Newsletter – Education Europe”) and an occasional book series, the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education. In terms of events, in addition to the annual conference, ACA organizes a European Policy Seminar (EPS) series every year, typically comprised of four one-day events in Brussels. Our next EPS event will be held on 18 March 2011, under the title “Brazil, India, Russia, China. Key points on the European higher education compass?”

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your blog topic concerning what makes an university truly world-class is that is must be research-driven instead of teacher-focused. I recently watched a "Learning Happens" video on higher education in Qatar. A female college instructor was stressing how some students may attain a bachelor's degree, but if you don't have knowledge of the subject of study, you are not truly educated in that field. Basically, we need to focus more on how education can help you learn instead of how to get a good job or higher salary...