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Is there a crisis of trust in universities? CIHE/SRHE Consultation Trust, Accountability and the Is there a crisis of trust in universities? CIHE/SRHE Consultation Trust, Accountability and the World to Come St George’s House, Windsor Castle, 22 -23 April 2010 Rob Cuthbert Professor of Higher Education Management University of the West of England rob. [email protected] ac. uk http: //www. uwe. ac. uk/groups/campus/index. shtml

What is the problem? • Managing in an atmosphere of distrust • Worldwide concern What is the problem? • Managing in an atmosphere of distrust • Worldwide concern • Quality: everything and nothing? • Audit culture –v- self-regulation • Private and public

 “We set detailed performance targets for public bodies, but are complacent about the “We set detailed performance targets for public bodies, but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception. ” O’Neill (2002: viii)

Trust, accountability … • Trust and accountability • Audit and self-regulation • Getting the Trust, accountability … • Trust and accountability • Audit and self-regulation • Getting the balance right depends on: – Better mutual understanding – Better connections between policy and practice – Better communication

… and the world to come • • • The nature of trust Trust … and the world to come • • • The nature of trust Trust in public bodies HE and the state How does HE change? The opportunity we have now Diagnosis rather than prescription

The nature of trust n. Belief: Confidence in a person or plan Certainty: based The nature of trust n. Belief: Confidence in a person or plan Certainty: based on past experience Trait: believing in others’ honesty/reliability v. Believe … expect … extend credit to … allow without fear …confer a trust upon … expect and wish

The nature of trust • • • Charitable: trust Professional: trust me, I’m a The nature of trust • • • Charitable: trust Professional: trust me, I’m a doctor Social: trussst in me … Domestic: can I trust you to … Financial: too trusting? A two-edged concept

The nature of trust • Social and technological changes systematically dismantle trust, which needs The nature of trust • Social and technological changes systematically dismantle trust, which needs to be reconstructed (Misztal) • Confidence –v- trust (Luhmann) • Vicious circle of anxiety and suspicion • Reputation is the key to trust (Dasgupta)

The nature of trust “. . . trust (or symmetrically, distrust) is a particular The nature of trust “. . . trust (or symmetrically, distrust) is a particular level of the subjective probability with which an agent assesses that another agent or group of agents will perform a particular action, both before he can monitor such action (or independently of his capacity ever to be able to monitor it) and in a context in which it affects his own action. ” (Gambetta: 216, emphasis in original).

Trust in public bodies • High profile cases: MPs’ expenses • Election debate: public Trust in public bodies • High profile cases: MPs’ expenses • Election debate: public spending = ‘waste’ • A once familiar narrative: private good, public bad. But: • More high profile cases: Worldcom, Enron • The world financial crisis

Trust in public bodies • A seeming irony: the public sector must pay for Trust in public bodies • A seeming irony: the public sector must pay for private excesses • But what is public, what is private? (Watson). • BAe, VT, Mouchel • U of Buckingham, BPP, Carter & Carter

Trust in public bodies Changing the narrative: • Not private or public, but: • Trust in public bodies Changing the narrative: • Not private or public, but: • Market or political/hierarchical choice? (Vickers) • Selective or comprehensive concerns? • Making a profit, or making a difference?

Trust in public bodies • The primacy of values and beliefs • Communication, and Trust in public bodies • The primacy of values and beliefs • Communication, and how mass media can distort perceptions and beliefs • Prejudice: public and private • Capitalism is comparatively scrupulous (Weber)

Trust in public bodies • New public management and the ‘perverse social defence’; the Trust in public bodies • New public management and the ‘perverse social defence’; the negative outcomes of managerialism and Performance Management • Virtual reality and the ‘auditable surface’ • “… the further removed the observer (ie managers, policymakers, politicians) is from the reality of the frontline the more they are likely to be taken in by the illusion they themselves have been instrumental in creating. ” (Hoggett) • There is nothing a manager wants done which cannot be undone by educated subordinates

Higher education and the state • New public management: insightful analysis, but in HE, Higher education and the state • New public management: insightful analysis, but in HE, mostly a literature of whingeing • Academic capitalism: insights, but more whingeing (Bok) • League tables: condemnation and collusion; failures of managerial imagination • Breaking through the ‘auditable surface’: new communication, re-education not appeasement

How does HE change? • • Elite (3%) to mass to universal (40 -50%) How does HE change? • • Elite (3%) to mass to universal (40 -50%) <15 universities to >150 universities Unit costs down 80 -90% Funding from secret to transparent Modularisation, credit, e-learning Diversifying: staff and students The idea of the university: global context

How does HE change? QA for improvement or justification? Can we do both? If How does HE change? QA for improvement or justification? Can we do both? If so QA must: make a difference for students; be owned by HEIs; be relevant to HE’s purposes; promote diversity; be cyclical not sporadic; address standards; be done by peers, at subject or program level; contain international comparative measures; be reported in terms easily understood by a lay audience (Massaro)

How does HE change? The case of the RAE – Seems to meet many How does HE change? The case of the RAE – Seems to meet many of Massaro’s criteria – Improvement and justification? – Attacked, but then defended, why? – Problem with its uses as much as its methods – The devil we know – Self-regulation and peer review

How does HE change? • QA and the RAE: not seeing the wood for How does HE change? • QA and the RAE: not seeing the wood for the trees • We need to see academic practice as a whole, not as R and T, separately funded • The true meaning of ‘brand’ is the integrity of academic practice in corporate strategy • The integrity of the HE sector

The opportunity we have now • Let’s not waste a good crisis • HE The opportunity we have now • Let’s not waste a good crisis • HE has been trying too hard to be accountable, and not hard enough to be trustworthy • Less spending should mean less control, not more (anti Mandelson) • A trust dividend – really reducing the bureaucratic burden

The opportunity we have now To change the narrative/discourse: • Distrust in/ignorance of modern The opportunity we have now To change the narrative/discourse: • Distrust in/ignorance of modern higher education • a lack of understanding of ‘science’ (boffins) • academics deliberately obscure things (dons) • English anti-intellectualism • HE isn’t ‘worth it’ anymore, it’s not what it was • wider access means lower standards

Changing the discourse • • • Too many graduates, ‘non-graduate’ jobs Too many people Changing the discourse • • • Too many graduates, ‘non-graduate’ jobs Too many people fail UK plc is slipping; education is partly to blame New universities better off as polytechnics Vocational education is OK … for other people’s children (Wolf) • Academics don’t know when they’re well off

Tests for a new narrative Meet the global challenges of • Mission definition • Tests for a new narrative Meet the global challenges of • Mission definition • Funding structures and arrangements • Student engagement • Transparency and accountability • Ability to partner (Freedman)

So HE must: • • • Be willing to change Broaden vision to include So HE must: • • • Be willing to change Broaden vision to include schools/HEI axis Understand/improve student engagement Commit to change, be seen to change Improve assessment and accountability Involve staff and students, study what works best

Trust, accountability and the world to come. Let’s scrap: • • • The myth Trust, accountability and the world to come. Let’s scrap: • • • The myth of choice Targets, specifications, inspections Deliverology Obsession with ‘sharing back office services’ The Audit Commission The centralised regime that oversees the public sector (Middleton, Seddon)

Trust, accountability and the HE world to come • • • Avoid obsession with Trust, accountability and the HE world to come • • • Avoid obsession with elite universities Make HE policy less institution-focused End CUC-style KPI management Scrap programme specifications More trouble-shooting, less audit ‘Skills’ and ‘Quality’ not fit for purpose

Changing the narrative Main Street not Wall Street? • “The social responsibility of business Changing the narrative Main Street not Wall Street? • “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. ” (Friedman) • Mortgage meltdown: immoral but not illegal (Hirsch and Morris) • Making markets more moral: can HE catch a wave of change?

Changing the HE narrative • Management not managerialism • More ‘general educational character’, less Changing the HE narrative • Management not managerialism • More ‘general educational character’, less ‘mission’ • More openness, transparency, rigour, morality, ethical behaviour • Education not propaganda, for HE staff, governors, politicians, regulators, journalists, publics (eg Streeting and Wise)

Changing the narrative • Authenticity: “Universities are about habits of truth” (Blackburn) but Heidegger! Changing the narrative • Authenticity: “Universities are about habits of truth” (Blackburn) but Heidegger! Humility, the provisionality of knowledge. • Integrity and diversity of the HE sector; comprehensive not selective concern; make a difference for and to society

Trust, accountability and the world to come A trust dividend for a virtuous circle: Trust, accountability and the world to come A trust dividend for a virtuous circle: • more trust, leading to • better accountability, leading to • better higher education performance, leading to • more trust

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