Governance of Portuguese Universities Within European Higher Education: Nova University Lisbon Experience

Governance of Portuguese Universities Within European Higher Education: Nova University Lisbon Experience

António Rendas (Nova University Lisbon, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7441-5.ch012

Abstract

National legislation for higher education that was introduced in 2007 by the Portuguese Government changed the higher education governance model into a more centralized system with increased institutional autonomy. This allowed for a better strategic planning process that was more able to respond to society needs and, in public university foundations, gave rectors a stronger leadership role supported by a general council and by a board of trustees. A decade later, the overall autonomy scores of Portuguese universities when compared with those from other European countries according to academic, financial, organizational, and staffing (senior) criteria showed better Portuguese performance when compared with most Southern and Central European countries. This pattern remained stable between 2011 and 2016. Changes that occurred at Nova University, Lisbon, are described as a case stud to exemplify the effects of this new governance model on the sustainability of long-term strategic planning and its management.
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Background

More than ten years have passed since the publication of a new national legislative HE framework in Portugal. This legislative package included not only a new legal regime of autonomy and governance for HEIs, but also the application of the Bologna Process nationwide, with the consequence of full inclusion and recognition of Portuguese HE degrees in the European Higher Education Area (EHA), while establishing, at the same time, the National Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES). In addition, academic careers were also reviewed, allowing for international recruitment in an attempt to reduce the existent high levels of endogamy.

Two years before, in 2005, as a background to the publication of the legislative package, the Portuguese Government requested the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to perform a global analysis and evaluation of the HE system based on the following reference terms: (i) the role of HE in stimulating students to acquire knowledge in the context of diversified environments such as those that occur in the knowledge society, including lifelong learning, in the globalization era. At the national level the need was pointed out for increased contributions to social cohesion and equity, while maintaining the cultural identity of the country; (ii) a focus on strategic management procedures and the related specific structures in the development of teaching and learning, research and development, investment, finance and internationalization.

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