Project

Modernisation of Higher Education Institutions through enhancement of Human Resources Management function (HRMinHEI)

The purpose of the project is the strengthening of Human Resources Management in higher education institutions and the development of innovative self-assessment tools for benchmarking Human Resources Management.

The Croatian Agency for Science and Higher Education is the project leader of the project HRMinHEI co-funded by the Erasmus + programme, in partnership with higher education institutions from Croatia and Europe: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Rijeka and University College Algebra from Croatia, Danube University Krems from Austria and University of Tampere from Finland.

Rationale

Analysis of existing policy documents in all three project partner countries, other European Area of Higher Education (EHEA) countries and at the European level shows that there is a strong need to encourage and support Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in developing more significantly their human resources management (HRM) systems in order to both improve their organizational efficiency and competitive ability.

In this perspective, the project directly responds to the 2011 EU Modernisation Agenda’s key policy issues, which state that enabling better working conditions including transparent and fair recruitment procedures, introduction of incentives for HEIs to invest in continuous professional development for their staff, and better recognition and reward of teaching and research excellence is essential to ensure that Europe produces, attracts and retains the high quality academic staff it needs. The project also aims to contribute to the first goal of Yerevan Communique (2015) stating that it is essential to recognize and support quality  teaching,  and  to  provide  opportunities  for  enhancing  academics’  teaching competences.

Revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) published by ENQA in 2015 state the importance of staff recruitment process and conditions of employment that recognise the importance of teaching as well as emphasise the importance of opportunities for professional development of teaching staff that encourages innovation in teaching methods and promotion of student-centred learning.

The High level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education, in its report to the European Commission on Improving the quality of teaching and learning in Europe’s higher education institutions (June 2013), has mapped out pathways for improving quality in teaching and learning and to this end has formulized 16 recommendations, several of which are directly related to the HEIs’ human resources management processes such as:

Recommendation 5: Academic staff entrance, progression and promotion decisions should take account of an assessment of teaching performance alongside other factors.

Recommendation 6: Heads of institutions and institutional leaders should recognise and reward (e.g. through fellowships or awards) higher education teachers who make significant contribution to improving the quality of teaching and learning, whether through their practice, or through their research into teaching and learning.

In the light of these detected needs and existing policy guidance at the European level, the project is designed in a way to promote and contribute to the modernization of higher education institutions through enhancement of their operating processes in the domain of human resources management.

The project has gathered four HEIs from three participating countries and one Quality Assurance agency in higher education in order to prepare a set of intellectual outputs which would support these new developments to both participating and ‘non-participating’ HEIs across Europe. The partners were chosen to represent both ‘advanced’ and ‘learning’ countries which still need to make progress in the development of HRM and / or are committed to enhancing their fairly new practices of HRM. The choice of academic partners from three countries was motivated by their significant role in the international and national higher education systems, as well as in strategic policy developments. In choosing the project partners, attention was also paid to cover different perspectives, and therefore included both private and public HEIs, representing in this way a mix of possible methodologies for putting an efficient HRM system in place.

Objectives

  • To increase HEIs’ global competitiveness by improving their efficiency and effectiveness through enhancement of their organizational development.
  • To encourage and improve HEIs’ contribution to economic growth and social development by enhancing the quality and relevance of human capital development in higher education.
  • To stimulate excellence of European HEIs staff through appropriate academic human resources management.
  • To foster further development of EHEA by adding to existing communication channels and mutual exchange of sound practices.

Outputs

  • Work package 1 – National level
    1. Overview of recent national policy developments in regard to HRM in HEIs within European higher education
    2. Report on organizational diagnostic survey at HEIs in participating countries
    3. Guidelines for developing HRM in HEIs in Croatia
  • Work package 2 – Organizational level
    4. Toolkits on development and implementation of HRM processes at each partner HEI
  • Work package 3 – European level
    5. Online self-assessment tool as an Open Educational Resource (OER) for benchmarking university HRM processes