"What Works" in Higher Education


The OECD Higher Education Programme (IMHE) organises a series of international events on various aspects of institutional management. These events are designed to assist member institutions by reviewing current policy and practice and by disseminating examples of successful innovation. They provide professional development for participants, and can lead to the publication of reports and/or the creation of informal networks.


Contact: imhe@oecd.org





"What Works" conference for IMHE Members on Higher education, entrepreneurship and innovation, 20-21 November 2014, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.

Contact: imhe@oecd.org


"What Works" conference for IMHE Members on Fostering quality teaching in higher education: How to maximise the added value of the student experience?, 8-9 April 2014, OECD Headquarters, Paris, with Fabrice Hénard, Learning Avenue. For the conference report, IMHE members should contact imhe@oecd.org



"What Works" Conference on Internationalisation for Job Creation and Economic Growth: Increasing Coherence of Government and System Policies at a Time of Global Crisis, 12-13 April 2012, New York City, organised with the State University of New York

This conference examined the key role multiple actors play together in tackling the effects of the global financial crisis and fostering recovery policies, especially job creation, innovation, and wealth generation.


Contact: Fabrice.Henard@oecd.org 




A conference on Managing Quality Teaching in Higher Education took place on 5-6 December 2011 at CETYS University, Mexicali, Mexico. The Conference reflected on the findings of the IMHE institutional reviews on quality teaching (underway) and discussed broader issues on institution-wide and national policies supporting quality of teaching and learning in higher education. Contact: Fabrice.henard@oecd.org


Go here for more information on the Conference.



A conference was held at Istanbul Technical University on 12-13 October 2009, and was entitled, "Quality Teaching in Higher Education". It examined ways in which quality teaching can be improved and the main constraints.



A seminar was held in Paris on 3-4 September 2007 on Supporting Success and Productivity: Practical Tools for Making Your University a Great Place to Work.
The conference showcased important new practical employee support and research initiatives, addressed the practical forms interventions might take, and how academic institutions can promote a healthier balance between life inside and outside work.



The August 2006 seminar attracted around 100 participants and looked at "Governing Bodies of Higher Education Institutions: Roles and Responsibilities". The changing patterns of governance formed the framework for the seminar. The focus was on top level institutional governance, where much has changed in the last decade. The keynote speaker was Alan Larsson, former Minister of Sweden.



The August 2005 seminar focused on human resource management. Many IMHE member institutions were represented, among them, more than 200 participants in the latest "What works - best practice" conference.
There were presentations on a wide range of HR issues, including:

  • recruiting and retaining a new generation of academics
  • negotiating labour relations
  • improving diversity
  • stimulating productivity, and
  • evaluating performance and remuneration systems.

The highlight of the conference for many was the presentation by the former head of human resources at Harvard University, Ms Polly Price, who started by asking whether professionals from the corporate world could succeed as managers in higher education.


The remainder of the 40 plenary speakers and contributors to workshops came from OECD member countries and elsewhere, including Malaysia, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Argentina.



The seminar held in Paris in August 2004 attracted 110 participants. Its theme, “Communicating in Higher Education – Image and Reality”, addressed how various audiences (all of those in contact with an institution, be they students, financial authorities or staff) view the impact of the image projected by higher education institutions. Aside from being part of an institution's broader strategy, image and communication are essential in recruiting students and staff as well as for funding and assessing quality.


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