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Humanities 2015, 4(1), 109-117; doi:10.3390/h4010109

Integrity and Quality in Universities: Accountability, Excellence and Success

Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, CB3 9DA Cambridge, UK
Academic Editor: Cinzia Ferrini
Received: 4 November 2014 / Revised: 4 December 2014 / Accepted: 16 December 2014 / Published: 4 February 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [177 KB, uploaded 4 February 2015]

Abstract

The essay focuses on the tension between the integrity of a university’s ideal or mission (academic freedom, innovation, excellence in research and teaching) and approaches to accountability that are used to monitor performance and to establish criteria for university funding. The paper examines evaluation systems and the distorting effects of the incentives some of them create, especially when different metrics are combined in order to rank academic institutions. Such league tables prioritise comparative success rather than excellence, which is not a positional good. Yet better forms of accountability are possible. Some simple aspects of academic and educational achievements can be measured reasonably accurately and are less open to manipulation. These include hours of study, standards of writing, and the amount of feedback on written work received by students. View Full-Text
Keywords: university accountability; metrics and quality control; rankings; excellence and success; informed and independent judgment in accountability university accountability; metrics and quality control; rankings; excellence and success; informed and independent judgment in accountability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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O'Neill, O. Integrity and Quality in Universities: Accountability, Excellence and Success. Humanities 2015, 4, 109-117.

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