Rethinking the quality of universities -- How can human development thinking contribute?

Alejandra Boni y Des Gasper
Journal of Human Development and Capabilities

University quality and its measurement have been strongly on the agenda of university policy since the 1980s. There is no consensus about what a good university is, but increasingly priority has been given to a narrow focus on contribution to supporting economic production and growth, as part of an economy- and market-centred conception of society. We argue that a human development approach is also very often relevant in educational policy and evaluation and can assist us to define and characterize a good university. From the following core values of human development – well-being, participation and empowerment, equity and diversity, and sustainability – we propose a list of dimensions for a human development orientation in research, teaching, social engagement and university governance, and then discuss the implications of these values and how they can be used in evaluation and steering of universities’ work.