Center For Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) is an interdisciplinary research-institute at the University of Twente, in the Netherlands. It is one of the leading centres in the field of higher education (HE) policy internationally. Since 1984, CHEPS has published an extensive range of research on HE especially at system and institutional levels and has co-ordinated major research and policy projects at a European level. One of the goals of CHEPS is to contribute to the identification of practically relevant answers to the challenges confronting HE systems and institutions through an interaction between basic and applied research and disseminating and sharing expertise via a range of education, training and consultancy activities. Particular fields of expertise include higher education governance, finance, quality assurance and research policy.
CHEPS’s basic research is aligned on the current situation of higher education institutions in society. A multitude of demands are placed on HE today. Demands from students, businesses, governments, communities, NGOs, etc. Universities and other higher education institutions (HEIs) are not just expected to produce highly skilled graduates and world-class research, but also to contribute to solving some of the Grand Challenges of our societies. Where tasks and demands are multiplying, HEIs run the risk of becoming overloaded and have to operate strategically. They need capacity to respond, adequate resources, as well as sufficient room to move. Stakeholders in their environment (in particular government, students, business) enable and co-determine how HEIs function, how they differentiate their services and how well they can carry out their role in meeting demands and creating public value. Examples of research projects CHEPS is carrying out include studies about quality assurance, social engagement, the third mission of universities (next to their teaching and research missions), and studies on the construction and effects of rankings (e.g. U-Multirank). CHEPS continues studying effects and impacts of public programmes shaping the authorising environment for HEIs and their students. It also researches the academic profession, the professionalization of the university’s support staff, resource allocation issues and at what makes an entrepreneurial university. In recent years, CHEPS has been very active in studying policies that aim to support processes of specialisation and differentiation in higher education to avoid mission overload. Our ambition is to keep combining state-of-the-art insights in public sector reform with our vast empirical knowledge of higher education.
Alongside basic research, CHEPS has a strong focus on externally funded research and training and consultancy activities. Internationally, CHEPS works with a wide variety of contractors including the Higher Education Founding Council for England (HEFCE), Rector’s Conferences and higher education agencies, as well as organisations like the German Research Council, EU, Ford Foundation and OECD. Within the Netherlands, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) the main research funder. CHEPS’s international visibility is evidenced by its leadership and involvement in European research consortia and a European Network of Excellence, and important functions in organisations (e.g. CHER, EAIR, OECD/IMHE, SRHE, and UNESCO). CHEPS staff are members of more than a dozen editorial boards of international journals and book series and serve in a number of international advisory boards nationally and internationally.