Comparative Governance of Higher Education Institutions in the German Federal States (VerGHiL)

Start of the project: 01-Jan-2019 - End of the project: 31-Dec-2020

In a feasibility study to be carried out in 2019 and 2020, the DZHW is investigating the establishment of an infrastructure for long-term, comparative observation of developments in the field of university governance in the German federal states. This would meet the information needs of both academics dealing with issues of higher education governance and science policy actors at federal, state, and higher education level who are involved in steering and service tasks. Since continuous monitoring has not been carried out yet, the relevant information is currently available only in scattered form and not systematically processed for use. A document portal could provide not only a systematic observation of the legal framework, the management, and governance tools used, but also of the competencies and influence potential of the actors involved, thus, enabling inter-state comparisons.

In the first stage, the information needs of potential users will be surveyed. To this end, a workshop with scientists working in the field was held in September 2019. Further members of this user group will be interviewed in February/March within the framework of the survey. Expert discussions with the representatives of the responsible state ministries are planned for the first half of 2020 to determine their needs for information on governance in the states. As a result, the project will, among other things, provide an overview of the research landscape in the field of higher education governance and survey the information and data needs of the relevant actors for the use of such a research infrastructure, which is yet to be established.

In parallel, conceptual work on the relevant document types, the possible search functions supported by the portal and based on metadata as well as the possibilities of integrating content-analytical evaluation tools (e.g. text mining) is being carried out in close cooperation with the RDC of the DZHW. The basis of the document portal to be conceived within the VerGHiL project is a document collection already existing in the DZHW and created within different working contexts. It contains, among other things, state higher education laws (including drafts, statements, and expert opinions), documents on state higher education development, documents on higher education funding, higher education contracts and pacts, as well as documents on federal higher education policy (Higher Education Framework Law, printed materials of the Bundestag and Bundesrat). The present collection contains about 6,000 documents and currently covers the period from 2002 to 2018.

Lead Researcher

Axel Oberschelp
Dr. Axel Oberschelp Lead Researcher +49 511 450670-348


Thorben Sembritzki