U-Map, University Activity Profiles in Practice

Frans Kaiser*, Marike Faber, Ben Jongbloed

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    There is a large number of higher education institutions in Europe and their number and character are changing constantly. Expanding demand for higher education and changing national and European policies regarding the role of higher education and higher education institutions in society have contributed to a growing diversity of higher education providers and a growing need for information on who providers are and what services they provide. Given the overload of data on the internet and other information sources, there is a clear need for instruments that present the information on institutional activity in a meaningful and concise way. A growing number of transparency tools intend to do just that – a prominent example being the national and international rankings. Rankings try to capture the vertical external diversity in the field, but in doing so they have been subjected to heavy criticism as they reduce the information to simple league tables that do little or no justice to the complexity of what a higher education institution is and what it does. Rankings only concentrate on a restricted number of institutions and a very limited set of their various activities. In 2009, an alternative approach for enhancing transparency was presented: U-Map. U-Map is an instrument – a classification tool – designed for describing the horizontal external diversity while presenting a much broader view. The instrument was created after an intense and interactive process involving many of higher education’s stakeholders. A prototype of U-Map was presented in 2009. Since then, this classification instrument has been implemented in four countries, with additional countries to follow.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEuropean Higher Education at the Crossroads
    Subtitle of host publicationBetween the Bologna Process and National Reforms
    EditorsAdrian Curaj, Peter Scott, Lazăr Vlasceanu, Lesley Wilson
    Place of PublicationDordrecht
    ISBN (Electronic)978-94-007-3937-6
    ISBN (Print)978-94-017-7948-7, 978-94-007-3936-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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