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The Study on the Competitive Grant and the Development of Higher Education Institutions-Taking the Teaching Excellence Project as an Example
the Program for Promoting Excellence in Teaching in Higher Education
institutional governance in higher education
Many efforts have been made to promote and sustain higher education excellence in Taiwan as higher education has become increasingly competitive across the nations. Given there are limited funding resources, one of the most effective policy strategies is to use competitive grants. The aim of this dissertation is to analyze the effectiveness of using a competitive grant strategy, The Program for Promoting Excellence in Teaching in Higher Education (hereafter the Teaching Excellence), as a policy tool for higher education in Taiwan. Specifically, this dissertation examines (1) the impacts of the Teaching Excellence on higher education institutions and (2) reactions of the institutions in addressing the Teaching Excellence competitive project. The goal is to understand how a competitive grant was received and implemented from the perspective of higher education institutions. This study adopted a multiple-case research approach. Interviews and documentary analysis were used for data collection. These methods were used to gain insights into different strategies that higher education institutions used when applying for the Teaching Excellence, and the process and the experience of program implementation after they received funding. Purposive sampling and snowball sampling were both used to invite interviewees, including administrators, faculty and staff in higher education institutions, with a total of 25 interviewees from 11 universities. There are three main findings. First, the goal and some substance of the Teaching Excellence need changes. Because teaching is one of the core missions of universities, it is not a proper goal of the competitive grant. Therefore, a higher education institute that is awared with the Teaching Excellence grant should be acknowledged as a distinctive educational insititute. Moreover, the Teaching Excellence should include an ongoing and evidence-based evaluation system that examines the fidelity and outcome of the program implementation. Having a systemic guideline isnecessary to increase the effectiveness of the Teaching Excellence project. Second, due to the comeptietive nature of this type of the grant, there are a limitations. The competitive grant is awarded through a contest, which implies a form of exclusion. In order to win the grant constantly over other institutions, universities were hesitant about sharing successful experiences with the public. This phenomenon has led to the limited dissemination of a successful model. Lastly, the findings of Teaching Excellence show an impact on the governance and development of higher education institutions, especially in the aspect of accreditation, funding calendars, and evaluation. Although universities experience some internal and external challenges as they seek out the funding, they strive to find solutions, which most solutions pertain to making internal changes, and create effective strategic plans to win the grant. This study also provides recommendations for policymakers and higher education institutions based on findings.
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