Quality in higher education

four students sitting on the lawn at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Key higher education officials, scholars and experts from throughout the Asia-Pacific region will meet in Honolulu Aug. 4–6 to discuss the issue of higher education quality at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference on Quality in Higher Education, organized by the University of Hawaiʻi System in cooperation with the East-West Center.

Economic growth and development in the Asia-Pacific region depend on the quality of education and training available, and higher education is central to building capacity, equity, access, and an ability to adapt to rapid and profound economic change. Defining and identifying quality, and seeking to assure it, are a challenge in higher education.

Eduardo Ochoa headshot

Eduardo Ochoa

Participants from 20 of the 21 APEC economies will discuss this issue, including how to identify, develop and sustain best practices throughout the APEC region. Eduardo Ochoa, assistant secretary for postsecondary education for the U.S. Department of Education, will be the featured luncheon speaker on Thursday, Aug. 4.

“The issue of quality in higher education is very important and it’s a topic of intense focus right now by higher education institutions and organizations around the globe,” said UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. “It’s important because as we look into the future, our students are going to be operating in a much more global arena, and universities will be providing leadership roles on issues with global implications, such as health, infectious diseases, climate change, disaster preparedness and much more.”

Representatives from universities, government agencies and international associations will present papers on quality and quality assurance, university rankings, case studies and best practices from the APEC region and economies, and the globally competitive university. Speakers on the agenda represent Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.

“The University of Hawaiʻi is already recognized as a national and international leader in many areas of global significance, especially within the Asia-Pacific region, and we’d like to expand our efforts and build more strategic alliances with universities and government agencies,” said Greenwood. “This conference is a step in this direction. We’re honored to serve as organizer for this meeting of our colleagues from the various APEC economies and to set the stage for international discussion and collaboration leading up to APEC Leaders’ Week in Honolulu in November.”

In addition to Ochoa, other high profile speakers from the United States include Ralph Wolff, president and executive director of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges of the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities; and senior project consultants for the conference John Hawkins, emeritus professor of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and Deane Neubauer, emeritus professor of political science at UH Mānoa.

The Honolulu discussions are intended to establish an ongoing network for discussion and continued development of best practices and sustainability within national and local higher education environments in the APEC region.

This APEC Higher Education Quality project is an activity of the Education Network of APEC’s Human Resources Development Working Group. The goal of APEC’s education activities is to foster strong and vibrant learning systems across APEC member economies; promote education for all; and strengthen the role of education in promoting social, individual, economic and sustainable development.

Download a factsheet 397KB PDF or an interview with conference advisor Deane Neubauer 266KB PDF, prepared as part of a a project by UH economics students project.