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Trust beyond metrics in European higher education

Monday 13 December 12.30-14.15


Note: The session will be will be off-line with the audience limited to conference participants.


Organisers: Krystian Szadkowski (Adam Mickiewicz University), Tim Seidenschnur (University of Kassel), and Jakub Krzeski (Adam Mickiewicz University) 


Contemporary universities use metrics not only to govern themselves internally but also to build trust amongst various stakeholders – from students, policymakers to local and international communities. However, reducing relations of trust merely to productivity and efficiency is limiting and has severe effects. Far from being neutral tools providing transparency and accountability to the publicly funded sector, quantification of higher education and governing it by numbers turned out to be a powerful mechanism reshaping the institutional landscape. As has been repeatedly argued, quantification causes negative effects, such as acceleration of academic labour, increasing competition, “publish or perish” pressures, marginalisation of hard to quantify activities, prioritisation of research over teaching, precarization of the academic workforce and even impacting research topics scientists are willing to pursue.


Having recognized those harmful effects, some higher education institutions are pursuing a different route that leads to alternative strategies for generating trust beyond metrics. This panel will discuss the rationale behind these alternatives and the potential for promoting them in the higher education landscape in Europe. Those alternatives will be discussed with reference to three institutional case studies.  


There will be three presentations of 15 minutes each. Three 10-minute interventions will follow and a discussion of 15 minutes will conclude the panel.


  • On trust - Tim Seidenschnur (University of Kassel)
  • Trust & metrics - Jakub Krzeski (Adam Mickiewicz University)
  • Cases of non-metric-oriented trust-building practices of European Universities - Krystian Szadkowski (Adam Mickiewicz University)