Enhancing Academic Quality and Collegial Control: Insights from US Policy on the Ethical Conduct of Human Subjects’ Research

Original Article


Government initiatives and regulations intended to assure academic quality have been implemented in many countries over the last 25 years. Because of reservations about the effectiveness of these externally oriented policies, they have undergone continual change and adaptation. A number of countries are now experimenting with internally oriented policies focusing on the reform or “enhancement” of a university’s own collegial processes for assuring academic quality in teaching and student learning. During these same years many developed countries also implemented national policies regulating human subjects’ research within their universities. What might be learned from the experience with national policies on human subjects’ research that could help inform the design of more effective national policies intended to improve and enhance the quality of education within universities? This question is explored through an analysis of the development of US policy on human subjects’ research as well as its implementation and impacts at a major American research university.


academic quality assurance university policy higher education policy human subjects’ research policy 



I am indebted to Professors Maarja Beerkens, Larry Churchill, Mary Henkel, James Kehoe, Douglas MacKay, Daniel Nelson, John Nelson, and Dr. Elizabeth Kipp Campbell as well as two anonymous journal reviewers for their advice on the development of this paper. I remain solely responsible for the arguments presented.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public PolicyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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