ABSTRACT Ethiopia is one of the highly populated and economically very poor African countries. Like many other countries, Ethiopia too expects education, specifically higher education to influence its development effort. It is with such expectation that its expenditure in higher education is ever increasing and a number of “same” kind of institutions are being built. Nevertheless, the country still lags behind even by Sub Saharan standard both in research production and researcher population.
There has been dilemma about how the national higher education system can satisfy the ever-increased expectation of a nation. One area of this dilemma has been on the issue of differentiation like having nation’s flagship institutions. However this issue hasn’t been addressed from Ethiopian perspective so far. For this reason, it is the purpose of this study to look into the creation of Research Excellence University (REU) in a way to create diversity in the system. Thus, the study explores how teaching, learning and research are conceptualized in REU. In addition, it also characterizes how REU is organized, financed and interacted with industry.
Qualitative study has been pursued. It is solely based on document content analysis of selected four highly excellent research universities found in US and UK namely: University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of California-Berkley and Harvard University.
Previous studies have confirmed that differentiation is a natural process and often elaborated in light of natural law. Nevertheless, to create REU at this point requires speeding up the evolutionary process.
To speed up the process; government has to legitimize, finance and encourage competitiveness. At the same time, a REU should has to make sure among other things that: Merit prevails in recruiting staffs and students; Use finance to upgrade infrastructure and perform quality research; It has to incorporate teaching technology and student independent learning; More institutional autonomy, academic freedom, participatory leadership are in place; Furthermore, the environment support peer review and publication as well as involve undergraduate in research; Lastly, it need forging a closer link of university research with entrepreneurs and industry through spin off companies, Science Park and Technology Transfer Offices.
Major word: Excellence, research university, research and differentiation