Wednesday, March 28, 2018: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM
Sulivan (InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile)
European universities, like their counterparts elsewhere, have been significantly reshaped by the challenges of globalization. Governments have paid increasing attention to higher education policy and to questions of institutional governance as universities have come to be seen as critical drivers of economic and social development in the “knowledge economy.” At the same time, the academic sector itself has seen the emergence of an increasingly competitive global environment as scientific production has been globalized and a culture of rankings has assumed a progressively more prominent place in defining institutional, national and international organization strategies. Reflecting these developments, higher education systems in many European countries have been subject to an “autonomy/accountability two-step,” whereby universities have been given greater organizational autonomy in return for the imposition of externally defined accountability arrangements. Such arrangements raise important questions as regards internal balances of power and the character of decision-making processes, often empowering central administrations at the potential expense of traditional precepts of both collective academic self-governance and individual academic freedom. This institutional evolution has been the subject of a rich empirical literature at the national level, as well as giving rise to many often spirited critiques. Relatively less work has, however, been done within rigorously comparative public policy frameworks. As part of a wider international project, this panel addresses this gap, interrogating how differing “autonomies” have been historically constructed and latterly reconstructed by processes of reform across a broad spectrum of national cases.
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