ERG SES D 06, Europe and Education
Universities undergo currently significant changes that are often summarized under terms such as globalization (Beck, 1997), marketization of higher education and new public management (Ball, 2008). It is often argued that the competition for human and financial resources and the emphasis on economic variables within the university system endanger academic values as the shift from an ‘education for democracy’ towards an ‘education for profit’ happened (Nussbaum, 2010).
With the decline of public funding and major policy changes due to economic crises, new demands from the private sector, the massification of higher education and the Bologna process universities have to adopt new strategies to become sustainable institutions (Smerek, 2010). They are pressured to modernize themselves and successfully manage the transition of becoming a competitive organization capable of securing their position on a global market place. Furthermore, they are perceived as key organization in maintaining and advancing the economic and social prosperity of their nation state, their region and their community (Maguire, 2010).
Balancing new demands with more traditional academic values like a humanistic approach towards education, academic freedom and university autonomy is often a complex and not straightforward process. Even though, modernization is a necessity most universities are described as conservative institution that are reluctant for change (Ridder-Symoens, 2002). However, universities have to change in order to secure an adequate education of their students that makes them compatible on the job market and sustain high quality research and innovation.
Universities are not an entity but depend on the individuals working and studying in them. The academic is truly one of the main stakeholders within the university as an organization as s/he often survives different student populations. Being part of one organization over a longer period of time allows academics to reflect on changes within their own institution and environment. Becoming member of a certain kind of institution involves also the dispute with a particular set of values and norms inherent in the organization (Augoustinos et al, 2006). This set of values and norms could be also referred to as the tradition of university. The academic itself hence has to adopt to this tradition but is also able to push change by changing his/her own actions, behavior and speech. In other words, academic do poses agency within universities (Best & Patterson, 2010).
This paper tries to reflect on the struggle to transit between tradition and modernization from the perspective of academics. Academics on the one hand, have to deal with these changes and on the other hand, are able to influence and re-construct these changes. Answering the question
How do academics perceive the process of balancing traditional academic values and modernization?
will give an insight into the changes that universities not only in Europe face due to globalization and the introduction of neoliberal discourses in higher education.
The research question can be broken down in the following sub-questions:
1) What are the major changes in higher education from the perspective of academics at the University of Bologna?
2) How do they experience these changes?
3) Where do they see chances for modernization?
4) Where do they want to preserve traditional values?
5) How do they see the future of universities?
The objectives of this paper are to:
1) Depict changes in higher education that have a direct impact on the work of academics at the University of Bologna.
2) Evaluate how these academics resist or bring forward change.
3) Examine prospects and dangers of traditional values.
4) Examine prospects and dangers of modernization.
5) Evaluate how these academics try to balance the long tradition of their university with the demand for change.
Augoustinos M., Walker I. & Donaghue N. (2006). Social Cognition: An Integrated Introduction (2nd Ed.). Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC: SAGE Publications Ball, J. S. (2008). The education debate: Policy and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Bristol: The Policy Press. Beck, U. (1997). Was ist Globalisierung? (3rd ed.). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Best, J. & M. Patterson (eds.). 2010. Critical Cultural Political Economy. London: Routledge. Braun, V., & Clark, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 25(1), 77-101. Maguire, M. (2010). Towards a Sociology of the Global Teacher. In M. Apple, W., J. Ball, Stephen & L. Gandin, A. (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Education (pp. 58-68). London, New York: Routledge. Nussbaum, M., C. (2010). Not for profit. Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press. Punch, K., F. (2005). Introduction to Social Research – Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: SAGE Publications. Ridder-Symoens, H. (2002). The intellectual heritage of ancient universities in Europe. In N. Sanz & S. Bergan (Eds.), The heritage of European universities (pp. 77-87). Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing. Smerek, R., E. (2010). Cultural Perspectives of Academia: Toward a Model of Cultural Complexity. In J. Smart, C. (Ed.), Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research (pp. 381-423). Dorecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.