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Doctoral Education’s Reform in Switzerland and Norway

A Public Management Analysis

Lukas Baschung

Since the beginning of the 21 st century, doctoral education has gained an increasingly important place on the reform agenda of higher education institutions and also at national and European policy levels. By paying particular attention to the characteristics and role of recently emerged Doctoral and Research Schools, this book examines on a broad empirical basis what this reform consists of in two small but scientifically and economically successful countries – Switzerland and Norway. This reform also raises the question to what extent power shifts take place regarding the doctoral process. Thus, does the «Thesis director» lose his or her power at the expense of other actors? Observed shifts are characterised through components of varying Public Management Narratives. In order to consider existing variety, case studies have been chosen on the basis of four variables – type of national political system, size and type of higher education institution and type of scientific discipline. This methodological framework allows not only illustrating variation in the reform process and its causes but also the development of a new University Governance Scheme.


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Introduction During the last decades, higher education has become an increasingly popular field of study among political and social scientists. This statement, which is illustrated for instance by the steadily higher number of specialised journals, might be explained by higher education’s growing relevance for economy and society at large, and perhaps also by the theoretical and analytical challenges that the complex field of higher education poses to researchers. However, political and social scientists have been studying higher education through political science’s three classical dimensions, that is to say polity, policy and politics. Higher education institutions (HEIs) – i.e. universities, colleges, polytechnics and other institutions at tertiary level – have often been in the centre of such analyses. Many scholars have been focusing on the question of how and by whom HEIs are governed (see e.g. Neave and van Vught 1991). On the basis of their analyses they developed models that should allow to qualify what is generally called University Governance. Among those models, “Clark’s Triangle” (Clark 1983) is the most famous and discussed one. Since then, further models have been developed, for instance by Braun and Merrien (1999), Musselin (2001) and de Boer, Enders and Schimank (2008). Those models are often elaborated on the basis of comparative or single case studies of countries which frequently focus on general patterns of polity and politics of higher education in order to dress an overall, often national picture of university governance. Some studies also use particular policies as a point of departure for observing and...

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