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Resilient Universities

Confronting Changes in a Challenging World

Edited By Jan Erik Karlsen and Rosalind Pritchard

Resilience is ostensibly acknowledged as a cross-disciplinary issue, yet resilience analysis has seldom been applied to the understanding of universities and the academic world. The contributions to this volume aim to fill this gap through the presentation of both theoretical and empirical studies.
The book’s title reflects the desire to extend the debate in new directions and to assemble a fresh set of models and tools for thinking about resilient universities. Bringing together a range of experts in the field, this collection marks a novel departure within the social sciences and is intended to act as a first step towards establishing a holistic approach to future university governance and adaptation.
Today’s European universities are confronted by profound changes. This book constitutes an accessibly written, polemical and bold exploration of how current crises facing higher education institutions could be more effectively addressed by institutional resilience and new forms of adaptive, future oriented governance.


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Jan Erik Karlsen and Rosalind M.O. Pritchard 1 Resilience - The Ability to Adapt


Jan Erik Karlsen and Rosalind M.O. Pritchard 1 Resilience – The Ability to Adapt Building Blocks of Institutional Resilience Academe has been allocated more functions and responsibilities than ever before. In many countries, though, it has not been provided with the resources necessary to do the job, and funding has been constantly decreas- ing. Hence, academic institutions need to reorganize themselves in order to strengthen (or even preserve) their societal legitimacy as producers, asses- sors and distributors of relevant knowledge and competences. Planning, designing and innovating for the future inevitably involves considering multiple alternatives, assessing potential risks and coping with damaging setbacks. The ability to bounce back is often regarded as a critical resource for individuals, groups or organizations when facing untoward events. It is a question of resilience. The aim of the book is to explore ways in which universities can achieve this resilience in a wide variety of domains. Basically, resilience points to the capacity of individuals or social/ technical systems to handle boundary conditions and interpret early warn- ings and weak signals of change. Being resilient entails the ability to guard against something dysfunctional happening, to prevent something damag- ing from worsening and to recover from adversity once it has happened. Few governments would take the view that what they impose is dysfunc- tionality, but the conditions that they impose often create severe challenges for their higher education institutions (HEIs). The capacity to respond to dysfunctionality resides in the expertise, strategies, tools and plans that people in various...

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