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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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Pål Bakken and Ingrid Storm Academic Drift and Diversity


Pål Bakken and Ingrid Storm 10 Academic Drift and Diversity: Institutional Dynamics in Norwegian Higher Education Introduction The Norwegian higher education sector has gone through significant changes during the last two decades, with a doubling in the number of universities and a sharp increase in the number of postgraduate degree programmes. The higher education sector in Norway has traditionally been organized as a binary system of research oriented universities and university colleges of fering vocational education. However, opportunities for change in institutional status have blurred the distinction, and contributed to a process of institutional and academic drift. The main question posed in this paper is whether this process leads to increased homogeneity. Several governmental reforms in the last decades aimed to increase the higher education institutions’ robustness. In addition, many institutions have had – and still have – ambitions to increase their status in the institutional hierarchy. The motives for this status change are many, among them is to increase their competitiveness. The concept of resilience is thus relevant both at a governmental and institutional level. The Norwegian legislation allows the higher education institutions to change institutional status, conditional upon specific criteria. Three Norwegian university colleges have obtained status as universities since 2004, and others have plans and strategies for changing their institutional status. Academic drift is also evident in the establishment of new institutions in the higher education sector. Mergers between Norwegian university colleges, both conducted and planned, can be seen as tools for obtaining university status. Norwegian universities have,...

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