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The Modernisation of European Universities

Cross-National Academic Perspectives


Edited By Marek Kwiek and Andrzej Kurkiewicz

The recent decade brought about new ways of thinking about universities. European-level educational policies became increasingly influential as the agenda of university reforms was viewed as part of greater Lisbon strategy reforms. National governments adopted the economic concept of the university consistently developed in subsequent official documents of the European Commission. The EU member states currently need to balance their educational policies between the requirements of policies promoted by the EU and the requirements of their national systems. Additionally, the national educational policies are under high pressure due to globalisation. European universities and European academics operate in the midst of these large-scale changes. Their interpretations of and their responses to what is termed «the modernisation agenda of European universities» are at the core of this volume.


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Chapter 1: The Growing Complexity of the Academic Enterprisein Europe: A Panoramic View. Marek Kwiek


Chapter 1 The Growing Complexity of the Academic Enterprise in Europe: A Panoramic View Marek Kwiek 1. Introduction The increasingly complicated picture of the academic enterprise in Europe is due to several general factors: globalization and Europeanization, educational expansion and the massification of higher education, the economic crisis and public sector reforms, and the knowledge-driven economic competitiveness of nations and regions. Some factors, like expansion and massification, have exerted their influence over a few decades; others, like the economic crisis, for a few years. They can be put under four more general categories of exter- nal pressure exerted on higher education: economic (financial), political (ide- ological), social, and demographic. The factors generating change in national higher education policies and in national higher education systems have been multilayered, interrelated and often common throughout the continent. The growing complexity of the academic enterprise today is also due to the fact that higher education systems in Europe have been under powerful reform pressures.1 Reforms increasingly today, and throughout the European continent, lead to further reforms rather than to reformed higher education systems, which supports the arguments put forward by Nils Brunsson about all organizations in modern society: “large contemporary organizations, whether public or private, seem to be under almost perpetual reform-attempts at changing organizational forms” (Brunsson 2009: 1).2 Higher education has changed substantially in most European economies in the last two or three decades but it is still expected by national and European-level policymakers to change even more, as the recent European...

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