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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 3: System Diversity in European Higher Education. Peter Maassen


Chapter 3 System Diversity in European Higher Education Peter Maassen Introduction Higher education’s role in ‘the knowledge-based society’ has received growing political attention around the world. The underlying assumption here is that more complex and competitive economic and technological global environments require rapid adaptations of national economies to shifting opportunities and constraints. Higher education is expected to play a central role in this adaptation, since, as the main public knowledge sector, it is assumed to link research and education effectively to the needs of society and industry1. This expectation has been used as a rationale for reforms aimed at stimulating universities and colleg- es to develop more relevant and effective institutional strategies, and profession- alize their leadership and management capacity. The underlying vision is to stimulate the development of higher education institutions that are dynamic and responsive to socio-economic agendas and that contribute effectively to innova- tion, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness. The Lisbon summit and the subsequent Lisbon 2000 Agenda have been im- portant drivers in the promotion of this vision in Europe. Making Europe the most dynamic knowledge economy in the world by 2010 was argued to be de- pendent on urgent reforms of its higher education systems and institutions. This was clearly expressed in two reform agendas published by the European Com- mission in 20062 and 20113. In this chapter the focus will be on the 2011 agenda and its aim to contribute to more effective system diversity in higher education. In our examination of the agenda we will...

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