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Higher Education Reform: Looking Back – Looking Forward

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Edited By Pavel Zgaga, Ulrich Teichler, Hans G. Schuetze and Andrä Wolter

The central focus of this book is the concept of higher education reform in the light of an international and global comparative perspective. After decades of far-reaching reform, higher education around the world has profoundly changed and now has to face the challenges of the present. This volume takes a close look at these changes, the drivers of change, their effects and possible future scenarios. In their contributions the authors discuss a variety of basic concepts: learning and teaching in higher education; financing and quality assurance; governance change; massification vs. equity and equality; internationalization and mobility, the implementation of lifelong structures in higher education.
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Introductory Note

← 174 | 175William Bruneau

Extract

Academic freedom and its practice have an impressive pedigree. They may be traced to the pre-Socratic period in ancient Greece, to the humanistic renaissance of 16th century Europe, and then to the appearance of organized natural-scientific investigation after Newton and Pascal. Alas, they were often in jeopardy, facing dogmatism and intransigent authority, rarely successful in the fight. In defence of free academic speech, much ink and some blood have been spilled in two millennia.

But the following essays deal with academic freedom chiefly in the industrial period, when defence of academic freedom left the shadows and became a central concern in university teaching, research, and service. It is a story whose outcome is uncertain.

Although these three writers draw freely on research into the history of the academy, they concern themselves mostly with universities coping with modernization, popularization, and massification in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. This is the period of the publicly regulated but privately-oriented university. It has been a time of constant renewal and redefinition in academic and professional disciplines. It is an era of rising ‘client demand’, whether the ‘client’ be an industry or bank, or an ambitious family looking for a place to send similarly ambitious daughters and sons.

The same factors that produced growth in the 20th century university led to new pressures on academic freedom. To put this another way, the university’s popularity caused (some would say invited) renewed attacks on the right of university teachers to...

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