Towards the Third Generation University

Towards the Third Generation University

Managing the University in Transition

J. G. Wissema

Universities are undergoing massive change, evolving from science-based, government-funded institutions into ‘international know-how hubs’ dubbed third generation universities, or 3GUs. J.G. Wissema explores this dramatic change, tracing the historic development of universities, and exploring the technology-based enterprises, technostarters and financiers for start-ups and young enterprises that are the main partners of these 3GUs. He goes on to illustrate that universities play a new role as incubators of new science or technology based commercial activities and take an active role in the exploitation of the knowledge they create. The book concludes with suggestions regarding the way in which changes in the university’s mission should be reflected in subsequent organisational changes.

Chapter 1: From the Medieval and Humboldt University to the Third Generation University

J. G. Wissema

Subjects: business and management, management and universities, organisation studies, education, management and universities


1.1 THREE PHASES OF UNIVERSITY DEVELOPMENT To understand the changes universities go through under this time-frame, we need to take a look at their history. We distinguish three generations of universities: the medieval or first generation university, the Humboldt or second generation university and the third generation university (3GU). The last of these is still in the future; universities are currently in a transition phase and we can see advanced universities moving towards the 3GU model. A similar transition phase in the era between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment led to the second generation model (Figure 1.1; the dates are indicative). In this chapter, we will describe the first and second generation university models and the transition periods. We will then discuss the forces that are pushing the Humboldt-type university beyond its limits. The next chapter will outline the contours of the third generation university. 1.2 THE MEDIEVAL UNIVERSITY The first universities stem from the Latin schools, the personalities of famous lecturers and the inheritance of Plato’s Academia and Aristotle’s Lyceum.1 When Christianity was adopted by European countries in the early Middle Ages, schools were started in which all lectures were given in Latin, hence the name Latin schools. Such schools were often located near an important church or a monastery. The Quartier Latin of Paris, still so named today, owes its name to the many Latin schools located there. These schools focused on the preservation of the sacred body of letters and sciences from antiquity in an age of...

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