European Universities and the Challenge of the Market

European Universities and the Challenge of the Market

A Comparative Analysis

Marino Regini

This major volume sheds light on the changing relationship between higher education and the economy in the major European nations. It is the outcome of extensive comparative research on higher education institutions and the economy in six European regions that were specifically chosen due to their similarities in terms of economic development: the English North West, Hesse in Germany, Rhone-Alpes in France, Lombardy in Italy, Catalunyia in Spain and the Netherlands. This unique comparative nature allows the authors to draw out the variations between regions and identify institutional differences.

Chapter 4: Funding, Assessment and Governance

Loris Perotti

Subjects: business and management, management and universities, economics and finance, economics of education, education, economics of education, management and universities

Extract

Loris Perotti 4.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter deals with three issues concerning the ways in which universities respond to social demand: (a) changes in governance and the involvement of external actors in the management of universities, (b) changes in the funding of HE, and particularly in that part of it which originates from the productive system and (c) the assessment and accreditation initiatives undertaken by governments to increase the accountability of universities. It is no coincidence that these three topics are treated jointly here, and it is not difficult to find a linking theme which unites them and, at the same time, as we shall see, explains their similarities among countries. If for the moment we exclude the UK (where university autonomy has always been marked), France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands are all examples of the so-called ‘continental model’ whereby power polarized between a minutely regulatory ministry, on the one hand, and fragmented academic corporations (termed ‘tribes’ by Becher in 1989), on the other, accounted for the universities’ lack of a clear institutional identity. After all, from whence could such an identity have arisen? Not from the university authorities, given that the rectors – being elected – possessed neither significant powers (university management, or at least its legitimation, was seen as largely the outcome of corporative–collegial deliberation), nor significant margins of manoeuvre (given that almost all matters were defined and regulated at national level), nor, for the most part, managerial skills (given that rectors were academics). But an institutional identity...

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