European Universities in Transition
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European Universities in Transition

Issues, Models and Cases

Edited by Carmelo Mazza, Paolo Quattrone and Angelo Riccaboni

This timely and important book provides a critical analysis of the changes and challenges that currently affect European universities. Using both theoretical contributions and applied case studies, leading experts argue that universities as institutions are in need of change – although the routes that the process may take are heterogeneous.
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Chapter 8: The University is not an Institute of Technology

Gilles Van Wijk


Gilles Van Wijk I. INTRODUCTION The fact that universities around the world tend to lose their autonomy as institutions of higher learning and of fundamental research has been observed and discussed quite extensively. Indeed, a lot of attention is being paid to universities, either to insist that the lack of public support is curtailing the innovation potential and the competitiveness of the economy (Axelrod, 2002), or to argue that new institutional models are developing, with close collaboration between universities, companies and government in the socalled triple helix, or with more self-supporting institutions such as the ‘entrepreneurial university’ (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 1997; Etzkowitz et al., 2000). Jacob Merle and Tomas Hellström (2000, 1) comment that three important developments have strongly impacted on the university research system: the shift from national science systems to global science networks; the capitalization of knowledge; and, the integration of academic labour into the industrial economy, ‘also known as the coming of the knowledge society’. In the same vein, Gibbons and his colleagues (1994) make two typical predictions about the future of the university. The first is that the nature of knowledge production is being transformed from Mode 1 (disciplinary, university-centred process) to Mode 2 (a transdisciplinary-based knowledge production in which academics collaborate with users to produce practice-relevant knowledge). The second claim is that this Mode 2 process is superior to Mode 1. These two predictions serve to group issues ranging from epistemology to politics in the university, and they may also be read as legitimizing...

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