A Comparative Analysis
Chapter 4: Funding, Assessment and Governance
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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