Academic Values, Institutional Management and Public Policies
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- David Ward
22 Aug 2007
- Bibliographic information
The impacts of market-related policies and revenues on higher education are not uniform but globalisation has opened most institutions to new pressures. The public funding models developed 50 years ago underestimated the full cost of mass higher education as an entitlement while the sheer scale of resources needed to sustain a comprehensive research university demand a more nuanced balance of research and teaching for most institutions. These same pressures threaten equitable access if rising tuition fees are not fully matched by adequate need-based financial aid while in the absence of tuition pressures, unfunded increases in student participation undermines the quality of higher education. In this environment, justifications of increased funding are often based on utilitarian goals affecting the motives of research and scholarship and distorting the balance of curricular developments. In contrast, the increased range of revenue streams has created opportunities for more creative and less regulated institutional priorities. The potential impacts of private interests on higher education are well recognised but a politically vulnerable and often singular dependency on state funding is also capable of deflecting academic values. As institutions of higher education clarify their values to cope with global pressures to provide mass higher education and to meet the needs of the knowledge economy, they must also serve as places of imagination, innovation, disputation, scepticism and questioning. Those values are also critical as leaders in higher education attempt to confront themselves with the changes that they themselves need to make to their institutions.