University Governance

Volume 25 of the series Higher Education Dynamics pp 197-225

A Comparative Approach to Higher Education Reforms in Western European Countries

  • Catherine ParadeiseAffiliated withUniversitè Paris Est/LATTS, Citè Descartes
  • , Emanuela RealeAffiliated withCERIS-CNR
  • , Gaële GoastellecAffiliated withOSPS, University of Lausanne

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The seven national case studies explore training and research changes in higher education institutions. They focus on the various institutional, organizational and individual dimensions of change over the last 30 years, characterized in western European countries by major shifts in relation to levels of autonomy, accountability and managerial approach. Yet national systems remain to be compared. By using an international and comparative thematic approach, this chapter undertakes a systematic description of how and how much the sector of higher education has changed in terms of organization and steering, leaving interpretative issues to the second conclusive chapter.

It is divided into two sections. The first one presents itemized comparative reform histories since about 1980 and changes that have taken place, including central government regulation, system characteristics, organization and governance of higher education institutions, degree structure and study programs. It states the rise of managerial approaches to the reform of universities, demonstrating striking international similarities in public policy rationales and tools. It documents the organizational turn of universities and its relationship to a new multilevel governance design characterized by the redesign of jurisdictions and steering rules between public authorities and universities.