The Conditions of Continuity and the Drivers of Change

  • William K. CummingsEmail author
Part of the The Changing Academy – The Changing Academic Profession in International Comparative Perspective book series (CHAC, volume 13)


The core of this paper considers the link between the context and three of the main themes of research in the framework of the “Changing Academic Profession” project (CAP): the Teaching-Research Balance (One aspect of Relevance), Internationalization, and Institutional Loyalty. These themes have been selected in order to highlight three contrasting patterns of “change.” We suggest, in the case of institutional loyalty, there is a common pattern of decline across most of the CAP countries—hence there must be powerful drivers of change common to most higher education systems. In the case of the teaching-research balance, we see a flip-flop pattern: Several countries that were high on research in 1992 have shifted towards a greater emphasis on teaching. And vice versa several that were high on teaching have strengthened their emphasis on research. Underlying these complex shifts must be the influence of drivers unique to each national case. Finally the internationalization theme exhibits more continuity than change and can be best understood as a reflection of persisting conditions rather than the influence of new drivers of change. The discussion in this chapter is restricted to the ten countries for which data in 1992 and 2007 exist (or to nine countries, if data are not complete). The following section introduces several of the most important contextual factors and provides a brief summary of the potential linkages between these factors and the aforementioned themes.

There is a widespread belief that the “fifth estate” of higher education/research around the world has undergone profound changes over the past two decades, and among the many manifestations of these changes has been a shift in the attitudes and behavior of the academics that work in this estate. This belief was the inspiration for the launching of the “Changing Academic Profession” project (CAP) in 2004. In the early days of CAP, there were extensive discussions of the dynamic forces behind these changes. As most of these forces were external to the academy, they were often referred to as the context for change.


High Education International Collaboration High Education System Teaching Load Academic System 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Education and HDGeorge Washington UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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