Current and Emerging Challenges

  • Deanna de Zilwa


This chapter revisits Australian academic units’ exogenous environments in late 2009 to discover whether these environments are still characterised by complexity and turbulence and to establish whether the trends that affected academic units at the time the case studies were undertaken are still relevant for these units. It finds that four of these trends, globalisation, massification of student cohorts, developments in information communication technologies and increased accountability to stakeholders still affect academic units in similar ways to that which occurred at the time of the case studies. The only trend that has changed is that from 2007 the Australian federal government announced significant increases in funding for Australian public universities and hence for their academic units. The Bradley Review of the Australian higher education sector in 2008 called for increased public funding of Australian public universities and the 2008 and 2009 federal budgets delivered this additional public funding. However Australian public universities and their academic units cannot access much of this additional revenue until 2012 at the earliest and in the meantime they still need to contend with costs associated with the massification of student cohorts that has occurred over the last decade and recover from the loss of revenue from diminished public funding over the previous decade. Even with this additional public funding, Australian public universities and their academic units are unlikely to return to the halcyon days when they received 80% of their operating revenue from the public purse; hence marketisation and entrepreneurialism are still vitally important for Australian academic units. This chapter also discusses new and emerging challenges for Australian academic units, including how the global financial crisis of 2007–2009 affected Australian public universities and the growing attention that is being placed on institutional and disciplinary performance on international ranking scales. Academic units in Australian public universities in late 2009 are still situated in exogenous environments characterised by complexity and turbulence and finding effective and efficient ways of adapting to these challenges are as important to units today as at the time of the case studies.


External Stakeholder Information Communication Technology High Education Sector Academic Unit Student Cohort 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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