Accountability in Higher Education
The concept of accountability has always been figured in higher education if only for the fact that – despite notions of the ivory tower, knowledge for its own sake, and academic freedom (all suggesting academia does not need to account for its activities) – academics and their institutions through time have had relationships with various stakeholders in which “answerability” continuously played a role. Such answerability relates to universities accounting for – in the traditional sense of the word – public money spent but also to academics explaining, in their professional work, how they set up their research, which methods they used and why, and explaining to what extent their results are valid, reliable, and generalizable. What is relatively new is that the notion of accountability is much more explicit on stakeholders’ agendas than in the past and that it appears that the balance between accountability and autonomy tilts quite often toward an overemphasis on accounting...
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