Rethinking the university after Bologna

19 11 2008

Interesting 2-day conference on the marketization of European higher education and research coming up at my alma mater, the University of Antwerp. Timely research questions, too.

Rethinking the university after Bologna:
New concepts and practices beyond tradition and the market

December 12th – 13th 2008

International Conference
University of Antwerp

The European space for Higher Education and Research that results from both the Bologna process (education) and the Lisbon strategy (research) repositions universities. In this new European area, and combined with procedures of (consumer or market) accountability, performance management, output funding and excellence rhetoric, universities and their staff are asked (and strongly ‘advised’) to become entrepreneurial.  Now that the Bologna process and Lisbon strategy are almost completed (2010), and because of the growing unease at universities due to the pressure to become entrepreneurial, it is time to take a closer look at these developments and especially on their implications for the public meaning of university education and university research.

Yet, instead of mourning once more about the so-called disappearance of the modern or traditional university and merely cultivating discontent, the aim of the conference is to look at new practices and reflections beyond entrepreneurial values and attitudes. The point of departure of this conference is that there are alternatives for the entrepreneurial university in education, research, organization, and service and that these alternatives bring into play in one way or another the public role of universities. For sure, these practices of re-thinking and re-practicing the university are often rather local and still waiting for a language and opportunity to manifest themselves.

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