The Discretion of Teaching in Higher Education
Pp. 95-111 (17)
The developments of the mass-university and academisation of professional
education have reshaped the core activities of what to teach and how to teach. Although
the content of teaching at universities has changed considerably since the late 1960s,
how the actual teaching has been conducted has not evolved in the same manner. This
has changed only in the last two decades. In the article it is argued that the changes of
teaching have been motivated not by criteria formulated inside the academic system, but
by external forces, embedded in the diversified movement called New Public
Management. The state has approved the introduction of market-like steering
mechanisms. As a result, the state loses direct control over how the work is carried out
in the public sector, but it regains control by means of the development of
comprehensive instruments for control and evaluation which challenge the timehonoured
autonomy of professionalism. In the wake of the new management
technology, the state has shifted from an advocate of dynamic research and education to
a controller of them. One consequence, if this development continues, is that the former
student at the university is reshaped into a grown-up pupil.
Teaching, Higher Education, New Teaching Ideology, Student-
Centred Learning, Management, Discretional Logic, Professional Education,
Excellence, Policy-Control, Academisation, Academic World, New Public
Management, NPM, Commercialisation, Biggs, Tang, Students.
Centre for Profession Studies, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.