The Shaking of Foundations
Pp. 3-29 (27)
Christina Chow and Clement Leung
This chapter outlines the challenges which have affected universities in the
last few decades - from the globalisation of financial and labour markets to the
knowledge economy and the digital revolution. It explains how factors such as
neoliberalism, marketisation and competition undermine the monopoly previously
enjoyed by universities. It traces the roots of university missions from the Middle Ages
to the present day, and looks at how the dominance of marketisation, competition, and
neoliberalism collide with the traditional idea of universities. It analyses the impact of
global trends on universities in the 21st century, such as university rankings,
competition for funding, corporatisation, and the threat of new entrants into the market.
The globalised economy and global expansion of the knowledge industry has also
eroded the monopolistic position previously enjoyed by universities. Advances in
information and communication technologies is becoming critical as they transform
teaching and learning, and fundamentally alter the way that universities offer and
deliver programs. Neoliberalism has been embraced by governments throughout the
world to reform and re-position their national economies to respond to global
competition. The resultant neoliberal reforms corporatised the public sector, especially
universities because of their potential economic contribution through development of
human capital, research and innovation. With corporatization, increased
accountabilities and competition, university managements impose greater controls over
academic work and behaviours. The chapter also provides a summary of the changing
landscape in higher education which includes: growth in student enrolments, increased
student diversity, new sources of revenue; and new types of activities.
Academic freedom, Competition, Consumerism, Corporatisation,
Diversity, Entrepreneurial university, Globalisation, Internationalisation,
Knowledge economy, Marketisation, Neoliberalism, Quality, Sustainability, Third
mission, Universal access.
RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.