Authors: Christina Chow, Clement Leung

Reshaping Universities for Survival in the 21st Century: New Opportunities and Paradigms

eBook: US $23 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $83
Printed Copy: US $72
Library License: US $92
ISBN: 978-1-68108-212-7 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-211-0 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2016
DOI: 10.2174/97816810821101160101

Introduction

Universities are viewed by many as institutions that should impart quality education to enrolled students and foster a learning environment, which, in turn, would benefit the accumulation of knowledge worldwide. Enhancing university education is at the top of most governmental agendas. In this knowledge-driven economy, every nation wants to have the world's top-ranked universities. Every parent wants to send their child to a top university. And most people want to have a good university degree that gives them good prospects for landing a respectable job.

But universities are currently in turmoil: mass redundancies and department closures have become routine. Once revered as ivory towers of learning, today’s universities are forced to regard their students as consumers and customers. Many universities are now torn between labor market forces and increasing public expectations and accountability. University administration departments struggle with declining funding and increased cost scrutiny. Challenged on multiple fronts, universities are faced with conflicting agendas. They are expected to develop world-class reputations in research (an academic agenda) while teaching increasing numbers of students (a commercial agenda). They are required to be engines of economic development while maintaining comprehensive scholarly profiles. Numerous reports and headlines predict the demise of universities, emphasizing that the current educational and business model is not viable.

Reshaping Universities for Survival in the 21st Century: New Opportunities and Paradigms suggests possible paths which universities might take to survive in the future by providing a compelling account of the landscape of today’s universities and the challenges they face. Readers will learn about the current crises which universities face followed by an explanation of the ideologies and paradigms that have shaped the current academic landscape. New trends and concepts in university education are also explained, such as academic capitalism and MOOCs. Written in clear, easy-to-understand language, it is a must-read for anyone who studies, works or is interested in the higher education sector, including university and government leaders and educational policy makers.

Foreword

This book presents an excellent and compelling account of the current landscape of modern universities and higher education. It provides an impartial, comprehensive view of the challenges which have affected universities in the last few decades. Dr Chow and Professor Leung clearly explain these challenges surrounding higher education systems in the developed world.

The authors have a real and intimate understanding of the problems facing our modern universities, as well as their historical context. From the globalisation of finance and human resource to the disruptive innovation of technology transfer and digital revolution, they elucidate how these converging trends pose critical challenges for universities. Factors such as neoliberalism, marketisation and global competition undermine the monopoly previously enjoyed by esteemed universities. The emergence of disruptive technology and the current attitude of national governments towards university funding threaten the survival of this centuries-old tradition of higher education.

Tracing the roots of university missions from the Middle Ages to the present day, the book looks at how the dominance of marketisation, global 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, and the threat and opportunities of new entrants into the sector.

While the book explains the problems facing global higher education, it also contributes some valuable suggestions which universities can take to achieve distinction and success in the 21st century. Written in clear, easy-to-understand language, this book is a must-read for anyone who studies or works in the higher education sector.

Roland T. Chin
President
Chair Professor of Computer Science
Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong


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