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The Service University

Author(s): Arild Tjeldvoll

Journal: Managing Global Transitions
ISSN 1581-6311

Volume: 8;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 423;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: service university | quality | academic freedom | ICT | management

The traditional western research university’s academic freedom is increasingly challenged by external economical interests. This has consequences for what has been regarded as a key quality dimension of a university. The balance between institutional autonomy, academic freedom and accountability to external stakeholders is claimed to be changing in disfavour of the academic freedom kept up by the professoriate. From its stakeholders the institution is expected to serve politicians, state bureaucracy and market in a qualitatively different way from before, primarily from economic motives. Is academic freedom at all possible in an institution predominantly financed by producing services to meet economic criteria? A likely answer would be no, and another tentative, answer could be that yes, it is possible, due to the strong academic legacy imbedded in western academics’ identity – and to the global communicative room of free actions made possible by the new information technology.
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