Journal section "Foreign experience"

Beyond Teaching and Research: Stakeholder Perspectives on the Evolving Roles of Higher Education

Caro-González A., Anabo I.F.

Volume 13, Issue 6, 2020

Caro-González A., Anabo I.F. Beyond teaching and research: stakeholder perspectives on the evolving roles of higher education. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2020, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 252–266. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2020.6.72.15

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2020.6.72.15

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
Many scholars have observed that the traditional teaching and research functions ascribed to higher education have now expanded to involve a wider range of objectives and actors in response to changing internal and external demands. However, the available literature on the topic lacks accounts reflecting stakeholder perspectives. This paper aims to respond to this limitation by implementing a content analysis of 12 semi-structured interviews with European and international experts in the field of higher education. More specifically, it sketches their views on higher education institutions’ roles considering current and emerging imperatives and the tensions and contradictions arising from the evolution of their conventional functions. The results show that higher education institutions are perceived to serve a combination of multiple roles: as enablers of skills and attributes, co-creators and users of knowledge, intermediaries between social actors, instigators of social change, and active agents of their own transformation. This finding aligns with literature in terms of the diverse and relational nature of modern higher education institutions’ operations. While desirable, their fulfilment generates several tensions and contradictions: such as responding to global vs. regional trends, adopting flexibility vs. standardization, pursuing excellence and competitiveness vs. inclusion, competing logics, and managing institutional inertia. The study can benefit educational managers and researchers by offering new insights into generating networked action and building ecosystems as higher education reconfigures its roles to navigate the changing social and economic landscape


engagement, ecosystem, third mission, higher education institutions

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