Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

In the Proceedings of the Annual Conference ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) 2007. Available from


This paper analyses academic change in higher education internationally but mainly in Europe. It examines one College in Ireland as it faces major change and examines whether best practice change that has been successful elsewhere might be appropriate in this particular setting, with it’s own culture and history. Research is ongoing, using qualitative inquiry and fourth generation evaluation which seeks to address the concerns and issues of stakeholders. It is an illuminative evaluation project that seeks to allow senior management in the College see what is happening elsewhere and evaluate whether such methods might be appropriate in their own college. The focus here is on a literature review of academic change in Europe and the move of some universities to become more entrepreneurial organisations. Changing academic roles and structures are ongoing sources of tension for academic staff in Europe and there appears to be no panacea for successful change. Collegial and bureaucratic institutions are seen to be outdated because of their slowness in responding to a changing environment. Corporate institutions respond quickly with top down change initiatives but often alienate academic staff and so do not harness and maximise the talent at their disposal. An entrepreneurial organisation appears to be the way forward combining top down and bottom up change. This requires major structural and cultural change within the College under consideration and is the focus of ongoing research. There is a gap in knowledge in understanding how best practice change which might have been successful elsewhere can be applied to the specific culture of the College in question. The authors are expected to have some of the outcomes of this inquiry at the time of presentation in June 2007.


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