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The dilemma of university system governance: a pluralistic or fragmented network? Eliana Minelli, Gianfranco Rebora, Matteo Turri WORKSHOP ON CHANGES IN.

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Presentation on theme: "The dilemma of university system governance: a pluralistic or fragmented network? Eliana Minelli, Gianfranco Rebora, Matteo Turri WORKSHOP ON CHANGES IN."— Presentation transcript:

1 The dilemma of university system governance: a pluralistic or fragmented network? Eliana Minelli, Gianfranco Rebora, Matteo Turri WORKSHOP ON CHANGES IN GOVERNANCE OF ITALIAN UNIVERSITIES: INSTITUTIONAL OR MARKET SOLUTIONS? SIENA, ITALY, APRIL 2-3, 2009

2 Framework We have used a new analytical framework to explore the evolution of university system governance in Italy in the last twenty years. This framework is built on the analytical observations of Olsen (2005 and 2007) who analysed change in university governance in Europe.

3 Framework Our analytical framework departs from two concepts: locus and focus. LOCUS: Locus of governance may be inside or outside the university system. The decision-making centres that influence or condition important choices and events concerned with system governance are either within or without the university institutional, its organisation and staff. There are thus two extremes of locus of governance and a wide range of intermediate situations. FOCUS: The second dimension closely resembles the idea of shared or conflicting interests between actors. Decision-making may be strategically rational and driven by the shared aims and values of the people taking part or involves the multiple and conflicting aims and values of those involved.

4 The conceptual combination of the focus and locus of governance produces four different models:

5 Changes in Italian University

6 Prior to 1989: internal negotiation-based governance

7 Alliance of independent feuds Self government driven by intellectual values Pluralistic or fragmented network Instrument of public policies <1988 Locus of governance inside the university system Locus of governance outside the university system Negotiation-based focus of governance Incremental decision-making affected by pluralism. Pluralistic or conflictingl aims and values. Strategic focus of governance Rational decision-making in university policies and strategies. Shared aims and values.

8 : the drives towards external governance

9 Alliance of independent feuds Self government driven by intellectual values Pluralistic or fragmented network Instrument of public policies Locus of governance inside the university system Locus of governance outside the university system Negotiation-based focus of governance Incremental decision-making affected by pluralism. Pluralistic or conflictingl aims and values. Strategic focus of governance Rational decision-making in university policies and strategies. Shared aims and values

10 : Pandoras box

11 Alliance of independent feuds Self government driven by intellectual values Pluralistic or fragmented network Instrument of public policies Locus of governance inside the university system Locus of governance outside the university system Negotiation-based focus of governance Incremental decision-making affected by pluralism. Pluralistic or conflictingl aims and values. Strategic focus of governance Rational decision-making in university policies and strategies. Shared aims and values

12 Since : Waiting... The majority of commentators and principal actors, starting with the Minister, were convinced that university governance needed to be reformed There are high hopes for evaluation but the new agency, ANVUR (National Agency for University Evaluation and Research) is still not operative. In this stage the external locus of governance seems already to be an established fact.The focus of governance remains incremental, conflicting and negotiation-based. The advocates of new, more effective reforms where governance would become a vital force seem to be staking everything on the steering from a distance solution (Instrument of public policies model). The university system has assimilated the concept of diversity particularly well, and it is difficult to reject this concept. It is also unlikely that unified intentions, aims and viewpoints can be retrieved as this kind of unity is considered old-fashioned in the modern world.

13 Alliance of independent feuds Self government driven by intellectual values Pluralistic or fragmented network Instrument of public policies < Locus of governance inside the university system Locus of governance outside the university system Negotiation-based focus of governance Incremental decision-making affected by pluralism. Pluralistic or conflictingl aims and values. Strategic focus of governance Rational decision-making in university policies and strategies. Shared aims and values.

14 Pluralistic or fragmented network? This interpretation shows an ambiguity in that the inertial shift is towards fragmentation. Looking back at the danger of fragmentation and its effects in the early years of this century, there seem to be people who want to re- propose public policies by attempting to govern the system in an undifferentiated way. The overall history of the Italian situation suggests following a different route, abandoning the ambition to develop a strategic focus of governance in the system with the necessary consequences in terms of coherence and shared aims. The alternative is to aim for pluralism which is more in line with reality and more aligned with international trends.

15 Conclusion (1/2) A pluralistic structure of the system is a feasible alternative with respect to a drift towards fragmentation or re-proposal of the instrument of public policies model. Italy and other countries are required to introduce and carry out steps for steering university systems. This is a difficult task imposed by the relevance of state funding for the resources in the system but has no sense in being managed through the traditional Napoleonic model that gave the ministry, through the laws, the right to organise and implement policy concerning the entire education system aiming to homogenise the system at different levels of society and therefore assure equity throughout the country (Moscati, 2001).

16 Conclusion (2/2) A limited number of entrepreneurial universities could emerge depending on their ability to appeal to local resources and attract external funding even by using the support of national bodies. This must take place without returning to obsolete forms of national programming and state-controlled public policies. Setting up differentiated structures and behaviour in universities is vital for improving the overall efficiency of the system. As regards the state, this means really steering at a distance making it possible to build a platform that functions even when there are different drives and behaviour on the part of universities.


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