It is clear that worldwide (for example, Australia, Brazil, Japan) ‘the university’ has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. It is also true that in Europe (e.g. Denmark and England and Poland) ‘the university’ has changed a lot in the last 25 years. And there are discussions and reforms which are underway that suggest it is changing elsewhere, for example in Greece, Italy and Spain in major ways which are not simple extensions of existing forms of university.
Were the problems as simple as that, then an intellectual understanding of ‘changing universities’ would be quite easy to sketch and practical ways forward for its govern-ance could perhaps be wisely stated for specific contexts.
Unfortunately, it can be shown quite quickly that, for our epoch, we are looking at changes in the nature of the State itself; we are looking at changes in discourse about what is the proper relationship of the university to the economy and to the polity; and we are looking at new political definitions of what counts as a good society, a good economy and a good higher educational system, in times of economic globalisation amid new theories and practices of new kinds of ‘market’. And all of this is produced at the same time. Thus understanding the university and thinking of practical ways for-ward in its governance has become a very complex problematique indeed.