A Memory of Elephants on the Modern Campus
8 March 2016, by Michael Gallagher
This paper explores the key public policy assumptions underlying three of the four sequential and overlapping phases of higher education and university research in Australia:
- The academic-elite phase (1945 – 1985)
- The state-mass phase (1985 – 2005)
- The market-universal phase (post-2005).
The pre-1945 phase, which largely pre-dated Australian government involvement in higher education, is not explored in this paper, except to the extent of its academic-elite and market legacies. The post-2005 phase is emergent, as uncertainties remain about the trajectory of future development, the survival of recent innovations, and the resilience of established institutions. This analysis works from the premise that conventional modes will continue to co-exist with contemporary technologies.
The comparative analysis suggests that some features of earlier phases fade or end as a newer phase gains momentum, and that amid the change there are also aspects, at times modified, of all three phases that continue concurrently, albeit in uncomfortable interaction. The co-existence of the three phases, on the one hand, and the non-recognition of modified or terminating aspects, on the other hand, give rise to varying perceptions and expectations which intrude into and can confound debates about future directions for higher education policy and financing.
The paper outlines the distinguishing, ideal-type features in each phase across twenty policy domains.
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Michael Gallagher is Honorary Senior Fellow of the LH Martin Institute.