Changing Research Structures and Academic Staff Competence in the Swiss Non-Traditional University Sector

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  • Source:
    Higher Education Policy, v35 n3 p750-771 Sep 2022.
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    Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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    • Abstract:
      Recent reforms in Swiss higher education transformed vocational training institutions with a teaching mission into universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education that should balance research and teaching activities of individual lecturers following the Humboldtian model. Drawing on the concept of ambidexterity, we aim to examine the current outcome of the reforms in terms of the structural conditions for research and the research competence of lecturers at the two new types of universities. By means of a document analysis, we first assess how the shift manifests itself in institutional mission statements. We then analyze recent survey data (N=2454) regarding the lecturers' perceptions of the structural conditions for research and their research competence. While our findings suggest that the new higher education sector has formally adopted the Humboldtian model, notable differences between the two types of universities can be observed in the extent to which the new policy imperatives have influenced the mission statements. Furthermore, we find a certain degree of mismatch between the organizational ambidexterity required by the Humboldtian model, the structural conditions for research encountered by lecturers, and the individual research competence. A number of conceptual and policy implications are drawn.
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      Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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