The Academic Profession in Europe: Responses to Societal Challenges (EUROAC)
Probst Schilter C.
The academic profession (AP) is being perceived in public discourse and higher education research as an ambivalent profession shaped by changing conditions and contradictory expectations. The last decades have brought developments such as a growing importance of the AP as creator and disseminator of advanced knowledge, accelerated by the emerging knowledge society, but also a loss of status, increasing workload, gradual diminution of professional self-regulation and substantial revisions in the organisational fabric of higher education systems. Little evidence, however, is available on whether these changes in the societal contexts and institutional settings are powerful forces affecting the values, attitudes and professional practices of the AP.EUROAC analyses the impact of societal and institutional change on the AP with a cross-national comparative approach. It aims at understanding how the AP in various European countries perceives, interprets and interacts with changes in the socio-economic environment and in the organisational fabric of higher education systems. Within the Swiss part of the project, we particularly focus on professors´ recruitment process as revelatory of the adaptation of the Academic Profession to societal changes, hence we mainly look at academic careers. Methods include besides analysis of existing literature and documentary analysis the replication of the "Changing Academic Profession" survey (CAP) in Switzerland and, as main part, an interview survey covering academics from different types of higher education institutions and disciplinary fields and at different career stages.