Dynamic and Regulated: About the Permeability of University Boundaries Via the Governance of Studying and Teaching

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Janosch BAUMANN, University of Kassel, Germany
Christian SCHNEIJDERBERG, University of Kassel, Germany
Georg KRUCKEN, University of Kassel, Germany
Isabel STEINHARDT, INCHER Kassel, Germany
The governance of studying and teaching in public universities in Germany has changed from a kind of static system using teaching framework regulations to a more dynamic system of external quality assurance. This development is part of what Power (1997) calls “the audit society“. With the introduction of an accreditation scheme new actors (e.g. council and agencies) as well as new processes (e.g. accreditation of study programs) were established for the governance of studying and teaching in universities. In addition to the federal states and university representatives stakeholder participation has been formalized in consultation and decision making throughout the accreditation system. For instance, the federal states have a majority of votes in the accreditation council; with university representatives being the second in command. Representatives from the world of work and student representatives fill up the remaining seats. The groups mentioned above are also represented in review groups of accreditation processes, w representatives of the professoriate are the majority with three out of five members.

In the presentation we want to argue, that the dynamics of processes, the involvement of new actors and now formalized integration of stakeholders in quality assurance and the governance of studying and teaching make boundaries of universities as organizations more permeable. However the relatively detailed accreditation regulations and processes settle this permeability of borders in different ways. As a result, the effects of the participation of representatives of the world of work and students are limited. Conversely, the grip of the professoriate on the governance of teaching has increased.

The theoretical basis is a combination of Luhmann’s theory of procedures (1983) and neo-institutional research highlighting the legitimation function. Empirical data was generated in a research project (duration 2014-2017) by document analysis, interviews with stakeholders and representatives of accreditation agencies, a survey among reviewers, and participant observation.