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Center for Higher Education
New Publication

Changing Research Structures and Academic Staff Competence

A pile of journals, next to it a notebook and a pen © HdHf​/​TU Dortmund

A new article in Higher Education Policy: Baumann, S. & Leišytė, L. (2021). Changing research structures and academic staff competence in the Swiss non-traditional university sector. Advance online publication.

Recent reforms in Swiss higher education transformed vocational training institutions with a teaching mission into universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education. These universities are supposed to balance the research and teaching activities of individual lecturers following the Humboldtian model. Drawing on the concept of ambidexterity, the authors 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.

While their 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, they 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. Finally, a number of conceptual and policy implications are drawn.

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