Organisational culture of universities: community or corporate?
Emeritus Professor Jan Currie is a unionist, a feminist and a social activist. She has written books on the ‘glass ceiling’ for women in universities, on the impact of globalisation on universities and on academic freedom. While at Murdoch University, her commitment to social justice was evident when encouraging teachers to be tolerant and respectful of gender, class, ethnic and indigenous differences. She is also a Board member of the One World Centre that provides global education to teachers and the community.
In her keynote address, she will discuss the organisational culture of universities in Australia, North America, Europe and Asia where she has researched the impact of globalising practices on universities. In these locations, she has interviewed academics and managers about privatisation, accountability, autonomy, governance and new technologies to understand how globalisation is affecting their institutions. In her address, she will focus on how privatisation has altered the organisational cultures of many universities and will argue that the trend to privatisation is not universal. Despite the move to a ‘new world order’ that embraces the free market, there is resistance to privatisation in many European universities.
The university as a community of scholars survives in some countries; however, it is being replaced by the university as corporation in many others. She will raise her concerns about preserving academic freedom when profit becomes a major determinant of universities’ research and teaching agendas. To protect the independence of research and teaching, governments may need to reduce their drive to privatise universities.