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A Neoliberal Commentator Demands the Unfettering of German Universities (August 5/12, 2002)

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Internationality was always an important characteristic of scholarship and therefore of universities. In the age of globalization, ensuring that educational offerings are geared toward international expectations and that courses of study are structurally compatible is one crucial task that must be resolved both at the level of the individual college and among university systems. It is imperative that internationally recognized bachelor’s and master’s degree programs be introduced.

Use of new media – virtuality – will become an essential competitive factor in the achievement of academic excellence in research and teaching. The development of an adequate strategy for the utilization of new media (which, by the way, is more than just web-supported distance learning and also includes many forms of face-to-face e-learning) places high demands on overall university management. Such a strategy will become a university’s chief profile-building element.

All reforms must ultimately be measured against the primacy of academic standards. Therefore, in a decentralized and competitive higher education system, one central leadership task of university management is developing and guaranteeing academic quality, the attainment of which demands comprehensive quality management. In addition to various forms of evaluation, the introduction of long-term career prospects for people working in academia is another key instrument of quality management. This is only possible in conjunction with autonomy in personnel matters.

Autonomy and deregulation by no means imply that the state should withdraw from its responsibility for the system of higher education; rather, it presumes a transformed understanding of the tasks [of the higher education system]. Government policy defines the goals and the necessary framework conditions for the universities as they compete against each other.

Source: Detlef Müller-Böling, “Die Hochschule aus ihren ‘Fesseln’ lösen” [“Free the Universities from their ‘Fetters’”], Das Parlament, August 5/12, 2002.

Translation: Allison Brown

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