The Virtual University? brings together some of the best-known writers on contemporary social change to reflect on the radical transformations going on in higher education. Expansion, technology, and changing financial and performance structures have altered universities, affecting the way they are managed, their relations with the corporate world, their employees, and their users/customers/students. Has a culture of collegiality been replaced by one of managerialism? Has the liberal/national university been replaced by the global/virtual one? What changes does the digital world bring to the practice and experience of education? The book refuses to adopt a narrow focus towards its subject, rejecting technology-centred and education policy-focused approaches. Arguing for a need to situate changes in higher education in the broad contexts of globalization, the political economy, and historical trends, the book combines close attention to the complexities of on-the-ground changes in higher education with sensitivity towards the most consequential contextual pressures.
The book lifts consideration of higher education into the mainstream of social transformations in the twenty-first century, arguing that a wide debate about changes in knowledge, markets, and management is demanded since the 'virtual university' concerns the character of intellectual culture itself.