CGHE Seminar 48

Academic innovationism in US research universities: accretion and/or transformation?

  • Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 12:30 - 14:00
  • Room 804, UCL Institute of Education
  • Steven Brint, University of California

Professor Steven Brint will discuss the origins, mechanisms, and consequences of a new approach to organising higher education research institutions, which he will call ‘academic innovationism’.

He will compare the structural characteristics of this new system to those of the long-dominant system, which he will call ‘academic professionalism’. He will examine the new system’s current scope and achievements in US universities (with particular attention to the exemplary case of Arizona State University), and the extent to which it may herald a transformation in the primary purposes and organisation of research universities.

Professor Brint will also discuss the challenges the new system faces due to the uneven record of interdisciplinary organisation and the short time horizons of industry and state funders.

The discussion will include new analyses of the research output of the top 200 research universities in the US, the role of university researchers in 50 major inventions since the atomic age, and the variation in success of the top 40 universities in generating industrial clusters in their surrounding regions.

The seminar will provide reasons to expect the continued rapid growth of academic innovationism, growth that will be only weakly circumscribed by the dominant system.

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Steven Brint

Steven Brint

Steven Brint is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, and Director of the Colleges & Universities 2000 study. He served as Vice-Provost from 2011-2016. He is an organisational sociologist whose research focuses on topics in the sociology of higher education, the sociology of professions, and middle-class politics. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008. He is currently completing work on a new book, The Ends of Knowledge: Organizational and Cultural Change in U.S. Colleges and Universities, 1980-2015.

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