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Title: Global Vertical Stratification of Institutions and the Academic Profession: The Role of Research in Future High Participation Environments
Authors: Kwiek, Marek
Keywords: social stratification in science
research productivity
global rankings
academic profession
future scenarios
high participation systems
Issue Date: 2021
Citation: Kwiek, M. (2021). Global Vertical Stratification of Institutions and the Academic Profession: The Role of Research in Future High Participation Environments. In: From Actors to Reforms in (Higher) Education. Festschrift for Pavel Zgaga. Edited by M. Klemencic and S. Gaber, Cham: Springer, forthcoming, 2021.
Abstract: The research-induced global vertical stratification of higher education institutions seems to be accompanied by the ongoing vertical differentiation of the academic profession. Both processes can be expected to intensify. The various segments of the profession and components of higher education systems have been drifting apart. A general contrast has emerged between the haves and have-nots in terms of working conditions and attractiveness of the academic profession at the individual level, and the global visibility in league tables and access to national research funding at the institutional level. The processes of the concentration of research in selected institutions may have a powerful impact on academic lives and careers. The attractiveness of the academic profession and workplace is at stake, especially in those institutions that are not going to be research-intensive and will be predominantly teaching-focused. The basic assumption of this scenario is that in massified systems, the traditional teaching-research nexus will be maintained in practice almost exclusively in the small elite sub-sector. The opportunities at the disposal of institutions will vary immensely in the future, but most importantly, qualitative distinction will be between the top 1,000 universities and the rest (comprising about 25,000–30,000 institutions). This chapter is an exercise in future scenarios writing, in which the radical consequences of the divisive impact of academic research on individuals and institutions in 20–30 years are discussed.
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