The Academic Profession in Knowledge-Based Societies: Global Perspectives


Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 8:00am to 9:30am


The recording of the webinar is available here.

With the changing landscapes of higher education the conditions of academic work continue to evolve across the world. This seminar brings together a panel of foremost scholars of the academic profession to address the questions of changing academic career structures, academics’ involvement in higher education governance, the changing nature of research within academic work, evaluation of academic work, and academics’ role in the nexus of national systems of innovation and higher education. The panelists will draw on the findings from the survey conducted by the global research network “The Academic Profession in Knowledge-based Societies (APIKS)”, their own publications and the many publications drawing on the work of this research network.


About the Panelists


Dr Manja Klemenčič, Lecturer on Sociology and Lecturer in General Education, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University 


Professor Glen Jones, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, Centre for the Study of Canadian and International Higher Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada

Professor Liudvika Leišytė, Deputy Director, Center for Higher Education, Department of Business and Economics, TU Dortmund, Germany

Professor Marek Kwiek, Director, Center for Public Policy Studies and UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy, University of Poznan, Poland

Professor Mónica Marquina, an independent researcher of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONICET), a Graduate Professor at National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF), Professor at University of Buenos Aires (UBA) in Educational Policy and Comparative Education, Argentina

Professor Timo Aarrevaara, Professor of Administrative Science at the University of Lapland, Finland


Abstracts and speaker biographies:

Glen A. Jones: Academic Career Structures and the Study of the Academic Profession

Increasing international and comparative research on the academic profession has illuminated the importance of scholarship focusing on key national differences in the structure of academic careers. These career structures and arrangements have significant implications for the academic profession in terms of career stages, opportunities for promotion, mobility, and prestige. This presentation will review key findings from a recent comparative study of academic careers entitled Professional Pathways: Academic Careers in a Global Perspective (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019) that was led by Martin Finkelstein and Glen A. Jones, and discuss key pressures that are influencing the transformation of the academic profession in many contexts.

Glen A. Jones is Professor of Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. He leads the Canadian research team for the Academic Profession in the  Knowledge-based Society project. Recent co-edited books include Universities and the Knowledge Society: The Nexus of National Systems of Innovation and Higher Education (with Timo Aarrevaara, Martin Finkelstein and Jisun Jung, Springer, 2021) and International Education as Public Policy in Canada (with Merli Tamtik and Roopa Desai Trilokekar, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020). His newest book, University Governance in Canada: Navigating Complexity, co-authored with Julia  Eastman, Claude Trottier and Olivier Bégin-Caouette, will be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2022.

Liudvika Leišytė: The Agency of Academic Staff in the Transformation of University Governance

Drawing on my research on governance and academic work in the past decade as well as the key findings from the APIKS project, in this talk I will reflect on the changing agency of academic staff in the transformation of university governance. The contributions of the special issue I recently co-edited have shown that the dynamics of governance and management of higher education is multi-level and multi-faceted in the countries involved in the APIKS project. The governance transformation involves a range of stakeholders who engage in the renegotiation of power dynamics depending on the type of higher education system, its historical legacy, as well as the timing and type of neo-liberal reforms of higher education systems. The studies have shown that despite the significant inroads of performance management into governing academic commons, academic staff are not necessarily losing power, but in some cases gaining power through collective as well as individual resistance (Leišytė and Gozlan, 2021). Both in hidden or overt ways, academics exert agency in the transformation of universities as organizations as well as the governance of higher education in general. At the same time, the latest research on standardisation and digitalisation of control of academic work has shown that the surveillance capitalism (Zuboff, 2019) alongside the academic capitalism (Slaughter & Leslie, 1997) have the potential to significantly increase this control and curb professional autonomy.


 Copyright: Felix Schmale/TU Dortmund

Liudvika Leišytė is Professor of Higher Education and Deputy Director of the Center for Higher Education at the TU Dortmund University in Germany and a visiting senior scholar at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente in the Netherlands. In 2008-2009 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European studies at Harvard University. Prof. Leišytė’s research focuses on academic profession and governance reforms, especially exploring the questions of performance management and digitalisation, professional autonomy, quality evaluation, and gender equality. She has published more than 100 publications, including five books, four special issues and articles in prestigious journals in higher education studies and in public administration. She is the recipient of the early career award 2008 at the PRIME/Globelics Latin America conference and of the Emerald Literati Award 2018 for the highly commended co-authored article in the Learning Organization. Drawing on her extensive experience from 30 international research projects, prof. Leišytė leads the Lithuanian research team in the Academic Profession in the Knowledge-based Society project. She is an international expert for the European Commission, OECD, EUA and national expert bodies, the Chair of the board of Lithuanian scientists’ abroad association Futura Scientia. Her latest publications include: From collegiality to managerialism in Lithuanian higher education (co-authored, Acta Paedagogica Vilnensia, 2021), The determinants of external engagement of hard scientists: A study of generational and country differences in Europe (co-authored, Higher Education Policy, 2020), Inclusive universities in a globalized world (co-authored, Social Inclusion, 2021), For more information: Contact: Twitter: @liudvikaleisyte

Marek Kwiek: The Changing Academic Profession and the Stratifying Role of Research 

The presentation will focus on the impact of new competitive research cultures on scientists and scholars, both globally and across the European systems. Specifically, the two themes of international research collaboration and research productivity will be discussed as major stratifying forces, dividing academics into different strata and institutions, through rankings, into different tiers. The presentation will also discuss the advantages of major methodologies in examining the academic profession, from surveys to interviews to bibliometric studies. Findings from Changing European Academics (Routledge 2019) based on a large cross-European survey will be discussed, with implications for early career researchers.

Marek Kwiek is Professor and Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy, and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Poznan, Poland. His research area is quantitative studies of science and higher education research and policy. He has published 210 papers and his recent monograph is Changing European Academics: A Comparative Study of Social Stratification, Work Patterns and Research Productivity (Routledge, 2019). A Principal Investigator or country Team Leader in 25 international higher education research projects. An international higher education policy expert for the European Commission, USAID, OECD, World Bank, UNESCO, Council of Europe, and the European Parliament. He spent three years at North American universities, including the University of Virginia, UC Berkeley, and McGill University. An editorial board member for Higher Education Quarterly, European Educational Research Journal, British Educational Research Journal, and European Journal of Higher Education. Contact: Twitter: @Marek_Kwiek

Monica Marquina: Evaluation and institutional academic power in Latin America

The presentation will focus on the institutional influence of academics in three of the main higher education systems in Latin America (Argentina, Chile, and Mexico), within a context of increasing external control as a consequence of the transformation of the university system and its relation with the state. New policies have reinforced the role of research councils and evaluation agencies in charge of applying public instruments to measure academic activity performance and selectively allocate resources. Drawing on data from the Academic Profession in the Knowledge-Based Society (APIKS) survey, the aim is to analyze whether these changes have reduced or strengthened the power of academics while focusing on programs and policies aimed at evaluating academic activity and involving the role of peer reviewers. Although we assume that academic power has been reduced within the new scenario, results show that not all academics were affected in the same manner, with consequences of fragmentation of the academic profession.

Monica Marquina  is an independent researcher of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONICET), with a workplace at National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) -where she also is a graduate Professor- in matters of university quality assurance, academic profession, higher education policy and management, and democratization of higher education. She is Professor at University of Buenos Aires (UBA) in Educational Policy and Comparative Education. She has a PhD in Higher Education (Universidad de Palermo, Argentina) and a Master´s in Higher Education Administration (Boston College, USA). She is part of the Board of Directors of the National Commission of Evaluation and University Accreditation (CONEAU of Argentina). She is one of the coordinators of the Academic Profession in the Knowledge-based Society Project APIKS). She has written several books on her research fields as well as articles in journals nationally and internationally. Her latest publications include  University, Research, and Innovationin Argentina: A Winding Road to the Knowledge Society (co-authored, Springer, 2021); Institutional influence of academics in Argentinean public universities in a context of external control (co-authored, 2021, Acta Paedagogica Vilnensia); Academics’ Societal Engagement in Humanities and Social Sciences: A Generational Perspective from Argentina, Germany, Portugal and Sweden (co-authored, Higher Education Policy, 2021).

Timo Aarrevaara: The academic profession’s journey in innovation systems

APIKS (the Academic Profession in the Knowledge-based Society) is a study of 22 higher education systems on five continents. It forms a data time series, extending studies of the academic profession: the Carnegie Survey of 1992 with 13 countries and Changing Academic Profession (CAP) survey in 2007-2008 with 19 higher education systems. APIKS represents both research-oriented systems and teaching-oriented systems and institutions. The APIKS time series data indicate that the importance of universities and the knowledge base of the academic profession are increasingly international. The skills and knowledge of the academic profession are being built and rebuilt in ever shorter cycles. In addition to research and the educational functions, higher education institutions are seeking their role in the global operating environment. The results of the APIKS study indicate that states and regional societal interaction alone are not enough to guarantee the role of universities in innovation systems. In the context of national research and innovation systems, shifts and transitions of the university require members of the academic profession cope to be increasingly strong in teaching, productive in research, and able to collaborate extensively in society.

Timo Aarrevaara, D.Soc.Sc., is a professor of Administrative Science at the University of Lapland, Finland and has acted as Principal Investigator of number of scholarly projects in higher education and innovation systems. His international higher education research links include being chair of the APIKS coordinator’s group with Monica Marquina and being co-editor of Springer’s The Changing Academy Series with Martin Finkelstein. He is also co-editor of the APIKS book “Universities in Knowledge Society - The Nexus of National Systems of Innovation and Higher Education” (with Glen A. Jones, Martin Finkelstein and  Jisun Jung, Springer 2021).



Manja Klemenčič is Lecturer on Sociology and Lecturer in General Education at Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University and Associate Researcher at Centre for Educational Policy Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana. Her major research contribution is in the study of student governments and student representation which is part of her broader research agenda on student agency and the impact of students on higher education. She is also a researcher in the global research network Academic Profession in Knowledge-based Societies (APIKS) and has published on academic profession in Slovenia and on internationalization of the curriculum in international comparative perspective with APIKS data from 20 countries.  She has over 100 publications and over 60 keynotes and invited lectures on a broad array of higher education topics. Her latest publications include the The Routledge Handbook of Student Centered Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Routledge, 2020, co-edited with Sabine Hoidn) and thematic section on Elite and Mass Higher Education in The International Encyclopedia of Higher Education Systems and Institutions (Springer Nature, 2020). Since 2014, Klemenčič serves as Editor-in-Chief of European Journal of Higher Education (Routledge/Taylor & Francis), and since 2015 as Co-Editor of the academic book series Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education (Bloomsbury).