|General programme, activity sheet|
||Thursday 24 October, 2013 17:15 to 17:35
University reforms in Sweden and the principle of unity between research and teaching in TourismSpeaker: Anders Olsson, Lund University
Authors: Anders Olsson
In my paper I present parts of my ongoing research about recent University reforms in Sweden and their consequences for tourism education and research.
Professions are science-based occupations. Professions are characterised in different ways but there are certain common features. One of these is that they have a specific institutional logic that is distinct from the logic of the state or the market. This logic is communicated in higher education. The relationship between scientific knowledge and professional practice, which is the basis for any claim to professional status, is changing. These changes have been highlighted in recent years in several Swedish policy documents and seem to be part of global developments that have affected the education system. These kinds of reforms affect the way we think about and respond to education and have deep influences on principles that have been recognisable for many years and have granted academic sovereignty to universities free from intervention from other organisations. It is this system that is now being changed. My point is that such policies represent new principles that express the value of entrepreneurial and commercial partnerships, opportunities and solutions in higher education and research far more than before. They reframe faculty work in relation to economic growth and this has a potential to significantly influence working conditions in education in terms of delivery, management and the re-contextualization of both academic and professional knowledge content. Commercialization and the developed requirement of public-private partnerships in education are amongst the new policy factors that have emerged from the changes.
My research aims to study these changes in University policy and the effects they are having on tourism education and research. Tourism is interesting as an example of a pre-profession. Pre-professions is referring to the heterogeneous spectrum of novel occupations that presently grow on a neo-liberal market, often supplemented by a multitude of newly constructed courses and special training programs at the universities.
In order to analyze what happens when the policy documents is put into practice I have conducted interviews with teachers and researchers who have experience in working with research and education in tourism. Teachers and researchers are interesting because they affect the relationship between scientific knowledge and professional practice and are affected by the changes taking place in politics. The selection of teachers and researchers is based from a number of Universities in Sweden with tourism courses at university level in order to highlight a width about the problem of change. I have asked them questions related to their research and their teaching and about their view on the tourism profession.
The findings provide substantial insight into the changing relations between tourism education and research, the State and society. The national context of the re-structured Swedish welfare state is different to that of many other countries, which may affect what develops. In this paper I highlight the way the reforms seem to have affected the principle of unity between research and teaching. On one hand the teachers and researchers have to relate to the principle of unity between research and teaching, which is articulated in the Swedish Higher Education Act. On the other hand they have to relate to different kinds of commercial partnerships, increased influence on Universities from external trade, industry and commerce and so on. I discuss how this tension is handled by the teachers and researchers.
Session 4 – Institutional development and change
Place: Room SB04