Managerialism and the academic profession: quality and control

Trow, Martin (1994). Managerialism and the academic profession: quality and control. Higher Education Report No.2; Quality Support Centre, London.


It is a little over a year since new arrangements for the external assessment of teaching quality were introduced into British higher education. The long-term effects of quality assessment may not be known but it is possible to see in its introduction the latest stage of a process which has over the last fifteen years been shifting decisively the balance between academic autonomy and public accountability in higher education.

In the following essay, Martin Trow elaborates this view and considers some of the dangers for quality in higher education that arise from the current forms of quality assessment. In a commentary on Professor Trow's thesis, Dr Paul Clark, Director of Quality Assessment at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, points to some of the benefits of quality assessment.

What both contributions do is to remind us that current debates about the assessment of quality in higher education are about much more than the meeting of external bureaucratic requirements: they are about the purposes of mass systems of higher education and the institutional cultures and structural arrangements through which they are to be achieved.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions