Institutional Evaluation, Management Practices and Capitalist Redesign of The University: A Case Study

  • Denise Leite
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 3)


This chapter is a product of reflections on continuing research projects1 concerning institutional evaluation. The evaluation processes of nine universities2 from four countries were researched. I worked in partnership with colleagues from these countries and was supported mainly by CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) and FAPERGS (Foundation for Support of Research in the State of Rio Grande do Sul). The main objective of the project was to understand the impact and changes associated with university evaluations. I focused on pedagogical innovation. The theory that sustains the cases researched is based on Buchbinder’s conceptions (1993) about ‘market-oriented universities’, on Cowen’s (1996) discussions about ‘performative universities’ and on Barrow’s (1996) conception about the university of ‘selective excellence’. As background, I used the Portuguese social theorist B.S. Santos’(1994) notion of the ‘university of ideas’ instead of the ‘idea of the university’. This allowed me to examine the cases with respect to their contradictions and differences instead of their similarities. At the beginning, I was in search of participative practices as an innovative evaluation methodology. But when discussing the performance results of the evaluation processes I realised that another important change was occurring — the capitalist redesigning of universities. This redesigning is associated with the improvement of management of corporate boards, aiming at the markets and the resolution of institutional problems. Once the problems are identified — along with more competitive issues — strategies are articulated. These strategies are internally directed to the boundaries of efficiency and effectiveness with the central scope of ‘doing more with less’ and externally directed to new publics and to the market visibility of the institution. The changes cannot be understood as a linear and direct result of internal evaluations. Many factors are relevant to this new university performance, including the introduction of educational reforms and national evaluation and accreditation processes, institutionalised in the 1990s, in Latin American higher education. International pressures on universities can also be identified as a factor affecting internal change.


High Education Strategic Planning High Education Institution High Education System Internal Evaluation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

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  • Denise Leite

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