June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society and Educational Research and Methods
26.975.1 - 26.975.18
Institutional Responses to the Bologna Process in Danish Engineering EducationDuring the opening keynote at the 2014 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, where PurdueUniversity president and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels spoke about the future of U.S.engineering education, the question came up as to how U.S. institutions such as Purdue wereresponding to the Bologna Process and the current transformation of European higher education.Following the 1999 Bologna Declaration, many European education ministers embraced auniform two-cycle (typically “Diplom.” + “Candidate’s”) 3 + 2 year degree program structurefor their higher education institutions that promises to elevate the second degree into theequivalent of a U.S. Master’s degree. Moreover, as carried out under the neoliberal rhetoric ofcreating a European common market for higher education, the Bologna Process has offered manyEuropean institutions the opportunity to craft highly specialized technical degrees in support ofeconomic globalization and new national visions for an “innovation economy.”While the responses of the different European countries have varied, Denmark presents aninteresting case study in that as a small social democratic country with an unusually highcommitment to public higher education, Denmark was quick to embrace Bologna and to developa policy framework to support the corresponding transition. Thus unlike England, France, andGermany, where leading institutions have been more recalcitrant to undertake the deep curricularchanges associated with Bologna, the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and HigherEducation and the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth made a series of policy decisionsthat left Danish institutions with little choice but to accept large-scale change. Yet in beingdriven at the same time by strong principles of market competition, this policy framework leftDanish educational institutions with substantial room to craft their own responses, producingdifferent models for adapting their system of engineering education.This paper presents our preliminary findings based on a series of oral interviews carried out inlate 2012 at Aalborg University, Danish Technological University (DTU), Aarhus University,and two institutions formerly offering “medium cycle” (nominally 3.5 year) engineering degreeprograms. Broadly stated, the institutions’ responses varied from those of academicentrepreneurialism, to disciplinary retrenchment, to new visions for interdisciplinarycollaboration. Each set of institutional responses documents how the local responses to newpolicies took shape, and supported the vision to cultivate greater competition among Danishhigher education institutions. The paper will conclude with the implications of these changes forU.S. engineering education institutions, and the likely timeframe we have for adapting U.S.educational policies and institutional strategies in response to how the Bologna Process has beenunfolding in countries such as Denmark.
Akera, A., & Tang, X. (2015, June), Institutional Responses to the Bologna Process in Danish Engineering Education Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24312
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