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Institutional diversity is becoming more central to higher education policy as higher education institutions are moving to the centre stage of political and public attention, with the expectation that they should fulfil a wide range of demands linked to the emergence of knowledge societies.

Against the background of a wide body of literature on institutional diversity in higher education, this comparative international study focuses on institutional diversity in five different higher education systems in Europe – England, France, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland – in an attempt to shed some empirical light on the complexity of forces that influence institutional diversity.

The report is structured in three parts. A first part serves as an introduction to the research design, key concepts and research questions, as derived or distinct from previous research literature. A second part consists of the five country case studies. It discusses in detail the values attached to institutional diversity at system and institutional levels and the drivers of diversification and convergence that shape institutional profiles in these national contexts. The third part takes up the questions of the introduction and attempts to derive answers from the empirical data offered by the country studies, taking the findings to a more general discussion of the values and drivers of diversification or convergence, their interplay and the key challenges and open questions which remain for policy makers, institutional leaders, and higher education researchers.

Institutional Diversity in European Higher Education: Tensions and challenges for policy makers and institutional leaders

Sybille Reichert

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