Breaking the mould: a comparative study of ‘radical’ university curriculum reforms in a context of global-local policy flows

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Abstract

Curriculum has become a core element of universities’ competitive positioning, internationally and nationally. This paper presents a longitudinal analysis of policy processes and outcomes associated with ‘radical’ university curriculum reforms that resulted in divergence from institutions’ own historical patterns and national conventions and traditions. The empirical investigations draw on a policy trajectory conceptual framework and focus on how two research-intensive Australian universities navigated global–local policy flows throughout their curriculum transformations. Findings revealed that each reform project manifested proactive policy learning and, ultimately, agency, as global and national influences were articulated into local contexts, with the effect of ‘breaking the mould’ of relatively standardised university curriculum provision in Australia. At the same time, the analyses revealed a similar pattern of intensified bureaucratisation of curriculum governance within the two universities, as well as the compromising of initial reform objectives in key curriculum areas such as interdisciplinarity, internationalisation and so-called twenty-first-century skills.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
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DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2022

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