8 February 2023

Universities are caught in a continuous dilemma. On the one hand, following the Humboldtian ideals, universities are expected to be run by autonomous, interrelated academic communities. This is often described as collegial governance. On the other hand, the university is an instrument for the fulfilment of goals external to the academic community. Governance and control are tailored as means to fulfil these goals and, in practice, this type of governance tends to be formed in line with bureaucratic or managerial models. As a consequence, the university is a meeting point for various governance models.

In late-January 2022, 24 scholars from around the world gathered at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) to exchange knowledge and to contextualise the issues of governance and collegiality. Together they seek to obtain insights into the encounters between the two diverse modes of governing. Included in the three-day proceedings was a seminar with South African colleagues (Prof Wim de Villiers, Prof Jonathan Jansen, Prof Daya Reddy, Dr Palesa Mothapo and Prof Chrissie Boughey) who, in one way or another, are concerned about collegiality at South African universities. The international scholars presented their insights while colleagues from South Africa were invited to present and share their views on the specific challenges to collegiality being faced at South African universities.

Attending the meeting were Anna Kosmützky (Leibniz Research Centre Science and Society), Audrey Harroche (Sciences Po), Chiqui Ramirez (Stanford University), François van Schalkwyk and Nico Cloete (Stellenbosch University), Georg Krücken (University of Kassel), Gili Drori and Ravit Mizrahi-Shtelman (Hebrew University), Hampus Östh Gustafsson (Uppsala University), Jakov Jandric (University of Edinburgh), Jan Goldenstein, Peter Walgenbach and Lisa-Maria Gerhardt (Friedrich Schiller University of Jena), Joel Gehman (George Washington University), Kerstin Sahlin (Uppsala University), Logan Crace and Mike Lounsbury (University of Alberta), Nancy Côté (Laval University), Pedro Pineda Rodriguez (University of Bath), Rick Delbridge (University of Cardiff), Seungah Lee (New York University), and Ulla Eriksson Zetterquist (University of Gothenburg).

The project will culminate in the publication of a double-volume special issue in Research in the Sociology of Organizations.