The university as we have known it is undergoing massive transformations. This observation is commonly made these days during discussions of the future of our academic system(s). While it certainly holds true for the 'Western' strong- holds of our globe, it likewise applies to a wide variety of marginalized contexts and locations beyond. For historical reasons, universities and academic systems differ considerably from place to place. However, the transformative process under analysis here is driven by major economic and technological develop- ments generally subsumed under the label 'globalization'. And although, the contemporary world deliberately puts the stress on change and 'the new', the traditional academic systems are challenged by the great juggernaut of global- ized transformation on the level of the particular and the local. In our view, the ongonig changes are neither reason for celebration nor de- spair. What motivated us to put this volume together was our curiosity about these processes of change, as well as our awareness of their significance, our partisanship for particular directions that they mayor may not take and, last but not least, our insight into their complexities and heterogeneous, even contradic- tory, outcomes.
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