This paper investigates the existence (or not) of a common academic culture, values and beliefs among Greek academics. This is accomplished by drawing elements from a policy issue which has been affecting the Greek university for over a decade. An institutionalized evaluation system of the Greek university has always been a policy issue that created political tension. Even before the beginning of the Bologna process unsuccessful attempts to legislate for and implement an evaluation system in the Greek university had been made (Law 2083/1992).
After the opening of the Bologna process there were also attempts to establish a quality assurance and evaluation system in the Greek University (MoE draft Law 2003, Law3374/2005). Through confrontations, a few university department evaluations began to be carried out from 2008 onwards. Through this confrontation, two large coalition groups emerged among academics, one in favour of and the other against the institutionalized evaluation program as provided for in the law of 2005 (see Kavasakalis, 2011). The existence or absence of a system of core beliefs and values among Greek academics that were activated in the opposing, conflicting groups of networks for this policy program is one of them, and it is dealt with in the present paper.
The university is one of the oldest institutions in European history. As Berchem says: ‘universities represent the memory of a society, including not only knowledge, but also values and experience. The university is among the longest-living formal institutions in the world – with the Catholic Church, being one of the very few others that have an even longer tradition’ (Berchem, 2006, p. 395).
It is therefore necessary to examine the basic turning points in the history of European universities in order to proceed with this study’s analysis of the existence (or not) of common values in the Greek university today.
Universities appeared during the twelfth century as corporations, associations of persons performing common tasks and defending their interests. By the middle of the thirteenth century they had received, through the intervention of popes, a canonic content by which a university was an institution that ‘[is] acknowledged or founded by a pope, whose members enjoy all the privileges granted to them by the pope, whose degrees are acknowledged throughout the Christian world on the pope’s credence’ (de Ridder-Symoens, 2006, p. 370). At the pre-Nation/State stage universities’ core missions were teaching and research. The medieval universities, as far as their mission and basic organization were concerned, bore many similarities to the present institutions since they were legal corporations with the power to grant degrees, and also had a similar structure, being constituted of a curriculum, examinations, commencement, and faculties (Haskins, 1927, p. 369).
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(Author: Aggelos Kavasakalis