The academic’s burden. University professors under perverse pressure?


Thursday November 21, 2013, 14.00-18.00

12th Ethical Forum of the University Foundation

During the last decades universities have undergone substantial changes. Professors who left the university 30 years ago would not recognize their universities anymore. A spectacular growth of students and researchers, the Bologna bachelor-master reform, the introduction of new funding mechanisms and of many other administrative, organizational and legal reforms, internationalization, an increasing amount of control practices and bureaucratization, the use of internet and email, the pressure to publish – they all change the academics’ life and expectations.

For the university professor these developments result in a new timetable with other job responsibilities. Today there is widespread discussion about this new range of academic duties: some of these duties are perceived as waste of time, while there is not enough time for more important tasks. Can we speak about a broken balance between the different tasks academics have to fulfill? Is research being overvalued relative to education and public service? If so, what are the causes and the consequences of this development.


The aim of this Ethical Forum was to stimulate reflection about the following question:

Is the kind of academic that has been shaped by the new system and can survive in it, also the kind of academic we want (to be)?

Keynote speakers and panel members
Liudvika LeisyteHerman De DijnFrank WillaertDominique WillemsMichel GeversMark WaerLiesbet GerisPatrick Loobuyck