The impact of the structural reform: what do academics think and do?
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In 2015 a large-scale structural reform was introduced in Norway, aiming at improving the quality of higher education. Through mergers between institutions, reform objectives such as high-quality education and research, robust academic communities, proper access to education throughout the country, regional development, world leading academic communities and efficient use of resources were to be achieved. A 2021 survey among academic staff allows us to gain insight in the teaching, research and third mission activities of academic staff and to see some perceived impacts of the structural reform. Teaching and research activities were quite similar across the sector, with some differences between subfields, merged institutions versus non-merged institutions and across institutional types. In contrast, involvement in third mission activities differed significantly. Also here there were marked differences by subfields, merged/non-merged institutions and institutional type. Regarding the level of change experienced, we found that across all reform dimensions respondent very often did not witness much change or did not know. Overall, the impact of the reform appears to be – according to the respondents – limited.