Surviving a Crisis: Transformation, Adaptation, and Resistance in Higher Education (new article)

My new article, Surviving a Crisis: Transformation, Adaptation, and Resistance in Higher Education, is now out. The article is open access and the online first version is available to download at

This is the first article to be published from my PhD research and it also builds on the webinar I gave at the Centre for Global Higher Education in October 2020. I am committed to supporting open science and this was one of the reasons I submitted the article to the open access peer reviewed journal Higher Education, Governance and Policy. This is still a fairly new journal that has already published a number of strong articles. My experience was very positive: I found the peer review feedback constructive, and the publication process smooth.

Here’s the abstract:

After periods of crisis, it has been assumed that social institutions like higher education will also change radically – and perhaps even fail. In contrast to this expectation, this paper demonstrates that such moments of intense disruption result not only in transformation but are additionally accompanied by significant levels of adaptation and some resistance. Drawing from a larger study of the impact of crisis on higher education, this paper explores some of the ways that higher education responds to major political, economic, and social change at both system and organizational levels. Taking the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as the moment of crisis, the paper presents findings from a comparative case study of three ex-Soviet countries with new primary source data generated by interviews with experienced faculty members at the frontline of change. Understanding what it takes for higher education to survive a crisis makes an important contribution to comparative higher education studies by showing the variegated ways that higher education institutions and systems respond to crisis and to filling the gap in theory-driven explanations of system and organizational responses to major change.

Although my article is based on a crisis event that we could now consign to the category of history, it is still the case that crises of all magnitudes have continued and have major implications for education. Nowhere is this clearer in recent months than in Ukraine, where wanton destruction and displacement threaten millions of learners. This is a real time unfolding of major change, underlining the continuing relevance of understanding what it takes for higher education to survive a crisis.

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