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Tuesday, October, 12, 2010

Public administrations and academic institutions have completed significant changes recently -- both nationally and internationally. Despite culture differences, these changes represent the outcome of a process that started several decades ago and that has aimed to deeply modify the traditional modus operandi as well as the values of all of the academic institutions involved. Several factors have played a central role at the base of this process and some of them are particularly noteworthy: the need for mass education as opposed to elite education; a renewed awareness of citizens and students about their own rights; an increasing competitiveness among universities both on a national and international level and between universities and other higher education institutions; university autonomy and its proactive and entrepreneurial role; the shortage of public funds and its consequences on the managerial aspects of university systems; a need for a new relationship with the job market and with the local environment; the need to create a link between research projects and degree programs in order to provide students with an up-to-date education that is also marketable; the need to use renewed managerial tools to achieve an efficient management of available resources within an ever changing social and economic environment. The Italian university system reform has introduced regulations and norms which seek to deeply transform the Italian higher education system in accordance with European guidelines. The new regulatory system is not yet finalized and is in fact open to further change and modification. A document entitled "Autonomy and Responsibility: Governance, assessment and recruitment" was presented at the seminar "A virtuous pact between university and government" on March 24 2009 and is illustrative of some of the most dynamic aspects of this reform process. This dynamism should be the base from which new and more adequate managerial and organizational policies are realized at our university. It is crucial to promote and protect the interests of the stakeholders that are involved in the management process of universities and that rise from the current social-economic context. Students, public and private business, the Italian government, the public administration, the EU, faculty and staff members, and the community are some of the main actors in this process. Our ability to offer timely answers to this reform process will be key to the success of our university.