The position of universities as thought‐centres of society may not be as tenuous as some suggest, but a significant reshaping of the traditional identity and practices of universities, as we now know them, is necessary. This article examines four trends that loom ahead for universities during the next 20 years: the increasing role of private enterprise in selected areas of research, especially those that are economically viable; a stronger emphasis on business concerns – profits and financial accountability; increased demands to open new areas of academic study; and a new focus on the special interests of sub‐culture groups within academia.
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