The New Flagship University: Changing The Paradigm from Global Ranking to National Relevancy by John Aubrey Douglass

The New Flagship University
Changing the Paradigm from Global Ranking to National Relevancy

John Aubrey Douglass

With chapter contributions by

-John Hawkins
-Andrés Bernasconi and Daniela Véliz Calderón
-Bjørn Stensaker and Tatiana Fumasoli

-Isak Froumin and Oleg Leshukov

-Manja Klemencic

Palgrave Macmillan 2016
Hardback 9781137500489


The New Flagship University provides an expansive vision for leading national universities and an alternative narrative to global rankings and World Class Universities that dominate the attention of many universities, as well as government ministries. The New Flagship model explores pathways for universities to re-shape their missions and academic cultures, and to pursue organizational features intended to expand their relevancy in the societies that give them life and purpose. In this quest, international standards of excellence focused largely on research productivity are not ignored, but are framed as only one goal towards supporting a university's productivity and larger social purpose—not as an end unto itself. Chapters by contributing authors detail the historical and contemporary role of leading national university in Asia, South America, Russia, and Scandinavia, and consider how the New Flagship model might be applied and expanded on. 


"Global league tables have imposed a new tyranny on major research universities. Even, perhaps especially, the most highly ranked are in their thrall. They have to conform ever more closely to a restricted (and restrictive) idea of the 'world-class university'— global norms that supposedly apply everywhere but actually fit nowhere. New paradigms of success are desperately needed. John Douglass' new book articulates an imaginative new concept of the 'flagship university', at once excellent according to all academic measures but rooted in meeting the real needs of their societies."

- Peter Scott, UCL Institute of Education, UK; former Vice Chancellor at Kingston University, UK, and Editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement

"Over the past millennium, universities have thrived through a process of continual renewal. Prophecies that they would succumb to new institutions, new technologies, and new demands have not been fulfilled. In this age of globalization, universities are not luxuries but are central to societies around the globe for the creation and communication of knowledge, the application of technologies, and the cultivation of leadership. John Douglass's new work is most welcome, as it provides important perspectives on the future of higher education around the world, underlining the essential role of the modern, flagship university."

- Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and former President of Brown University, USA

"John Douglass and his co-authors provide a refreshing perspective on the development of leading research universities worldwide. Unlike one-size-fits-all framework of "world-class" university, the book acknowledges the diversity of approaches to building excellence in higher education. The New Flagship University model is very important for post-socialist higher education systems as it emphasizes the crucial role of the 'third' mission of universities - boosting social progress and economic growth, and considering regional or national needs."

- Yaroslav Kuzminov, Rector Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

"Throughout much of the world, global rankings of universities and similar markers of prestige have an outsize influence on ministerial policies and institutional behaviors. In an innovative and groundbreaking manner, The New Flagship University provides a much needed reboot, profiling and explaining the actual policies and practices, and expansive mission, of the best and most influential global universities."

- Nicholas Dirks, Chancellor UC Berkeley, California, USA




By John Aubrey Douglass

Introduction: Seeking an Alternative Narrative

  1. How Rankings Came to Determine World Class
  2. The Origin of the Flagship Idea and Modern Adaptions
  3. Profiling the Flagship Model
  4. Considering National Contexts and other Variables


  1. The Predicament of the Quest for WCU Status and Seeking an Asian Flagship University
    by John N. Hawkins
  2. Latin America Flagship Universities: From Early Notions of State Building to Seeking a Larger Role in Society
    by Andrés Bernasconi and Daniela Véliz Calderón
  3. Scandinavian Flagship Universities: An Appraisal of Leading National Universities in the European Context
    by Bjørn Stensaker and Tatiana Fumasoli
  4. The Soviet Flagship University Model and its Contemporary Transition
    by Isak Froumin and Oleg Leshukov
  5. Epilogue - Reflections on a New Flagship University by Manja Klemenčič

Ebook - Envisioning the Asian New Flagship University (Berkeley Public Policy Press/East-West Center

New Flagship University Campus Assessment Matrix

Publication date: 
January 15, 2016
Publication type: 
Douglass, John Aubrey. The New Flagship University: Changing The Paradigm from Global Ranking to National Relevancy (2016) London,UK: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2016 edition.