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The expanded developmental periphery: framing the institutional role of university continuing education units

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This article argues that Burton Clark’s notion of the expanded developmental periphery provides a useful conceptual framework for examining the differing relationships between continuing and professional education units and the institutional core of traditional research universities. The intent is to examine how Clark’s notion offers a means to detect and analyse factors that assist in empowering some units and, conversely, those that are disempowering and lead to a perception of marginalisation in others. The article begins by examining differing perspectives in the literature on the relationship between continuing and professional education units and the university core. It then revisits Clark’s work on entrepreneurial universities before focussing on just one of the five transforming elements that Clark argues underscore the success of entrepreneurial universities—the expanded developmental periphery. The article explains how this notion was developed into a conceptual framework and was used in my own research examining the contribution that three continuing and professional education units made to their universities in Washington DC, Hong Kong and Sydney. I have used Clark’s notion as a diagnostic tool, which may have a wider application for examining relationships between the institutional core and its periphery.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Sydney, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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