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Burton Clark, one of the most influential higher education researchers of the past decades, died in late October. The American sociologist taught and researched at five top notch US institutions: Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley, Yale and UCLA. Burton Clark wrote many books about higher education. In Europe, he became very influential through his publication “Creating Entrepreneurial Universities”, in which he analysed the revamping of a number of European universities and identified models for institutional self-transformation. The concepts and terminology he developed, such as the “cooling out function”, the “academic oligarchy” and the “Clarkian tringel of coordination”, have become common currency. He received awards and distinctions from many, among them the European Association for Institutional Research (EAIR).
As EAIE states in an obituary, Burton Clark’s talent was “colossal. It brought together an unrivalled ability to identify strategic issues in higher education, a gentle, but nonetheless iron determination to tease them out and an unsurpassed gift for both grounded research and synthesis that drew around him a network of scholars from different lands, systems and continents to dissect with him the key issues of the day.”