This is a time of unprecedented change in higher education. Across Europe and North America, the role of universities has been transformed. The increase in student numbers and constraints on public expenditure have not only seen an increased emphasis on cost-effectiveness; they have also led to a transformation in the nature of the student body in higher education and to its institutional structures. The challenges which higher education faces are discussed in this collection from a radical perspective: that of universities contributing to the re-creation of their own communities and, in turn, being re-made by those communities. This perspective also involves questioning the notion of community. There is an evident contradiction between a university which services a local economic community through business links and one which defines services to the community as the empowerment through education of the diverse groups of people living in its neighbourhood. The contributors to this collection look to what the very notion of a university might be in the late-20th century.