New publication about “quality work” in higher education

Dr. Mari Elken, NIFU
Professor Bjørn Stensaker, UiO

Mari Elken and Bjørn Stensaker have just published a new article in the journal Quality in Higher Education, titled “Conceptualising ‘quality work’ in higher education“. The article argues that current literature on quality in higher education lacks sufficient emphasis on practices within organizations. Outlining this as a future avenue for research, the term “quality work” is contrasted with more well known concepts of quality management and quality culture.

The article can be downloaded open access here.

The term “quality work” will be further addressed in the upcoming final edited volume from the project, where a second round of revisions of the chapters is now underway and which is scheduled to be completed early 2019.


New publication on feedback in higher education

Rachelle Esterhazy, UiO

Rachelle Esterhazy has published a new article on disciplinary practices and their relational dynamics in feedback practices, in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. View the article here.


Most research on feedback has paid limited attention to the role of disciplines and their relational dynamics. This article addresses this limitation by offering a conceptualisation of feedback as a relational process that emerges through feedback encounters shaped by the educational and professional practices of the discipline. Using data from a qualitative case study of an undergraduate software engineering course unit, it explores the relational dynamics between different elements of the course and how these dynamics matter for the emergence of productive feedback encounters. The findings show that a wide range of productive feedback encounters occurred between students and both human and material sources throughout the course. Feedback encounters were productive when students had the opportunity to navigate the tools and conventions necessary to participate in the educational practices of the course and, by extension, the discipline’s professional practices. Different learning activities were characterised by distinctive relational dynamics that provided various opportunities and constraints for productive feedback encounters to emerge. The findings demonstrate the importance of accounting for disciplinary practices and their relational aspects when designing for learning activities that aim to enable students to productively seek out and engage with feedback.

Full reference: Esterhazy, R. (2018) What matters for productive feedback? Disciplinary practices and their relational dynamics, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(8), 1302-1314

New publication on educational leadership

Bjørn Stensaker, Nicoline Frølich and Per Olaf Aamodt have published a new article based on the study programme leader survey carried out in the project. The article is titled Policy, Perceptions, and Practice: A Study of Educational Leadership and Their Balancing of Expectations and Interests at Micro-level” and is published in Higher Education Policy

The article takes a starting point in three competing perspectives on educational leadership in higher education, as being managerial, disciplinary, or stakeholder oriented. Examining these based on the survey among educational leaders, the article finds that for educational leaders, the managerial view is comparatively less relevant for how educational leaders conduct their tasks.


Book seminar held in Oslo

One of the key deliverables from the project will be an edited volume that discusses a range of the key results from the project. Authors of the different draft chapters met on Tuesday the 19th of June in Oslo to discuss current drafts.

The book puts focus on the notion of quality work at various levels of the organization and draws on all of the different data sources employed in the project. It will be edited by (in alphabetical order) Mari Elken, Peter Maassen, Monika Nerland, Tine S. Prøitz, Bjørn Stensaker and Agnete Vabø.

There will also be an event to mark the launch of the book! Check the website for updates!

Project results presented at the NFHE conference in Paris

Agnete Vabø, Nicoline Frølich and Mari Elken presented results from the case studies in part B of the project at the Nordic Fields of Higher Education conference that took place 12-13th of April at Sciences Po in Paris.

The conference was jointly organised by University of Bergen, Uppsala University, the Norwegian University Centre in Paris, and Sciences Po, Paris; and gathered over 40 researchers from within and beyond the Nordic countries.

Dr. Mari Elken, NIFU
Research Professor Nicoline Frølich, NIFU
Research professor Agnete Vabø, NIFU

Mari Elken, Nicoline Frølich, Peter Maassen, & Bjørn Stensaker: “Organizing quality work in higher education institutions” 

Agnete Vabø: “Disciplinary differences in organising quality work”

Both of the presentations will also be chapters in the upcoming book!