Working paper: educational leadership in Norway

clipboard02Key results from the survey to study programme leaders have been summarized in a recent working paper published in NIFU series (available in Norwegian). The working paper presents some of the main results from the survey, which will be followed with more detailed analysis in various academic publications.

Key results include:

  • Educational leadership as a specific role is ambiguous and lacks of standardization. This can be interpreted as educational leaders lacking power, but it can also be interpreted as a flexible way to tackle complex institutional realities.
  • In a number of cases, this leadership function is instead viewed as a coordinating role, as there is little opportunities to influence academic and administrative aspects of the study programmes.
  • Educational leaders frequently co-operate with various other arenas and actors, thus the function is often enacted in a collaborative manner.

The working paper primarily maps this rather heterogeneous and complex landscape of educational leadership, highlighting key differences between disciplinary and professional study programmes. The study was sent to 1010 respondents from 33 institutions in December 2015. During the survey, 551 respondents provided their answers, making the response rate of 54,6.

The survey is first of its kind in Norway and thus provides fascinating new data to understanding the role of educational leaders in Norwegian higher education institutions, a population that has not been previously studied.

Download and read the report here (in Norwegian).

Educational leadership seminar in Oslo: presentation of first results from the survey

On 10th of June, the first results from the survey to study program leaders was presented in Oslo at a NIFU seminar. Bjørn Stensaker presented some of the key results from the survey. 

Download (PPT, 988KB)

During the seminar, the results were discussed with a panel including Andreas Snildal (NOKUT) and Therese Eia Lerøen (NSO). Commentary was provided by Eirik Welo (Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo) and Vibeke Bjarnø (Oslo and Akershus University College).

 

Stensaker, Tømte and Fossland presenting at Nordic Council of Ministers conference in Helsinki

Last week, on 14th of June, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre organized a Nordic conference, titled: Student-centred approach and the quality of degree education. The conference brought together over 200 participants from various Nordic countries.

Professor Bjørn Stensaker held one of the keynote speeches, where he focused on the relationship between learning outcomes and quality assurance, and pointed some of the issues of bringing quality assurance practice closer to the primary processes of higher education.

cathrine and trineIn addition, Research professor Cathrine Tømte and Associate professor Trine Fossland presented some of their work in the first parallel session. View their presentation “The teachers’ role in the changing landscape of technology rich environments” here (pdf).

The keynote speech by Bjørn Stensaker was also recorded and is avilable on youtube, embedded in the video below. Bjørn Stensakers presentation starts at about 55 minutes, after the introductory speeches from Anita Lehikoinen (Ministry and Education and Culture in Finland), Anders Geertsen (Nordic Council of Ministers) and Professor Riitta Pyykkö (University of Turku).

Data collection regarding educational processes underway

Dr Tine Prøitz, NIFU/HBV
Dr Tine Prøitz, NIFU/HBV
Professor Monika Nerland, UiO
Professor Monika Nerland, UiO

Part C in this project focuses on educational practices, including curriculum development, teaching and learning activities, as well as feedback and assessment.

Sub-project leaders Monika Nerland and Tine Prøitz comment on the overall focus of the sub-project: “To learn more about what matters for educational quality on the practice level in different instructional environments, we conduct observation-based studies of teaching-learning activities in selected courses that employ student-active approaches. Three case studies are undertaken this spring, and three more will follow in the autumn term 2016. In addition, two parallel case studies are conducted in Finland.

The Finnish partners in this project are located at the Centre for Research and Development of Higher Education (YTY) in University of Helsinki

Data collection underway in case institutions
Data collection underway in case institutions (Photo: Rachelle Esterhazy)

Data collection is also now underway in part C: “We are now about to finish the data collection in the first three courses, conducted in a biology program, an engineering program and a nursing program respectively. Towards the end of the courses we will collect students’ experiences from the course by way of group interviews and a questionnaire developed by our colleagues in Helsinki.

In the picture on the right, project researcher Rachelle Esterhazy has documented the site visit to one of the case institutions.

The analysis process is expected to provide rather unique data about the learning processes  in Norway, Nerland and Prøitz explain: “We are very excited about starting to analyze the data, as we do not have much knowledge about the activities taking place behind the doors to lecture halls, labs and seminar rooms in higher education, or how these activities support student learning.”

Read more about project C here.

Need for more appropriate quality indicators in higher education

As a part of Project A in this study, project researchers have examined some of the existing indicators and data on higher education quality in Norway.

They have analysed existing data that is compiled by Statistics Norway (SSB) and Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH). The working paper examines some of the challenges of using these data sources as basis for indicators about quality in higher education.

Clipboard02The researchers highlight in the working paper that quality indicators have different kinds of functions – for system and institutional governance, as an information source for the public (incl students who apply to higher education), as a basis for quality enhancement practices in the institutions, and for purposes of conducting research.

While a substantial amount of data exists on Norwegian higher education, several aspects of quality in higher education are difficult to quantify and measure. Thus, the report argues that indicators should be based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative indicators. For instance, merely measuring resource use would not necessarily say anything about quality as it does not give indications about the pedagogical approaches used nor the study environment at the institution. Furthermore, the report highlights that there likely is considerable amounts of data regarding process quality, but that this is not part of the traditional reporting in current system.

Download the working paper here (in Norwegian).