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 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.


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!


Upcoming special issue at UNIPED

Following the symposium at the NERA conference, project researchers are also working with a special issue at UNIPED.

Associate Professor Thomas de Lange, UiO
Associate Professor Crina Damsa, UiO

Crina Damsa & Thomas de Lange, the guest editors of the special issue, describe it as:

“This special issue explores how various forms of student centered approaches have been implemented in higher education courses and programs. Its main aim is to examine and understand the way teaching methods and various forms of activity are employed to activate students and to achieve quality in the teaching and learning processes. In addition, the special issue addresses aspects of organization and leadership of study programmes in relation to the teaching and learning processes.

Implications for the educational practices will be identified following from the analysis of empirical cases from Norway and Finland. The articles and the commentaries cover a wide spectrum of disciplinary contexts, institutional contexts and levels of education and intend to identify and problematize aspects that might foster or stand in the way of achieving quality in teaching and learning. The contributions take a departure point in empirical data and engage with different research methodologies.

Overall, the ambition of this special issue is to provide a nuanced and research-based view on quality work in practice and inspire innovative efforts in the future.”

The contributions in the special issue will be both in Norwegian and English.


Results from the project presented at the NERA conference in Oslo

The 46th Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA) conference was held  8-10 March in Oslo. Researchers from the project presented seven papers from the project in a two-session symposium Friday afternoon, organised by Crina Damsa and Thomas de Lange (View the conference programme here):

  • Portfolio assessment in biology: from design to implementation by Rachelle Esterhazy
  • Simulation in nursing- Enhancing quality through technological training environments by Odd Rune Stalheim & Yngve Nordkvelle
  • Participant or observer in an online MBA? by Trine Fossland & Cathrine E. Tømte
  • Exploring how law students’ regulation of learning is related their experiences of the teaching-learning environment by Heidi Hyytinen & Anne Haarala-Muhonen
  • Study program leadership: a matter of organization? by Bjørn Stensaker, Mari Elken, Peter Maassen
  • Elements of study program plans – organising for alignment? by Tine S. Prøitz
  • Exploring plenary sessions and their potentialities for student learning by Anne Line Wittek, Thomas de Lange, Monika Bærøe Nerland & Trine Fossland

The sessions were commented by Monika Nerland (UiO) and  Eva Forsberg (Uppsala University).

Odd Rune Stalheim & Yngve Nordkvelle presenting the case on simulation.


Professor Monika Nerland, UiO

Note also that Monika Nerland will be one of the keynote speakers at the conference. Her talk is titled: “Contemporary knowledge dynamics and shifting demands to professional expertise”. In the talk, she employs perspectives from social studies of science and professions to discuss how the knowledge dynamics that serve professional expertise are getting more complex, comprising a range of knowledge-producing actors and interests which generate tensions in educational contexts.