Category: Thematic Week

New thematic week: Higher education conferences of 2014

CHER Conference 2014

CHER Conference 2014

Last year was the first year we started a special thematic week following the “conference season” that takes place in August-September. This was a step forward from the conference reviews we publish throughout the year, and an attempt to cover some of the main themes and topics on major conferences in that time period, where higher education is either in focus, or has established itself as a track of research.

Last year we focused on EAIR, ECPR, CHER and EAIE. This year we have been able to add ECER and EGOS as well, very grateful to our reviewers!

Here is some basic information about the conferences:

EAIR 36th Annual Forum

The European Association for Institutional Research (EAIR) conference was titled: “Higher Education Diversity and Excellence for Soceity” and it was held in Essen, Germany, between 27-39 August 2014. The conference was hosted by University of Duisburg-Essen.

The Hedda review for the conference is written by Maria João Manatos (ISEG and CIPES, Portugal). 

8th ECPR General Conference

The 7th General Conference for the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) was held at University of Glasgow in Scotland (UK), between 3-6 September 2014. The rationale for including this into our review was that the also this year, the conference included a large section on Europe of Knowledge which had its focus on knowledge policies in Europe.

Hedda associate Mari Elken (NIFU. Norway) has summarised the talk of the day from ECPR.




Thematic week: The Re-Institutionalization of Higher Education in the Western Balkans.

bookThis final post in our thematic week is a brief background and introduction to one of the key project outputs, the newly published book: “The Re-Institutionalization of Higher Education in the Western Balkans. The interplay between European ideas, domestic policies, and institutional practices”. The review is written by Jelena Brankovic (Ghent University) 

During last three decades, European higher education systems and institutions have witnessed dramatically changing socio-economic, technological and political environments, general public sector reforms aimed at modernizing public sector governance and management, and increasing demands for positive social and economic impacts of their education and research activities. However, the change dynamics experienced and challenges faced by some countries and regions have been essentially different than others.

The countries often described as “the Western Balkans” (former Yugoslavia, minus Slovenia, plus Albania) during the last couple of decades have faced two interrelated sets of challenges. First, they had to re-establish their own national higher education systems following the institutional upheaval of the break-down of former Yugoslavia or the fall of the autocratic regime of Enver Hoxha in Albania. This required the development of new laws and regulations, the establishment of new governance and funding systems, and the adequate handling of problems with respect to the quality, efficiency and relevance of higher education institutions. Second, the countries had to adjust these newly developed systems to European developments, not least the Bologna Process and more internationally oriented higher education institutions while maintaining national and regional relevance.

The book The Re-Institutionalization of Higher Education in the Western Balkans. The Interplay between European Ideas, Domestic Policies, and Institutional Practices, is the 5th volume in the series Higher Education Research and Policy issued by Peter Lang Publishers.




Hedda podcast: Higher education transformation in the Western Balkans

Episode 45 of our podcast series features Martina Vukasovic (CHEGG, Ghent University). In the podcast, we discuss the recently finished NORGLOBAL funded project about higher education transformation in the Western Balkans. We highlight the key project results, including what she thought to be the most surprising research results. Further, we discuss challenges when working with capacity building and reflect on the plans for the future.

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Martina Vukasovic  (CHEGG, Ghent University)

Martina Vukasovic
(CHEGG, Ghent University)

Martina Vukasovic is employed as a post-doctoral fellow at CHEGG and is due to defend her PhD dissertation in June at the University of Oslo. She is also an earlier Hedda graduate, having completed her Masters Degree in Higher Education in 2007. Earlier, she has worked as the founding director of the Education Policy Center in Serbia, for the Council of Europe, as well as having been the chairperson of the European Student Union (then ESIB). She is also currently in the Council of the Magna Charta Observatory. Her research interests are primarily focused on higher education governance and policy, with particular focus on European integration processes.




Thematic week: Presentations from the conference on higher education in Western Balkans (2)

We are also delighted to now shar with you the remaining of the presentations from the final conference “European Integration in Higher Education and Research in the Western Balkans” that took place in Oslo on 27th of February 2014 at the University of Oslo. The conference gathered project members as well as invited people from the region and beyond.

Third session: Focus on public-private dynamics in higher education

Jelena Brankovic   (Photo: University of Ghent)

Jelena Brankovic
(Photo: Ghent University)

First we have for you a presentation by Jelena Brankovic (CHEGG, Ghent University) on the public and private higher education in the Western Balkans

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The presentation is followed up with a panel debate on public and private higher education in the Western Balkans, including Marek Kwiek (Adam Mickiewicz University), Pavel Zgaga (University of Ljubljana).The debate is moderated by Manja Klemencic (Harvard University).

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Thematic week: Presentations from the conference on higher education in Western Balkans (1)

We are also delighted to share with you presentations from the final conference “European Integration in Higher Education and Research in the Western Balkans” that took place in Oslo on 27th of February 2014 at the University of Oslo. The conference gathered project members as well as invited people from the region and beyond.

First session – Introduction to the project and book

Martina Vukasovic  (Ghent University)

Martina Vukasovic
(Ghent University)

In the first session, there are two presentstions:

  1. Bjørn Stensaker (University of Oslo) first introduces the conference.
  2. Martina Vukasovic (Ghent University) provides a presentation of the book: “The Re-Institutionalization of Higher Education in the Western Balkans: The interplay between European ideas, domestic policies and institutional practices” and some of the basic core ideas.

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Second session – Focus on capacity building

The second session starts with a presentation by Antigoni Papadimitriou about the impact of the TEMPUS programme