Category: Hedda Spotlights and Chronicles

Hedda Staff profile: Philipp Friedrich

Philipp Friedrich (University of Oslo)

Philipp Friedrich
(University of Oslo)

Philipp Friedrich is a PhD candidate at the Department of Education at the University of Oslo. His research project is focused on effective coordination of higher education policies in modern nation states. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with focus on History and Scandinavian Studies Department of Political science, University of Vienna, and is also a graduate of the Higher Education Master Programme at the University of Oslo. Prior to starting as a PhD fellow, he worked as a research assistant on multiple projects, and as a scientific associate at the Knowledge Center for Education. He is currentlyt involved with teaching at introductory HEM4100 course, as well as the HEM4220 course on organization, governance and management of higher education. 

What interests you about the field of higher education?

I think higher education plays in many respects an essential role for society and technological and economic development. It is this variety and importance of higher education for the political order of any society that fascinates me. The university as the core institution of higher education must be one of the most fascinating institutions that civilization has brought forth. It is traditional, difficult to understand, even more difficult to organize or to govern, and at the same time a place where innovation takes place, new ideas are born and future generations trained and educated. My general interest refers to the role higher education and the university plays in society and how it can eventually contribute to human well-being and socioeconomic development.

How did you get into the field of higher education? What kind of disciplinary background do you have? 

Two major developments have influenced my choice to study in the master program “Higher Education” here in Oslo. I began to study political science and history at the University of Vienna in Austria. During the latter semesters of my bachelor programme I became increasingly involved and interested in university politics through my work in the students union. Besides, I could also gain teaching and supervision experiences as mentor and tutor for first year students, a work which I really liked and enjoyed. The other development refers to my travels to Scandinavia during my time of studies in Austria. I was at one point fascinated both by nature and culture. Since my plan was to take a master degree at a foreign institution, I thought the master program in Oslo would be a perfect match. So I set everything in motion to make this adventure happen. During my studies in Oslo I also here became gradually involved in teaching and various activities related to the program e.g. as student representative or colloquium leader. Despite that I began to work as research assistant in a project to which I also linked my master thesis. After a short intermezzo at the Research Council of Norway and in parallel a research assistant position in another project, the time has come for a PhD position in that field which I’m more than happy to have had obtained.

What are your main research interests in higher education? What is your PhD project about?




Staff Spotlight: Rachelle Esterhazy

Rachelle Esterhazy

Rachelle Esterhazy (University of Oslo)

Rachelle Esterhazy is a second year PhD candidate at the Department of Education at the University of Oslo. Her research project is about “Feedback practices in higher education” and focuses on the processes that take place when students engage with feedback. She holds a B.Sc in Psychology from the University of Konstanz, Germany and a M.Phil in Higher Education from the University of Oslo. In 2015-2016, Rachelle taught the methods courses in the M.Phil Higher Education program.

What interests you about the field of higher education?

First and foremost I am interested in learning processes of students and how they unfold during their higher education studies. The higher education context is very complex and students are diverse in their pre-knowledge, learning approaches and motivations. This is what makes the learning processes in higher education so fascinating. While the focus of my project is on a very particular part of this learning process, I find it important to keep in mind the big picture and the institutional and sociocultural environment where the learning takes place. This is where I see one of the strengths of the field of higher education, as its small size facilitates the cooperation of people working on different levels of the phenomenon. It is exciting to work with other people coming from all kinds of disciplines, working with all kinds of theories and having all kinds of practical experience and to see how we are all brought together because we share the same interest in higher education.




Hedda Spotlight: Peter Maassen 60

Professor Peter Maassen

Professor Peter Maassen

Heddas director and the leader of Heddas master programme, professor Peter Maassen is celebrating his 60th jubileum these days. The event was celebrated at the University of Oslo with an academic seminar on universities as knowledge organizations, as well as a Festschrift covering key themes of Peter Maassens research work. The Festschrift included contributions from his longstanding colleagues as well as a numer of Hedda alumni who have proceeded to acadremic careers.

We would like to extend our congratulations, also on behalf of Heddas students and alumni. Many of the alumni contributed to the Festschrift, but in this post, we would also like to extend a few additional greetings from Hedda alumni! 




Introducing the new Hedda students!

In this post, we introduce you some of the new Hedda master students at the University of Oslo. Welcome to Oslo! 

The start of the new semester has brought us as well a new beginning in the Hedda program. As an international Master’s program, the origin of the new student cohort is as varied as Higher Education systems around the world, being the new group an excellent example of how the field of Higher Education is diverse and complex, and on how the different contexts of each country interacts with their development. We have students from Africa, Asia, Europe and America, what makes us very proud, reason why we decided to ask some of them to tell us a little bit more about their motivations, their lives and, also, their first impressions of the life is Oslo.

nayer

Hedda master student Nayer

We started with Nayer Shahedifar. She’s from Iran, the cradle of the Persian Empire and one of the biggest countries in Middle East. She has been living in Oslo already for three years. “I’m not a fan of the weather –she argues- but I really like that here, in Norway, rules are followed and are explicit, nothing is hidden behind curtains”, she added. She admires the vision Norway has on education and how that is reflected on the opportunities the country offers in that matter and also on how they support their citizens in failure scenarios. “The concept of poverty is different here”, she says. Regarding her motivations for entering the Master’s program in Higher Education, her background as a literature teacher, both English and French, and as a Journalist, has a lot to do, but her real motives comes from her time at university in Iran. “I was part of a talent program in which they allow certain students to take two degrees at the same time. Only one out of ten succeed. That can’t be right. How can that kind of policies help the country and the students explode their potential? I was the only one who succeeded”, she told us. She would like to go back and help Iran in their path towards development, but the when is not clear, and the where is not clear either. When ask about her expectations on the degree, she explained that she looks forward to obtain a better understanding of the education system as a whole and to gain the ability to detect problems and deliver solutions regarding this matter.

Hedda master student Celio

Hedda master student Celio

Célio Mindo, from Mozambique, was our next interviewed. He arrived one month ago, more or less, and his background is very different from Nayers’. He is a Bachelor in Finances and has work as an assistant manager for ECOBOM, a water company back in his country. About his motivations to enter the Master’s program in Higher Education, he is very clear. “I looking for a different learning environment, a different society from which I can learn. Besides, I intend to mix my academic background and experience with education, because that way I can help Mozambique become a better country in my own way”, he declared. He seeks to contribute to create a better educational system form Mozambique with new perspectives, and he knows that studying in Norway is a challenge, but an even bigger one because “I’m not in my field”, he argued, “but if I can manage, everything is possible”, he added. He expects the program to help him learn new technics, to gain new experiences and to access to more information. “I expect to learn how to apply the new concepts, to that way face the reality of my own country from there, with new basic and complex tools with the challenge of applying them”, he said. Regarding his new life in the city of Oslo, he has a very positive opinion. “Besides the weather, it is very nice. People is kind and helpful, it is a good surprise for me, I didn’t really knew what to expect”, he said. The city itself has also been a surprise for him. “It is an interesting city, lot to see and to explore, I expect to see more. The best of it is how it is divided in different atmospheres. You have fun, calm, everything, like a lot of cities in mixed into one.

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Hedda master student Andrés

Andrés Araos, from Chile, was our third interviewed student.




Welcome new Hedda students!

A new year has started at the university, and Hedda has welcomed a new cohort of Master students, eager to start their interdisciplinary studies in the field of higher education. This year, the student cohort again includes  students from all over the world as usually is the case for the Hedda master programme.

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first information meeting with the new Hedda students in 2015

Getting to know new fellow Master students

Getting to know fellow Master students

This year we have some students who come from Norway locally, but also from a number countries in and around Europe (Austria, Germany, Greece, Norway Spain and Turkey), the African continent (Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda), Asian countries (Nepal and South Korea) and the Americas (Canada, USA and Chile).

We are extremely happy to have this diverse student body also this year. This provides students wonderful opportunities for learning about higher education systems world wide. This gives a whole new meaning to studying different higher education models!

During the first information meeting the students met with the Hedda master programme staff and had great opportunities to mingle with their professors and lecturers afterwards.




Student Chronicle: Study trip to Brussels 2015 – part 2

As a part of their Master studies at University of Oslo, Hedda students made a study trip to Brussels in end of April. In this second post, Kate Belova and Raymond Olufsen write about the second half of their experience, including visit to the European Commission, EURASHE, European Student Union (ESU) and EQAR. 

Second day of meetings, exploring Brussels and departure

We awoke to a colder morning than the day before. However this didn´t put a damper on our company. After a delightful breakfast with scrambled eggs and ham, we headed again towards the western part of Schaerbeek. On our agenda we had a total of four meetings. Our first visit this day was to the European Commission (EC) DG for Education and Culture.

Meeting with the European Commission

After the necessary passport checks by the security guards, Ragnhild-Solvi Berg picked us up by the entrance and guided us to the meeting room through the multiple corridors of the large building. Here we were introduced to her colleague, Dr. Graham Wilkie (both of them work in the international cooperation unit. The two of them informed us on the specifics of the EC. The organization plays an important role when it comes to the European integration of higher education and supports national efforts regarding higher education reforms, as well as inter-governmental processes like the Bologna reform.

From left to right: Kate, Misar, Nirmal, Joshua, Ragnhild, Beatrice, Dr. Graham, Raymond and Tim

From left to right: Kate, Misar, Nirmal, Joshua, Ragnhild, Beatrice, Dr. Graham, Raymond and Tim

Overall, meeting with the EC representatives provided us with a unique opportunity to get a closer look at how the Commission works and what role the EC plays within not only European, but also international higher education. Even more importantly, we gained a valuable insight into the re-design of the student mobility programs that resulted in the creation of the all-inclusive and more internationalized Erasmus + program.  These are some of the bullet points




Student Chronicle: Study trip to Brussels 2015 – part 1

As a part of their Master studies at University of Oslo, Hedda students made a study trip to Brussels in end of April. In this post, Kate Belova and Raymond Olufsen write about the experience and highlight some of the knowledge they gained during this study trip. 

On Tuesday April 21st, seven representatives, from the masters’ class of higher education at the university of Oslo, went to the bureaucratic capitol of Europe; the city of Brussels for a four-day visit. On the agenda was a tight program consisting of meetings with different organisations and persons working in the area of higher education within the EU. The purpose for the trip was to give the students a better insight into the field they are studying.

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From left to right: Misar and Nirmal from Nepal; Beatrice and Joshua from Ghana; and Kate from Ukraine.

Our group consisted of people from Kenya, Ghana, Nepal, Norway and Ukraine. In many ways our little gang reflected the multicultural society that makes up Brussels. None of us had ever been to Belgium and we were excited to see what the city of Brussels would have in store for us.

Arrival and the first day of meetings

After settling into the apartment we rented, using Airbnb; we went out to familiarise ourselves with the neighbourhood. The apartment was located in Schaerbeek, which is one of the nineteen municipalities that make out the Brussels-Capital Region.




Professor Monika Nerland received the faculty prize for excellent teaching

Congratulations to Professor Monika Nerland for being awarded the 2014 Best Teacher Award at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. She is a member of the research group ExCID at the Department of Education.

She is also one of the main professors in the Hedda master programme for higher education, teaching the modules on primary processes in higher education.

In the video, she shares her insights about what she considers excellent teaching in higher education.




Tips and Tricks: How to get started as a new master student? 16 top tips from a second year student!

Enzo Rossi  (Hedda master student)

Enzo Rossi
(Hedda master student)

Have you recently been admitted to the Hedda master programme in higher education? Wonder what to do next? Well, second year student Enzo Rossi shares his 16 top tips for a new student! While targeting new students at the Hedda master programme, these tips are of relevance also for others who might be starting their studies as international students. 

So, you got accepted to the Mphil in Higher Education at the University of Oslo! If you are a bit like I was when accepted, you are probably freaking out right now. So to help you freak out a little bit less, I thought about some things you might find helpful to know before you start.

1) Congratulations! You should pat yourself in the back (or get someone else to do it for you) Around 300 people applied to this programme, and less than 30 typically get accepted, so you should be very happy to be counted amongst the chosen ones.

2) You are going to look at the syllabus and think “I have no idea what any of these things mean”. The first course is an introduction, so all will be clear and it would build up a good base for the rest of the course. Second year students will be assigned to have “colloquiums” with you, where they will go over what you have learned and answer questions you may have and help you link concepts.

3) PANIC, the first semester is very intensive, and even though there are gaps in between lessons, you will use that as valuable study time. The following semester is not as heavy.

4) Yes, you will find a job after you graduate. Coming from business, I was a bit worried about my career opportunities after graduation, but turns out that there are many opportunities for Higher Education graduates. Look at the alumni profiles on the Hedda blog for some examples.

5) Prepare to be challenged. You know all those things you knew about how Universities worked? That amazing knowledge you had from being a student representative? Prepare to see it crushed. It’s all gonna be super useful, but you will find yourself re-thinking a lot of conceptions you had. You will hear from your classmates about how things work in their countries and academics that will challenge what you thought was written in stone with hard evidence. But that’s all part of the charm.




Alumni Chronicle: Master thesis defense experience

Gordon Musiige  Hedda graduate

Gordon Musiige
Hedda graduate

In second of the posts writing about their master thesis defense experiences, Gordon Musiige writes about his experience with defending his thesis at the University of Oslo. 

I am taking this opportunity to share with you my thesis defense experience, which is still vivid in my mind and I hope that prospective candidates will pick a few lessons from it.

On December 15th 2014, I defended my masters thesis. The defense was hold with a panel that composed of two examiners and my supervisor. My supervisor would have nothing to say all through the defence save for introducing the other examiners and reading out to me the rules and regulations of the defence process. After which, I and the other examiners would begin tussling it out until the very end. However, before I describe the actual defence process, I would like to state that before one thinks of the actual thesis defense, it is vital to put in mind that your level of preparation will contribute highly to your overall delivery and confidence at that defense table.

As a higher education master student, I was not required to prepare any form of power-point presentation apart from availing myself to the panelists on time and well-prepared to answer their questions. At this point, you need to ask yourself the following questions: What do I then prepare for? How much is expected of me in the defense? What is my role in the thesis defense process?

First and foremost, endeavour to read and reread your thesis and least twice, paying close attention to all the content in your thesis, bearing in mind that the examiners have closely read your thesis. Having all your thesis content on your fingertips exudes your authenticity as an author; you do not want to be caught off-guard in a position where you can not answer obvious questions about your own work especially to do with: why you selected certain methods or references. Despite the fact that the overall writing process can be a daunting and exhausting, one should reserve some energy and time for this last fight. If you while rereading your thesis you happen to find some concept that you think you can not explain comprehensively, it is worthwhile to consult your supervisor for guidance weeks before the defense.