Category: Other

In memoriam: Professor Rui Santiago

bildeLast month, we were saddened to hear that one of the professors of the HEEM programme, Professor Rui Santiago passed away. In this post, we commemorate his legacy as a colleague and mentor in the HEEM programme. – the world of higher education has lost a great scholar and a wonderful human being.


Recently the sad news reached us that our esteemed colleague Professor Rui Santiago had passed away. We have cooperated with Rui in a number of settings but remember him especially as one of the pillars of our joint ERASMUS MUNDUS joint degree programme HEEM. Rui did not only play a decisive role in securing the participation of Aveiro University in the HEEM programme. He has also throughout the 7 years of its existence coordinating the parts of the HEEM programme offered in Aveiro, represented Aveiro in the HEEM Board, and supervised many HEEM students’ Master thesis work.

Rui was not only a highly appreciated academic colleague, he was also a warm and caring person whom we always enjoyed to meet personally. We remember for example fondly our first visit to Aveiro for discussing the HEEM programme with the university’s leadership. Before any of the planned meetings had started Rui took us by car to the beach where we spent a wonderful hour drinking coffee, enjoying the sun, and talking about all kinds of things, from the history of the city of Aveiro, Portuguese politics, to the quality of Portuguese red wine (according to Rui white is only good for washing your hands). We arrived relaxed at the subsequent meetings and had very constructive talks with the Aveiro representatives.

One minute silence against violence

The European University Association (EUA), with support from the European Student Union (ESU) have called higher education institutions, student unions and other organisations across Europe to stand united for one minute silence on Monday 27th of April 2015  (12:00 CET) in remembrance of the 147 students killed at Garissa on 2 April 2015.

The role of education in military conflict and the attacks on educational institutions also led to the adoption of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack in 2014. Read more here.


Leslie Wilson, the secretary general of EUA commented on this: “While the events in Garissa stand out in their barbarity, we draw attention to the appalling reality that attacks continue to happen every day. Attacks on universities, their students and scholars weaken or obliterate academic freedom; have a devastating impact on research, teaching and access to education; and impair society’s long-term development. Safeguarding the freedom and safety of universities and university communities is therefore vital in ensuring the advancement of knowledge and the cultural and scientific development of humankind.

Join the ESU event here

The European Student Union has also encouraged to support Kenyan Red Cross who has provided help to the survivors and families of the victims. We would also strongly encourage you to consider this.


In memoriam: the 147 victims at Garissa University College

Clipboard01The recent attack at Garissa University College in Kenya cannot be characterised as anything than a vicious terror attack on the young generation of learners in Kenya.

Garissa University College was an institution that has a strong vocational and professional focus for their students, in particular in areas of business and technology studies. It was a young and small institution, with ambitions to grow and contribute to the community.

It is difficult to find words to describe the horror that went underway during the morning of April 2th. This is an incredible loss of so many young bright future citizens of Kenya.

Taking the lives of so many innocent students, this is also an attack on education as a principal value in modern society, and a very tragic reminder world wide that there is still a long way to go until education on all levels is freely available, free from being targeted by terror.

May you all rest in peace.

Holiday greetings from Hedda!

heddasnowrandomDear Hedda friends across the globe!

We are incredibly thankful that you have taken the time to stop by to read some of the guest posts, listen to podcasts, consider some of the opportunities in the world of higher education. We are also immensely indebted to all of our fabulous guest contributors in 2014 – thank you so much for using some of your time for Hedda. 

Just before new year, we shall also summarise the year of 2014 in review – writing up all the highlights that have been on the blog 2014. So if you think you might have missed out on something – this is your chance to catch up! 

Again – thank you so much for 2014, and looking forward to an equally wonderful 2015! Happy holidays from all of us! 

Holiday greetings from the Hedda team

heddasnowrandom2013 has reached its final days and another year has passed. We would want to wish happy holidays to the whole Hedda family – our previous, current and future students and staff, the numerous researchers and experts who have contributed to this blog as well as to all of our readers. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, we hope you have a wonderful and peaceful holiday season, but for all of you – hope the last days of 2013 will bring you joy and looking forward to seeing you again in 2014!

We will update during the holiday season as well with our traditional Year in review posts where we will summarise the most important news and entries from last year. And we might occasionally also post other updates if we find anything that catches our eye.

Remember, early 2014 we will also launch the new Hedda site – so if you have any last minute suggestions – leave a comment and we will see what we can do!


Gender Summit Manifesto for Research and Innovation

We would hereby like to distribute a call for action in relation to the  role of gender in research and innovation.  

The FP7 project, Gender in Science (genSET) has initiated the policy Manifesto for Integrated Action on the Gender Dimension in Research and Innovation, which you can read and sign here.

The Manifesto was presented to the EC Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, in December 2011 and by now, almost 3000 scientists and others working in R&D have already added signed the Manifesto.

The authors of the manifesto argue:

“The timing is important because right now policy makers at national and EU level are debating future research directions and the R&D spending within HORIZON 2020 and the proposed European Research Area. Included in both framework proposals are explicit requirements for addressing gender issues in research content, cultures and participation. Through the Manifesto we can persuade policy makers that scientists support these objectives and the necessary operational measures needed to achieve them.

Debate: Thinking about Christmas

From an academic perspective, what better way to celebrate Christmas than analyze its practice? Celebration of Christmas is a social institution in the Western World, and one that a significant amount of people attend in an organized manner – with both explicit and implicit norms and rules in place, with appropriate behaviour and symbols that people follow.  So what do we actually know about this?

The journal “Organization“, a  recognized journal in the area of organization and management, dedicated a special issue this year to various aspects of Christmas celebrations from an organizational aspect. So, we thought that while we usually exclusively focus on higher education on our blog, the approaching holidays would make it appropriate to highlight Christmas itself.

Strenght of Christmas traditions

Why do we eat specific Christmas food? Why do we expect to receive gifts and have Christmas trees? Why are these social norms so much stronger than with some other holidays? At a time where it seems as if all other holidays become less important, Christmas has kept the strenght of tradition and the industry around it seems to grow exponentially every year. Well, a commonsense argument of course would be that we do it because we are used to, and because we like this and perhaps because the commercialization has created strong expectations related to this celebration. Well, this special issue deals with some of these questions from a more analytical perspective.

Fun and academia

Universities are special tradition heavy knowledge producing institutions, with an immense amount of expertise in them. But the very specific characteristics of universities and academic research could also be a vital ground for humor. Despite this, when you search for “higher education fun” in Google, the first thing that comes up is actually the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Since today is April Fools Day, a day to celebrate on the one hand jokes and on the other general foolishness of mankind and the society, here are some examples concerning academia.

Perhaps the best example a practical joke (that I know of) in the academe is the Sokal affair. This went a bit beyond a simple joke, putting focus on the peculiarities and perversities of academic life. So what happened? In 1996, a NYU physics professor submitted an article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” for publication in the journal “Social Text”. The text was a parody and the goal was to see whether a leading journal on the field would (in Sokals words) publish “an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions (…) Nowhere in all of this is there anything resembling a logical sequence of thought; one finds only citations of authority, plays on words, strained analogies, and bald assertions“. What happened? The article was in fact taken for a real one and published, creating a stir like none before…

Office Hours – a fun sit-com type video series produced by the Juniata College about the life of an adjunct in a fictional US college. Those of you who have worked in academe in one way or another – doesn’t some of it feel familiar?

Stuff Academics Like – dedicated to (in their own words): An ongoing celebration of the academically obscure, pretentious, and bizarre. Featuring funny conference announcements, various bizarre article titles and so forth.