Tag: alumni profile

Alumni spotlight: Jelena Branković

Jelena Branković  (Hedda alumni, now CHEGG)

Jelena Branković
(Hedda alumni, now CHEGG)

In this edition of our alumni spotlights, current Hedda master student Enzo Rossi has asked a few questions from Jelena Branković, who is a Hedda HEEM programme graduate from 2010. 

About Jelena

Jelena Branković is currently a PhD student at the Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent (CHEGG), at Ghent University. She graduated from the Higher Education Master Programme (HEEM) jointly delivered by the University of Oslo, the University of Tampere, and the University of Aveiro in 2010 and holds a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature obtained from the University of Belgrade.

After obtaining Master’s in Higher Education, she was a researcher at the Centre for Education Policy in Belgrade, where she focused on higher education in the Western Balkans. She joined the CHEGG team in November 2013. In the interview Jelena reflects on her Master programme experience and the role it played in her career so far.

What made you choose the Master programme in Higher Education?

I used to be involved in the Student Union while at the University of Belgrade. That is when I became interested in all sorts of issues related to higher education. After graduation I got my first higher education related job, I became the national coordinator of the European Union’s Tempus programme in Serbia, which is a programme supporting higher education reforms through international cooperation. It was at that point I realised that if I wanted to pursue a career in higher education, I needed to deepen and broaden my knowledge. That is how I ended up in HEEM.

How has what you learned within the Higher Education programme helped you in your career?

First, it helped me better understand my prior experience, which I think was crucial, especially in the beginning. It also helped me decide what I wanted to do in higher education, because there are so many things one can do. For instance, you can work as a policy maker or policy adviser, you can work in university management or administration, you can do research on higher education, you can be a consultant in higher education projects, and so on. Perhaps it was because I found research as something closer to my aspirations, or it was the fact that HEEM programme was more geared towards that type of career, I eventually decided to pursue the research path. And I think that the master programme was an excellent starting point for such a career. Upon graduation I was offered a research position at the Centre for Education Policy in Belgrade where I spent three and a half years working in the field of higher education. Doing a PhD was an obvious next step. Today when I look back at what HEEM gave me, I feel very thankful.

Alumni spotlight: Alicia Betts


Alicia Betts (Hedda Alumni, ACUP)

Time again to continue to follow up our alumni around the world. In this post, Hedda student Enzo Rossi has asked a few question to Alicia Betts who is a graduate from 2009. 

About Alicia

Alicia was brought up in Great Britain, Israel and Spain. She spent her early university years in Barcelona and a year abroad in The Netherlands. She is a graduate of the European Master in Higher Education (Erasmus Mundus – HEEM, University of Oslo, University of Tampere, University of Aveiro) thanks to the James Taylor scholarship. She is currently a project manager at the Association for Public Universities of Catalonia (ACUP) since 2009. Her work at ACUP focuses on joint internationalisation strategy development and implementation, university governance, funding and management policies, university-business collaboration and benchmarking studies. She is also a mother of an inquisitive and energetic three year old who, fortunately, shares her love for traveling, reading and nature.


Alicia with her son

What made you choose the Master programme in Higher Education? 

A long set of coincidences (if you believe in them) led me to the University of Oslo and to the HEEM programme. At the time I applied, I was at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona working with amongst other issues the Erasmus Mundus programmes. It was through my work that I got acquainted with Erasmus Mundus and specifically with the Higher Education programme which was coordinated by the University of Oslo. I found it fitted my interests and current working area. I considered it a great opportunity to further my knowledge on higher education, a field which I could not study in Spain. Unfortunately, at the time Erasmus Mundus did not award scholarships for European students, so I had discarded participating till I found a funding opportunity. Quite to my surprise, one day I received in my inbox an email informing us that there were scholarships for European students for the HEEM programme from the consortium. I applied immediately and was one of the four students awarded a James Taylor scholarship! So I quit my job, packed my bags and began the adventure.

How does what you learned during the programme relate to the projects that you are managing at the moment?

Alumni spotlight: Emnet Tadesse Woldegiorgis

Emnet Tadesse Woldegiorgis (Hedda alumni, now: Bayreuth University)

Emnet Tadesse Woldegiorgis
(Hedda alumni, now: University of Bayreuth, Germany)

We continue to follow up our alumni around the world in the upcoming weeks. In this post, Hedda student Enzo Rossi has asked questions from Emnet Tadesse Woldegiorgis. Emnet graduated the Hedda master programme in 2008 and has worked with quality assurance and civic and ethical studies in Ethiopia, until starting his doctoral studies at University of Bayreuth in Germany in 2012. In the interview he reflects about his reasons for choosing the Hedda master programme and about his transition to doctoral studies.

Short biography

I was born in the South West of Ethiopia, Jimma but attended both elementary and secondary education in various towns of the country because of the nature of my father’s work. Upon completing high school, I joined Addis Ababa University, one of the oldest and top universities in the country and pursued my first degree in political science. The courses that I took in political science gave me new perspectives on how to look at social phenomena within the dynamics of international processes. I was particularly interested in the studies of international relations and the dynamic force of globalization.  After graduation, I managed to get a job as an instructor at Mekelle University giving courses like civic education, conflict studies, election studies and human rights. In 2006, I joined the Joint Masters Program in Higher Education and studied at the University of Oslo, Norway; Tampere University, Finland and University of Aviero, Portugal. Upon completion, I went back to Mekelle University, Ethiopia, working as Head of Quality Assurance Office at the College of Law and Governance between 2008 and 2010 and 2010 to 2012, I was assigned as the Head of the Department of Civics and Ethical Studies.  Since April 2012, I have been admitted as a PhD student at Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS) University of Bayreuth, Germany.

What made you choose the Master programme in Higher Education?

After working for two years at Mekelle University, Ethiopia; I decided to pursue a Masters Degree but I was not sure about which program to join. I found out about the Higher Education Studies while looking for Masters Programs at the website of the University of Oslo. I became interested after reading the program description and course breakdown for a number of reasons. First, my impression was that higher education studies as a discipline is not very much known in the world in general and Africa in particular and understanding the sector in a scientific way through research would be really fascinating. Second, I was very much impressed by the interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter itself as it brings expertise from sociology, economics, history, political science, education, management and leadership. Third, the program itself was organized in a way that students can utilize expertise from three different universities in a very international environment.  Forth, it was also a time where the higher education sector in Ethiopia started to change; on the one hand, private and public universities multiplied in number and on the other, it was the aftermath of a new higher education policy that introduced cost sharing and changed higher education governance in the country. Furthermore, concern over deteriorating quality because of massive enrollment, issues of relevance of studies and the very role of higher education was part of the daily discussion on various Media in the country.

Alumni spotlight: Inês Proença


Hedda alumna Inês Proença

And the Spotlights are back! In this edition, Hedda student Enzo Rossi is asking a few questions from Inês Proença who is a Hedda alumna from Portugal. 

About Inês

Inês graduated from the programme in July 2009. Previously she had carried out a four years bachelor degree in Languages and Business Skills in Aveiro (Portugal).

For her the Hedda programme was an excellent academic opportunity and at the same time made her dream come true: studying in 4 different countries and making friends from all continents.

She has moved to Brussels in September 2009 to do an internship in the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) and has been working in Belgium ever since, first as a project officer in ESMU – European Centre for Strategic Management of Universities, then for EFMD as a coordinator of activities in the Business Schools Services unit and more recently as the coordinator of the student mobility office (exchange programmes) at Université Libre de Bruxelles.

In her free time, she loves walking in the nature, reading, cooking, watching series, travelling and learning new languages.

What made you choose the Master programme in Higher Education?

To be very honest, it happened almost by chance. At that point I was doing an internship in Portugal and I knew I wanted to study further but I was not sure what exactly. One evening I opened the electronic newspaper of the University of Aveiro (which I rarely did as I had already graduated) and I saw the information for applications there. I found it interesting / an unusual field of studies. As I saw it only two days before the deadline, I did all I could to fill in the application but without much hope that I could actually be selected. I did not have a very clear idea of what the master in higher education was all about or what the professional perspectives were but I thought I would give it a try. It wasn’t until later when I was already in Oslo that I really discovered higher education as a field of study and I must admit that I loved it (and this is why I am still working in the field)! Another point that made me apply was the international dimension of the programme, having colleagues from all over the world. I can say that I made good friends for life and after more than 5 years we are all still in contact. I do not exaggerate when I say that this programme changed my life in a very positive way, academically, professionally and personally.

2013 in review – Hedda news

2013_3We continue our annual review of the yearly entries on the blog. In this second post we will focus on news from Hedda. Do not forget to check out the posts summarising Hedda podcasts and audio/video material, as well as the post reviewing all the wonderful guest entries of 2013

Hedda students

In 2012, we launched our new series FACE2FACE, where we interview our students on video. In 2013, we published two FACE 2 FACE videos. In the first one, we interviewed Evgenia  Bogun and Gordon Musiige. In the video the students shared their thoughts about why they decided to study in the Higher Education programme, their experiences of living and studying in Norway, and give tips to future students on how to cope with life as an international student.

In our second FACE 2 FACE video of 2013, we interviewed Anette Løken and Enzo Rossi who started their studies in autumn 2013. In their video, they share their very first impressions of higher education as a research field, why studying higher education is important in modern societies and what they expect from the Master Programme.

Hedda students also went to a study trip in Brussels, and Ljiljana Krstić who then was a first year student at the Hedda Master programme in Higher Education wrote about what they learned visiting various European organisations for higher education.

Hedda students were also a part of an innovative learning project at the University of Oslo where students were using video to interview professors about their research. The project leader, Professor Bjørn Stensaker, introduced the project and talked about the relevance of using video for these purposes. We also published the video where the students interviewed Prof Peter Maassen about his research. Later on, the students wrote an entry reflecting about their experiences with the project.