Tag: spotlight

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?

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.


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.


Hedda master student Andrés

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

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.