Tag: staff

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.

Seminar Recording on the Academic Profession in Chair and Department Systems

We are delighted to share with you another seminar recording from the research group HEIK (Higher Education: Institutional dynamics and Knowledge cultures). HEIK is a research group located at the Faculty of Educational Sciences in University of Oslo, the coordinating institution of Hedda.

Ester Höhle  (INCHER, University of Kassel)

Ester Höhle
(INCHER Kassel)

This time, we are pleased to feature Ester Höhle (INCHER Kassel, Germany) who gave a presentation titled: “The Academic Profession in Chair and Department Systems. An Empirical Analysis in Eleven European Countries

Listen without the Flashplayer

Abstract for the session: 
In Europe, different higher education systems co-exist simultaneously and make Europe an interesting research target. The focus of this paper is on whether chair systems and department systems as described by Clark (1983), Neave and Rhoades (1987) and Kreckel (2008) go hand in hand with specific patterns of the academic career. This question is treated empirically with the use of survey data from the international EUROAC project, where academics employed at universities were asked about their employment conditions, their career path, time use etc. and is supplemented with information from several country reports. The eleven European countries examined are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Finland and Norway.

First, the main features of the models are described followed by the categorization of the higher education system in each country in relation to the models. Second, the key features of academic career paths as they are realized in each country are discussed in terms of the predictions by the models. The analysis shows that the organizational structure of either chair or department does have a major impact on individual careers, barriers and chances and supports the description in six of the 11 countries precisely. In the other five countries (Italy, Portugal, Poland, Finland and Norway), however, at least two additional career patterns are observed that consist of a mixture of the predicted patterns. These are not well covered by the scholars’ descriptions and might require more detailed characterizations from current researchers.

Towards more predictable career-paths for young researchers in Germany?

Jens Jungblut  (HEIK/Hedda)

Jens Jungblut

In this post, Hedda’s Jens Jungblut examines a proposal for new career paths for young researchers in German higher education. Jens is working at the University of Oslo where he is writing his doctoral dissertation on the relationship between shifts in governments and changes in higher education policy. 

The German Council for Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) is the most important advisory body for higher education policy in Germany. They consult both the federal and the Bundesländer governments in questions relating to the structure and development of higher education and research. In their most recent recommendation they address the career paths for young researchers in German higher education, which especially in the phase following the PhD is characterized as very problematic, and they suggest some fundamental reforms.

The problematic situation for young researchers in Germany

In the view of the Wissenschaftsrat, the career paths at German universities can be characterized as very diverse and not transparent, which makes them hard to navigate and communicate especially internationally. At the moment the main professional aim of an academic career in Germany is obtaining a Chair and becoming a professor, as this gives academic independence and a permanent contract. However, going down this road poses a risk for young researchers, as there is only limited data available on the number of applications and the chances of obtaining a professorship. What is known is that the number of temporary positions, especially for young researchers who are working on obtaining a PhD, has increased by 45% between 2000 and 2012. In the same period, the number of professorial positions and other permanent academic positions stayed more ore less stable. This led to a de-coupling of the different career steps and a situation where one is, relatively speaking, less likely to obtain a permanent position in academia.

Call for papers: Workshop on organizing scholarly networks

networkWorking with topics related to academic exchange and research networks? The SRHE supported workshop on “Organizing scholarly networks” will take place on 18th of December 2014 at Department of History and Politics at Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK.

Keynote speakers for the event include Prof Louise Ackers (Salford University) and Dr Heike Jöns (Loughborough University).

The call for papers has been issued and the organisers encourage interdisciplinary contributions from researchers at all career stages.

The organisers have also set some core questions that are of particular interest: When did the idea of international scholarly exchange emerge as a pedagogic concept? What are the nature and long-term consequences of such exchange across borders? Who has benefited from such schemes, and who has been excluded from them? How have these changed over time and what is the relationship between such changes and the organisation of, and policy development associated with, formal exchange programmes?

More information on the workshop theme and focus can be found on the event homepage

To apply to the workshop

Guest blogger: Explaining postdoc internationalization at US universities

Dr. Brendan Cantwell (Michigan State University)

Dr. Brendan Cantwell
(Michigan State University)

This guest entry is written by Dr. Brendan Cantwell who is currently employed as an assistant professor at the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. His current research interests include higher education organization, governance and policy, with focus on comparative education, political economy and theory. 

Since the 1990s over 50% of all postdoctoral researchers (‘postdocs’) working at universities in the United States (US) have been temporary visa holders, or ‘international’. This makes postdocs the most internationalized group at American universities.

The fact that over 50% of postdocs are international is especially striking when compared to student enrollments; international students accounted for only 3.7% of total enrollments in the US during the 2011/2012 academic year. Why, then, do most postdocs come from abroad?

Over parts of the past five years I have studied the employment of international postdocs, primarily in the US but also in the United Kingdom. One of my objectives was to understand why so many researchers work as postdocs abroad. I began this research qualitatively by interviewing international postdocs and their supervisors. I examined the experiences of international postdocs, the role international postdocs play in the production of knowledge, and the process by which postdocs become employed internationally.  From these studies I drew two main conclusions.

first graph

First, international postdoc mobility requires demand for postdocs from aboard, as well as the supply of internationally mobile researchers. Global expansion of higher education, and especially rapid growth of higher education systems in Asia, produced a large supply of PhD researchers looking for jobs abroad. But professors also had to be willing to hire international postdocs. In other words, postdoc mobility would be impossible if there were not individual professors and universities interested in hiring international postdocs.