Hedda monthly literature tips

In this September edition of the Hedda monthly literature tips series, we asked Hilde W. Afdal (University of Oslo / Østfold University College) and Jelena Brankovic (CHEGG, Ghent University) about their recent literature tips.

Here are their recommendations:

Comparing university organizations across boundaries
by Bleiklie, 2014

10734This article by Ivar Bleiklie takes a methodological perspective, discussing comparative organizational studies. Articles that take a specific methodological focus are not very common, and as such the contribution is highly needed in the field. The focus is mainly (but not only) on studies that compare organizations in different national settings. To begin with, Bleiklie discusses advantage and challenges of international comparative research in general. Secondly, he develops a typology of approaches to comparative research (based on earlier attempts to develop such), distinguishing between meaningful interpretation of single cases, juxtapositions, thematic comparison, identifying causal relations, and grand theories. The five approaches are illuminated by examples of empirical studies representing each approach.

In his discussion, three main arguments are highlighted about comparative research strategies. Firstly, the approaches above are not mutually exclusive, and a wide range of studies representing and overlapping the strategies is needed. Still, the choice of strategy need to be argued for. Secondly, the issue of generalization is more complex then usually disused in international comparative studies and need to be dealt with thoroughly according to the aim of the specific approach. In continuance of this, he finally argue for a need of more carefully conceptual development in comparative studies to avoid “conceptual stretching” which may lead to vague and amorphous research outcomes. (more…)



Call for contributions: Learning without Borders

HETLInternational Higher Education Teaching & Learning Association (HETL) is holding a conference in cooperation with  the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota, on September 22-24th, 2015. 

The theme for the conference is “Learning without Borders“, with the purpose to include a range of research and perspectives on learning-centered teaching practices, curricular activities, and assessment methods related to global learning and engagement. Three types of contributions are expected:

  • Research Presentation. Each 90 minutes research discussion panel will consist of 3-4 presenters and a moderator/facilitator. Each panelist will present for up to 15 minutes, followed by an in-depth Q & A discussion (dialogue) by all presenters and audience members.
  • Research in Progress Roundtables. Roundtables will be an opportunity for presenters to discuss the beginning stages of their research with others interested in a similar topic. Each roundtable will have two individuals investigating a similar topic who will facilitate the 90 minute discussion. Delegates can feel free to move from one roundtable to another.
  • Poster Presentations. Poster presentations provide a forum for scholars to engage in active discussion with other conference delegates about a completed research project or about a project in developing stages. The poster venue allows scholars with similar research interests to interact by using the poster as a focal point.

Criteria for proposals (more…)




Twenty years of EUA Instituional Evaluation Programme

euaThe European University Association (EUA) is celebrating twenty years of their Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP). The main focus of the programme is to provide external evaluations to institutions, taking into account the specific profiles of the institutions. The programme was started in 1994 and the first evaluations were conducted in universities of Gothenburg, UTrecht and Porto. In these 20 years, about 380 evaluations in 45 countries have been conducted. The set of countries is well beyond Europe, and institutions from Africa, Japan, Latin America and the Middle East have gone through the evaluation.

EUA is celebrating this with a separate publication summarising the key results from these years and outlining some of the background developements. In the foreword, Lothar Zechlin also emphasizes the importance of IEP for the development of quality development practices in European universities. The primary approach to quality evaluation in the programme has followed the “fitness for purpose” approach, as Alicja Bochajczuk argues in the publication. She highlights that the core questions for the evaluations are focused on: What is the institution trying to do? How is the institution trying to do it? How does the institution know it works?
How does the institution change in order to improve? (more…)



Erasmus impact study – key results published today!

EUThe Erasmus Impact study was conducted by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), CHE Consult (DE), Brussels Education Services (BE) and the Compostela Group of Universities (ES).

The study was lauched in spring of 2013 and covered current, former, mobile and non-mobile students across Europe through a quantitative and qualitative analysis. The study had two core aims. The first aim was to identify the effects of Erasmus mobility programme on skills enhancement, employability and institutional development of the individual students. The other main focus was on examining the impact of Erasmus staff/teaching mobility.

In the quantitative student surveys, over 50 000 students participated, in addition to more than 18 000 alumni and almost 5000 staff members from higher education institutions, as well as employer representatives and institutional responses. In total, there was almost 79 000 responses analysed. 

The key results from the study were published today. Five key findings are highlighted – related to the rationales to undertake Erasmus mobility, its relationship to employability, influence on future career, personal relationships and the benefits to staff and higher education institutions.

Perhaps unexpected, 90% of mobile students highlight the importance of having experience with living abroad as a rationale for Erasmus, along with language improvement and benefits to employability. Furthermore, the results highlight the inclusiveness of Erasmus, as very few of non-mobile students report barriers due to selection. (more…)




Call for contributions: The Social Dimension in European Higher Education

confeence socialdimensionThe conference The Social Dimension in European Higher Education” will be held in Vienna (Austria), on February 25-27, 2015.

The conference aims at creating a discursive forum for peer learning in the field of the social dimension, fostering interchange between 3 spheres involved with this, including researchers, policymakers and practitioners. The organisers expect 500 participants from various countries within the Bologna area for exchange of practices.

Contributions can either be in the form of research (scientific papers), action (specific measures to foster the social dimension), and policy (papers on national action plans and strategies for the social dimension). The organisers encourage presentations of measures and activities you undertake to improve the social situation of students, to create mutual learning based on various experiences and knowledge.

EUROSTUDENT and PL4SD as two of the main data providers on the socio-economic situation of students, will present their most recent results. EUROSTUDENT will publish the Synopsis of indicators, comprising results from the fifth round of the project with comparisons of student data from 30 EHEA countries. PL4SD will present the enhanced database of measures (www.pl4sd.eu) as well as results from 3 PL4SD Country Reviews about how the social dimension in higher education is dealt with in Lithuania, Armenia and Croatia.

More information at the conference website at www.socialdimension-he.eu.

Deadline for abstracts – 1st of October 

More information on the themes and submission can be downloaded in this call for papers (pdf).