Dr. Peter Maassen is the Director of Hedda, Academic Coordinator for HEEM, and professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Oslo. His students call him the “Pope of European Higher Education,” but sitting down to have a conversation with him, you soon realize he is very down-to-earth. He has over 20 years experience in the field of higher education research. His career started in 1984 as an Assistant Professor for the Faculty of Public Policy and Public Administration at the University of Twente, Netherlands. He then quickly moved into a research position for the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) and in 1997, he became Director of CHEPS. After 15 years at CHEPS, he was ready for a new challenge and in 2000, he moved to Oslo as a Visiting Faculty Member for the Faculty of Education. Currently, he is a Full Professor at the University of Oslo and a Senior Research Fellow at NIFU-Step.
He has been the visionary for the HEEM programme and continues to develop this Erasmus Mundus master’s programme while his aim is to make it the, “Best European master’s programme in Higher Education.” He has also been active in reviewing universities and higher education systems for international bodies and organisations, such as OECD, UNESCO and World Bank; currently he is a member of a national higher education commission in Norway (Stjernø Commission).
What topics in higher education are most interesting to you? “The European Dimension of higher education-the expectations and the incentives, and the effects of adding another governance layer in European higher education. Another topic is North-South cooperation in higher education and research; and especially the role of the African university in democratic and economic development processes.”
Advice for students in higher education? “Those who want to be a researcher, need to go on to get their PhD. All of the students in our master’s programmes are highly talented and motivated students, it will be easy for them to find jobs with their international experience and they will be well-prepared to work in international organizations.”