Manja Klemenčič

“Reforming Education and the Imperative of Constant Change: Ambivalent roles of policy and educational research” - Shifting authority in transnational governance of higher education, and effects of culture in implementation of higher education reforms

Thursday, 24 August, 11:00 - 12:00
Location: W1.04 Idræt
(Livestream: W2.04 Auditorium 1)

The practices of higher education institutions in Europe and beyond are increasingly affected by transnational governance systems. These are characterized by the emerging role of non-state actors and changing role of the states who cooperate and compete in the designing of transnational education policies and instruments; those that are transposed into the national contexts. Traditionally, education, including higher education has been firmly controlled by the hegemonic state which held regulatory powers to force compliance. Within transnational governance of (higher) education, the authority – as legitimate power -  is shared, negotiated and constructed by the various actors which apart from governments include also international organizations, transnational stakeholder associations, ranking agencies, experts and expert groups and others. Quality assurance and accreditation, international rankings and standardized measures of learning outcomes are some of the key instruments of the contemporary transnational governance of (higher) education policies; and they serve differently to different actors in their influence on issues, policies and instruments that shape practices of higher education institutions. These changes are fairly recent and ongoing; and we have not yet been able to fully theorize nor empirically capture them. Furthermore, the differences in actual implementation of transnational practices are usually attributed to the influence of national contexts, but rarely are contextual factors fully understood or systematically investigated. The effect of cultural conditions on translation and implementation of transnational polices is particularly poorly understood.

This keynote will address reforms of higher education from three perspectives. First, through the lenses of politics and political sociology of higher education the questions of emerging constructed authority in transnational governance of higher education policies will be explored. Second, the case will be made for unraveling different analytical devices that constitute culture in higher education contexts. These will be explored conceptually as to their relevance on meaning-making in diffusion of transnational higher education policies. Finally, how do we as education researchers investigate these questions and which methods can we use? Insights will be given into the potential of digital ethnography to capture cultural narratives of students, academics and possibly also policy makers in context of higher education reforms.

About Manja Klemenčič

Dr. Klemenčič researches, teaches, advises and consults in the area of international and comparative higher education, with particular interest on the implications of contemporary higher education reforms on students and academic staff. She is Editor-in-Chief of European Journal of Higher Education (Routledge/Taylor & Francis); Thematic Editor of International Encyclopaedia of Higher Education Systems and Institutions (Springer); and Co-editor of the book series Understanding student experiences in higher education (Bloomsbury). She is a member of editorial boards of Policy Reviews in Higher Education, Tertiary Education and Management, Higher Education in Russia and Beyond, and Journal of Student Affairs in Africa. Manja’s current research interests are on human agency in higher education: students and academics in their self-formative pursuits and their political pursuits (contributing to changes in their universities and higher education systems). Currently she is working on a new instrument to collect data on student experiences (through digital ethnographic methods) and on global university branding.

For further information (including publications), see http://scholar.harvard.edu/manja_klemencic/biocv

 

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