Concepts and Theories

"Concept and Theories" (Working Group 1) seeks to construct new theories and methodologies for analysing the nature and consequences of the transformation of Universities across the globe, from ivory tower academies to key engines of the global knowledge economy. These transformations reverberate across the whole sector, and across all continents. A crucial element of this WP is recognising that those consequences take a very wide range of forms and intensity, and the key questions are: How does the range and intensity of university transformations affect conceptions of higher education and its public and private responsibilities? Why do countries and institutions join in this process of reform and what trade-offs are involved?

Here we will address the novel conceptual and methodological challenges posed by the transformation of higher education at institutional, national, regional levels through a focus on the nature and consequences of the range of relationships that emerge from responses at all levels to these challenges, and on constructive and effective means of addressing them. This means not just asking how ‘traditional’ forms of the University can be maintained, but developing new understandings of, and responses to, their changing nature.

ASEM: Regionalisation and Higher Education ‘Policy Travel’ between Europe and Asia

Name: Que Anh Dang

Summary: This study will add to the current theoretical debates on policy travel by identifying key actors in Europe and Asia, exploring ethnographically how ASEM meetings serve as forum for discussing and extending the Bologna Process trans-regionally, examining the relationship between the exchange of cultural ideas and economic interests, and the interrelationship between states’ engagement in ASEM education agendas and their negotiations in regional and national contexts. 

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Conceptualizing Internationalization of Higher Education and the Academic profession in Centre and periphery: A Comparative Analysis of Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa

Name: Sintayehu Kassaye Alemu

Summary: This project will try to analyze the dilemma that internationalization of universities and higher education institutions pose for academic life in small countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. It also tries to investigate how the policy of internationalization of higher education helps the transformation of universities globally, regionally, and institutionally. Moreover, the project will analyze the regional similarities and differences or diversities in the process of higher education internationalization. It will try to unpack the practicalities and academic consequences and impacts of unequal higher education internationalization.

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Conjunction of Chinese and Western educational traditions in the design and teaching of Sino-Danish Centre courses

Name: Freya Jie Gao

Summary: With the approach of “study through” from the Anthropology of Policies, this research intends to establish a theoretical framework to address and understand how cultural differences are defined, responded to and employed by the individual and institutional participants of cross-border higher education in the development and delivery of the internationalised curricula and pedagogies.

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Academic Freedom in Higher Education Teaching: A Comparative Perspective on Europe and the Asia Pacific Rim

Name: Sina Westa

Summary: This research project will examine the role and status of academic freedom in higher education teaching in contemporary university settings in Europe and the Asia Pacific Rim. It will conduct a qualitative research design to examine the policy background, the main discourses and the academic teacher’s individual perception of academic freedom in their daily work life. In doing so, it will provide a context rich narrative to inform policy makers, academics and the wider society about the significance of academic freedom in university teaching in different cultures. It tries to close the gap between academic freedom and higher education teaching.

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Models of doctoral education

Name: Corina Balaban

Summary: The project adopts a comparative perspective by looking at two of the most influential models of doctoral education worldwide: the one in the US and the one in the EU. In addition, it also explores the case of Chinese doctoral education, and the extent to which this has been influenced by Western globalising forces. The study is designed in two inter-connected layers: one exploring the concepts and issues within the doctoral community, and one focusing on wider debates taking place outside this community.

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