Horizontal governance and learning dynamics in higher education (HORIZON)
This project examines the major change dynamics in higher education both in terms of governance and learning processes, and the relationships between the two.
Primary objective is to contribute to an improved understanding of major change dynamics in higher education with respect to higher education governance and learning processes in higher education institutions, as well as the relationships between these two.
Secondary objectives include:
- To examine how European level knowledge policies have been developed and coordinated since 2000, and how they affect the development and coordination of Norwegian knowledge policies, with special focus on the educational component.
- To analyze how horizontally coordinated knowledge policies and developments are handled at central level in higher education institutions.
- To study how knowledge cultures constitute academic communities in contexts of change, with emphasis given to the arrangements and mechanisms by which students are enrolled in these knowledge cultures
- To analyze from a multi-level perspective the change dynamics of higher education systems and institutions.
The HORIZON project is aimed at contributing to an improved understanding of major change dynamics in higher education with respect to higher education governance and learning processes in higher education institutions, as well as the way these two are connected.
The changes in governance and learning processes can be interpreted as a horizontal extension of traditionally vertical processes. Concerning the horizontalization of governance HORIZON is interested in how higher education policies have been coordinated with other knowledge policy areas. When it comes to learning processes in higher education HORIZON is focused on the way in which these have become spatially extended, and currently comprise a multitude of sites and practices which may co-exist and interact in complex ways. Finally, the horizontal extension of governance and learning processes has made the vertical coordination practices and structures more complex.
HORIZON will analyze how institutional leadership in higher education institutions connects the two 'horizontalization' processes. Special focus will be on examining the role of knowledge cultures in constituting dynamics of learning in higher professional programmes, on examining the interpretations among institutional leaders at various levels of the extended governance and learning contexts, and the way in which these interpretations affect the connection between the two. For this purpose, amongst other things, the educational strategies of the institutions involved will be studied.
The analytical framework for this project is built upon two theoretical perspectives, i.e. institutional theory and an epistemic culture perspective. This analytical framework represents an important development in educational research since it concerns an effort to integrate traditionally separated perspectives and research activities. This framework allows for an integrated multi-level analysis of the change dynamics in higher education systems and institutions.
The project is funded through the FINNUT programme for Research and Innovation in the Educational Sector at NFR. Previously it received funding throught the Utdanning2020 programme which was consolidated into the FINNUT programme in 2014.