HEM2220 – Organisation, Governance and Management of Higher Education

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course consist of two units

  • Unit 1: Higher education governance and policy

  • Unit 2: Higher education management

The aim of Unit  1is to provide you with a theoretical and conceptual foundation with respect to higher education governance and policy. As an important element in this students will get a better understanding of governance and policy changes, and the impacts of these changes on higher education practices.

The aim of Unit 2 students will have a developed better understanding of how higher education organizations (such as universities and colleges) function, and how organizational change processes in universities and colleges can be interpreted.  The aim is that students will be able to identify, analyze and address drivers, conditions and actors of organizational development and change in academia.

Learning outcome

Unit 1: Higher education governance and policy

In this unit the focus will be on system-level governance of higher education (HE) and the relationship between governmental policies and change within HE institutions. Themes of lectures include:

  • Competing models of HE governance
  • From the basic concepts to an understanding of the multi-level and multi-actor characteristics of higher education governance
  • Governance components, such as policy and management
  • Knowledge production, universities and development in low-income countries; special focus on sub-Saharan Africa
  • Thematic approaches to higher education policy – Quality and Funding

Unit 2: Higher education management

In this unit the processes of leadership, management and administration in higher education institutions will be addressed. The course examines:

1) how higher education institutions are organized and governed,

2) whether and if so, how they can be managed,

3) how organizational change can be interpreted from a conceptual and practical perspective.

The main topics covered are:

  • organizational reforms and change processes;
  • organizational identities and cultures;
  • organizational governance structures and leadership functions;
  • Key administrative functions in HE institutions, including personnel policies (HRM); financial administration, quality assessment, and data management.


The course is offered to incoming exchange students only. Exchange students on agreements owned by The Faculty of Education have priority


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Students should have knowledge in the area of educational sciences, political science and/or administrative science equivalent to 60 credits.

Recommended previous knowledge

You will be studying together with international master students in this course. This implies that you should preferable have experience in group work and academic communication (incl. writing) in English, and have an interest in the theoretical foundations of educational sciences as a multi-disciplinary field.


The two units consist of lectures and seminars relating to the described subjects. Each unit is offered in a block form, consisting of one introductory lecture, theoretical lectures and practice oriented seminars, and case studies. There will be opportunities for you to relate the study content to a specific higher education system.

Compulsory components:

Minimum 80 percent attendance is required in this course. If you do not meed the requirement, you may not take the exam.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.

The lectures and seminars may only be attended by students who have been admitted to the course through the appropriate application process.


You are required to write one paper for each unit based on the course literature. The papers ought not to exceed more than 7 pages (max. 2500 words) in length. Detailed requirements and deadlines will be given at the beginning of the course.

The papers will be reviewed by the involved teaching staff.

The two papers count for 50% of the grade each.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language