The research group for studies in democracy, power and citizenship (DEM)

On the working conditions for academics and challenges for higher education posed by massification

The effects of massification in higher education has been debated heatedly throughout the past years. Since the early 1990s, the number of students in Sweden has doubled and university teachers have become increasingly worried about the academic preparedness of students. At the same time, the government has not matched the increase in students with corresponding resources. This implies a fundamental challenge for individual teachers in higher education, their mental health, and consequently, the conditions to maintain quality of higher education.



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Project manager at MDH

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Against this background, the project aims at studying the strategies adopted by Swedish universities in order to meet the pedagogical challenges of the mass university and to assess how those strategies have affected the quality of higher education. Since 2011, the individual universities have been offered increased possibilities to tailor conditions for their personnel; and there are clear indications that such conditions vary considerably. Hence, we aim to systematically map these differences, and subsequently analyze if and how differing conditions may affect the quality of teaching, research and the well-being of teachers. Projektet genomförs vid MDH, Linköpings universitet och Linnéuniversitetet. 

Primary purpose and goal:

The project will study the different strategies adopted by Swedish universities to meet the pedagogical and organisational challenges of the mass university and to assess how those strategies have affected the quality of higher education and research.

Descriptively, the project will provide new systematic knowledge about how the conditions for university teachers to maintain high-quality teaching vary between universities, and within universities at the department level.

Theoretically, the project adds explanatory knowledge about the institutional factors that contribute to high quality teaching and research. Finally, the project will generate new knowledge regarding the institutional determinants of high quality teaching and research.

The project is connected to the UN's global goals for sustainability:

Quality education. Sustainable development goal 4.

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

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