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Hedda 10 Conference - dr. Sissel Østberg

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Hedda 10 Conference - dr. Sissel Østberg

  1. 1. The Merger of Oslo and AkershusUniversity Colleges: why and how?The University of Oslo, 4.11.2011Sissel Østberg, Ass.Prof.,Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences 23.11.2011
  2. 2. Background: the Norwegian landscape ofHigher Education— Three categories of institutions: universities (8), specialized university institutions (11), university colleges (høgskoler) (27)— 1994 Reform: from 98 university colleges to 26— Diversity of size, academic profiles, financing, degree of autonomy— Diversity between and within the three categories— Common law since 2005: Education+R&D— Oslo University College and Akershus University College did not merge in 1994 – for political reasonsPresentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  3. 3. The challenges and driving forces inNorway— A policy of decentralized higher education— Regional strength and national equality— International competition— Fragmentation? Academic weaknesses? Quality of Education and Research?— Academic drive: research & development and researchbased education— Regional ambitions (UiS, UiA, UiN)— 2006-2008: Stjernø-committee/Official Norwegian Report (NoU 2008:3)Presentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  4. 4. 2007: Oslo University College – what now?— Rector’s statement: Institutional profile and the quality of the institution is more important than institutional category, but the autonomy question may be decisive— 2007, December: the board decided that OUC should aim at becoming a university of applied sciences (universitet med profesjonsrettet profil)— Merging processes were going on elsewhere, what would be OUC’s challenges in a new landscape?— Akershus University College: does a small institution have a chance?Presentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  5. 5. Common regional and national challengesin Oslo and Akershus— Oslo and Akershus is one region, 1/3 of Norway’s population live and work here— Expected growth in the younger and elderly population— Increasing multicultural population— Need for expansion and improvements in education, health, environment, technology, entrepene urship, innovation, interculturality— The development of professions in an urban context— A need for more political support of HE within professional education and research: external visibility, relevance, recognition— A need for improved basic funding; external fundingPresentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  6. 6. Institutional choices— Continue as separate institutions?— More cooperation but no merging?— Cooperation (or merging) with other institutions?— Merging of the two university colleges in Oslo and Akershus?— Informal discussions started Spring 2008— An Intentional Agreement to start a process with the aim of closer cooperation or full merger passed the two boards in the Fall of 2008Presentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  7. 7. A phase of reports and discussions 2008-2011— Project organisation: project leader, secretariat, project group— Joint steering committee— Timetable set up; goal 1.8.2011— Involvement of leaders, faculty and administrative staff, students, representatives from the unions, external representatives— Hearings of all reports in faculties and other units— Seminars for the board members, deans, external leaders of the fac.boards, unions, students etc.— Open debates at campus, on Internet and in mediaPresentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  8. 8. Support – Opposition- Demand for Delay— Supporters: regional and academic arguments; a merger gives an opportunity to develop the idea of a new type of university and to develop a new infrastructure/organisation; a time for wished-for- changes— Opposition (from parts of OUC): AUC is not strong enough when it comes to research, a merger takes time from academic work, two campuses a disadvantage, OUC is big enough, a merger is very expensive, bachelor programs may suffer— Delay: we need more time, more investigations, more reports Presentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  9. 9. Decisions taken by the two boards— Fall 2008: Agreement of Intention— 28.10.2009: Principal Agreement to merge; Application to proceed with the project sent to the Ministry; Political support and some resources (SAK-midler)— 18.03.2010 Management at an institutional level— 09.09.2011 University Strategy/Academic Profile— 09.12.2010 Faculty Organisation (4 Faculties) + Final Agreement to Merge— January 2011: Approved by the Government, SAK-money— 28.02.2011 Development of External Funded R&D— 17.03.2011 Administrative OrganisationPresentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  10. 10. The hard work of a merger— Development of common administrative systems: safety from day one (1.8.11): students in focus— The process of readjustment: legal rights, some changes for a few (adm.staff)— Employment processes (mostly leaders)— ICT, web-solutions, design etc.— Students’democracy— One budget from 1.1.2012— Common intake of students from 1.8.2012Presentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  11. 11. Challenges to be considered— To find the right balance between keeping a good drive and having enough time to reportwriting, hearings and debates— To find the right balance between external and internal issues of concern— To find the right balance between informal contact between study programs/faculty members, common cultural events and waiting for the formal decisions to be takenPresentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  12. 12. Lessons learnt— Feedback from faculty members who were in touch across the two institutions was predominantly positive— The merger contributed to energy, creativity and innovation – for some parts of the institutions— The merger was time consuming— The hard work of the last phase was underestimated— The toughest burden on the administrative staff due to organisational changes; legal rights and emotions— Representatives from the Student Parliament contributed a lotPresentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011
  13. 13. Conclusion Merging is hard work Institutions may be changed Opposition must be expected A common goal/a joint vision helps a lot Merging is not a goal in itself Better organisational and financial frames for the development as university college or university of professional studies Academic profile, relevance, autonomyPresentasjonens tittel 23.11.2011

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