How quality policy interacts with quality practice – a close-up view from five “teaching cultures” in a higher education institution

June 6, 2012 - 17:00 - 18:30
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Renata Kralikova
Torgny Roxå

This talk discussed research results of a study dealing with how strong “microcultures” (department or sub-departments) in a traditional European university make use of policies, in particular aimed at enhancing quality in university teaching. It was argued that the policies in question are assessed by the academic microcultures in relation to their ethos, long-term aspirations, and organisational history. If the outcome of this assessment is favourable, the policies will be allowed to influence practice; if the evaluation is negative, the policy will go unnoticed. In this perspective, agency is afforded primarily to the microcultures while the management level (the institutional policymakers) remain in the background. A conceptualisation of leadership where microcultures have the prime responsibility for outcomes of policies focused on teaching practices has the potential to explain both the often somewhat contradictory results from attempts to influence higher education through top-down policy, but also to add a new perspective to the discussion on management and leadership in higher education.


Torgny Roxå is a senior academic developer and an active researcher of higher education, based at Lund University, Sweden. His career has involved the implementation of a problem-based learning curriculum at a Swedish higher education institution, development of a university wide program for the improvement of researchers’ skills in oral presentation, and, during the last decade, strategic development of teaching and learning at a large research university. Within Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering, Torgny has implemented and ran pedagogical courses for university teachers, developed a reward system for professionalism in teaching, designed a faculty-wide system for student evaluations of teaching, supported a program for small-scale action research in teaching and learning conducted by university teachers, conveyed a bi-annual campus conference on teaching and learning, and written several publications with the focus on practical and theoretical issues related to strategic change in academic teaching.


Recently he has been the invited speaker at international institutions like the Oxford University Institute for the Advancement of University Teaching, the centre for Teaching and Academic Growth at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), and The Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio, US). From 2005-2007 Torgny was the external examiner for the Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education at Oxford University (UK). In 2011 he was elected Vice President - Europe for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.


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