HEPP - Higher Education Policy and Practice

Sig Member2

Background and purpose

Higher education policy and practice are increasingly merging in the everyday life of teachers and students at Danish universities and institutions for higher education. Higher education programmes and specific courses are, increasingly, steered closer towards the job market and wider societal arenas outside academic institutions. Discussions of the threatened academic freedom and the right to critically debate the institutional and academic leadership of Danish universities emerge in newspapers, union magasines, reports on work environment (APVs), and in research papers, special issues, and edited volumes. Debates around research ethics and research integrity take shape and become part of competence development modules.

It is rare in a Danish academic context that policy and practice speak together and are combined in a joint undertaking. Often, policy makers and practitioners work and discuss their work in separate forums, and few efforts exist that try and bridge the gap between the two paradigms. The SIG aims to mend the divide by including researchers and developers working in the intersections of higher education policy and practice. Further, the SIG aims to include members who work across academic and institutional levels: academic leaders, researchers, developers, teachers, and students (across all levels). This way, the SIG aims for a greater level of awareness, understanding, complementarity, and cohesion in the future debates, initiatives, and actions taken in order to mutually benefit the policy and practice levels of higher education in Denmark. Further, the SIG will create an interdisciplinary forum, where the research into higher education policy and practice often draws from separate and conflicting research methodologies and knowledge paradigms. The SIG will bring together researchers and developers from the Social Sciences, Sciences, and Humanities, who work from quantitative, quality, and theoretical academic traditions – with the aim of creating better understanding, recognition, and acknowledgment across the levels within universities, but also between institutions and the wider societal domains.


  • The SIG will have regular meetings (1-2 meetings per semester), and the hosting role and responsibility shifts between the institutions that the members belong to. The meetings will take the form of workshops around specific topics, and the participants will have the opportunity to present and discuss their current work and to find synergies and identify opportunities for further collaboration.

  • The SIG will be at the disposal of being booked to plan and organize workshops and seminars focusing on the intersections of higher education policy and practice and its educational implications for leaders, teachers, researchers, and students.

  • The SIG will contribute with symposia, workshops, and/or individual papers at the annual DUN Conference, where the coordinators of the SIG (and other involved members) will participate and present the work of the SIG.

  • The SIG will, ongoingly, submit papers to DUT, both in the form of research papers and in the form of practice-based papers and reports.


Responsible for the SIG theme ‘Academic citizenship’, which focuses on the tensions but also synergies and new possibilities of the closer coupling of higher education programmes and wider professional, organizational, and private societal domains.

Soeren Smedegaard Bengtsen Beskaaret

   Søren S.E. Bengtsen 

   Associate Professor
   Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media
   Deputy Director of Centre for Higher Education Futures, Aarhus University

   Mail  ssbe@tdm.au.dk

Assistant coordinators 

Responsible for the SIG theme ‘Academic freedom’, which focuses on the rights of freedom of voice that some teachers, researchers, leaders, and students experience is diminished in universities today.
Also, it focuses on research freedom and students’ rights.

Susan Wright Beskaaret2jpg

   Susan Wright

   Danish School of Education
   Director of Centre for Higher Education Futures, Aarhus University
   Mail  suwr@edu.au.dk

Responsible for the SIG theme ‘Research Integrity’, which focuses on ethical issues of trust, responsibility, and scientific sobriety that make out the foundation of the social contract between researchers (and universities) and the wider societal and political stakeholders.

Lise Degn Beskaaret

   Lise Degn

   Assistant Professor
   Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy
   Department of Political Science, Aarhus University

   Mail  ld@ps.au.dk