Panel discussion
”Actors and Ideas Shaping the Futures of Higher Education in the Nordic Countries”


Adjunct Professor Johanna Kallo, University of Turku, and Associate Professor Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret, University of Turku

Professor Jussi Välimaa, University of Jyväskylä

Dr. Jussi Välimaa is Professor in Educational Studies and Director of the Finnish Institute for Educational Research at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Being trained as a historian and a social scientist professor Välimaa has expertise in social and historical studies of higher education and education. His research profile is shaped by academic interest in the relationship between higher education and society. Dr. Välimaa also has studied the internal dynamics of higher education institutions from cultural, historical and sociological perspectives. Dr. Välimaa’s latest book is ‘Opinteillä oppineita –Suomalainen korkeakoulutus keskiajalta 2000-luvulle’ (A History of Finnish Higher Education from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-first Century, 2018).

Professor Ivar Bleiklie, University of Bergen

Ivar Bleiklie is Professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Bergen. He has been the Director of the Norwegian Research Center in Organization and Management and a Visiting Scholar/Professor at Stanford University, Harvard University, Boston College and Science Po. Bleiklie has directed and participated in a number of comparative projects about reform and change in higher education in Europe funded by Research Council of Norway, EU and the European Science foundation. He has published a number of books, book chapters and articles about policy, governance and organizational change in higher education, such as ”Managing Universities”, (ed. with Jürgen Enders and Bendetto Lepori) McMillan Palgrave 2017; ”University Governance” (ed. with Catherine Paradeise, Emanuela Reale and Ewan Ferlie), Dordrecht: Springer 2009 and ”Transforming Higher Education”. (2nd edition) (ed. with Maurice Kogan, Marianne Bauer and Mary Henkel) Springer 2006.

Professor Susan Wright, Aarhus University

Susan Wright is Professor of Educational Anthropology and Director of the Centre for Higher Education Futures (CHEF)  at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University. She studies people’s participation in large scale processes of transformation and works with concepts of audit culture, governance, contestation and the anthropology of policy. She has researched university reforms in the UK and Denmark over the last 30 years and is concerned to use research-based knowledge to design and develop universities with an ethos of social solidary and transformation. This has three facets: 1) a re-thinking of how universities can and should act to help strengthen civil society, equality and democracy as well as strengthening the economy; 2) internal reform of university governance and management so that it mirrors the kind of society the university aims to help create; and 3) the development of education courses and pedagogies that give students experience of how to act within large organisations (using the university as a starting point) as well as in social and political contexts around the university so as to equip them to engage in solidary and sustainable social change. She coordinated EU-funded projects on ‘University Reform, Globalisation and Europeanisation’ (URGE) and ‘Universities in the Knowledge Economy’ (UNIKE) in Europe and the Asia-Pacific Rim. Informing all her work are insights gained from studies of political participation and transformation in Iran before and after the Islamic Revolution. She co-edits the journal LATISS (Learning and Teaching: International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences) and co-edited Policy Worlds: Anthropology and the Anatomy of Contemporary Power (with Shore and Peró, 2011, Berghahn) and Death of the Public University? (with Shore, 2017, Berghahn).