How policy makers employ the term quality in higher education policymaking

Philipp Pechmann, Sanne Schioldann Haase

    Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


    Quality in higher education (HE) can be considered a floating signifier that lacks a stable meaning due to the many possible interpretations different actors may ascribe to it in different contexts. We investigate how policy makers employ the term quality in HE policymaking attempting to legitimize policy reforms and find that it is employed in two ways: as “future-proofing tool” and as “relevance-increasing tool”. Furthermore, we show that policy makers employ the term quality when trying to legitimize both overall policy reforms as well as concrete policy design choices that represent politically contested goals and strategies. Our empirical cases are five Danish HE policies adopted since 2003. Our study contributes to existing knowledge with a new understanding of the role and function of quality referral in HE policymaking.
    TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Educational Research
    Udgave nummer2
    Sider (fra-til)355-366
    Antal sider12
    StatusUdgivet - 2022


    • Uddannelse, professioner og erhverv
    • Danmark
    • kvalitet
    • policymaking
    • teksturanalyse
    • videregående uddannelse


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