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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Lerarenopleiding Onderzoek Higher Education

Determinants of effective higher education: inter-related perspectives

Research program Higher Education 2019-2024
University Groningen/GMW

Ellen Jansen (

Adriaan Hofman (

The crucial role Higher Education plays in fulfilling the demands of national and global policy towards a more high-educated and academic skilled work force justifies a strong focus on quality and effectiveness of higher education. Basic factor clusters included in the research line on higher education are: 1) students, their learning and their learning environment; 2) teacher development and teaching and 3) organization and policy in higher education.

In each of these research clusters the focus can be on students in general or targeted at specific groups, such as first-year students, international students, first-in-family students or PhD-students. Teaching has to support student learning and policies and organization aim at providing optimal conditions for students to develop themselves and to be successful in their study career. Being successful can be measured as receiving a degree, making sufficient progress or satisfaction with well-being. At organization level successful outcomes are equity in access and academic workforce as well as providing good quality of  programmes

Figure 1
Figure 1

Methodological notions

We characterize the higher education research program in methodological terms as multi-level, multi-disciplinary and output oriented. The multi-level character of the research is a natural consequence of the multi-level structure of education processes as it consists of students, within student groups functioning under supervision of teachers in the context of faculties and universities again nested within national education systems. A multi-disciplinary approach implies that beside educational specialists also the input of other disciplines like sociologists and psychologists will be used. The research is basically output oriented as we, in the end, are interested in the added value of education programs. Outcome can be defined as study progress, study success or drop out, but also as the acquisition of academic skills, types of learning approaches or widening participation. Following from the nature of the program as it focuses on the impact of institutional contexts on education performance it will also be international comparative by character.


Coordinators of the Higher Education research program are Adriaan Hofman and Ellen Jansen.

Laatst gewijzigd:12 juli 2021 13:39