Marjaana Mäkelä


European Universities Initiative is transforming the landscape of European higher education in a fundamental way with the establishment of transnational, strategic alliances. In view of the overarching objectives of the European Higher Education Area, new alliances contribute to the consolidation of current best practices in education, research and innovation, and enable novel ways of cooperation to enhance them even more. Alongside the optimistic perspectives opening up with the initiative, alliances also face a number of administrative and pedagogical challenges. Fulfilling the expectations of the European Commission in terms of facilitating more flexible study pathways and of adopting transparent practices in academic recognition is one acute topic that needs to be addressed in every alliance: recognition for both access and for advancement needs thorough reconsideration in the new educational ecosystem. The article presents a pragmatic contribution by unfolding a recent development case from the Ulysseus European University Alliance. It describes an intensive process of designing an alliance-level framework agreement for academic recognition, with supporting documents, to enable more functional processes in alignment with the main European policy papers such as the Lisbon Recognition Convention (1997) and taking into account recent studies where hindrances and developments in academic recognition are discussed and analyzed. The case process is articulated methodologically with the framework of bricolage theory (Matthews 2019) that enables a synchronic analysis of the constituents and the outcomes of the process. Pragmatic recommendations are based on the post-hoc analysis of the case where a transdisciplinary working group achieved a significant administrative step forward in alliance cooperation.


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higher education, academic recognition, European Universities Initiative, development, bricolage

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