Bergen Summer Research School
bsrs 2024 COURSE

Creative Innovations in Higher Education

Colleges and universities across the world are evolving to better meet the needs of a changing society, seeking new opportunities through innovations in teaching, research, outreach, and governance. This course will explore and critique concepts and initiatives that promise to improve the effectiveness and relevance of higher education.

Group work
Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash

Main content

Course leader
David G. Hebert, Professor, Faculty of Education, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Bergen.

Course lecturers
Emily Achieng’ Akuno, Vice Chancellor, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Kenya. 
Chetwyn Chan, Professor of Psychology, Vice President, Education University of Hong Kong.
Marianne Løkke Jakobsen, Founding member and project leader, The Global Conservatoire. Head of Department, Director of Global Engagement, Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen. 
Tom Are Trippestad, Professor of Educational Theory and Policy, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. 
Yusef Waghid, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy of Education and Acting Head of Department at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.  
Abdul Quddus, Professor of Organization and Management, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Course description
How can higher education become more effective, relevant, and inspiring? This course is designed for future professors and university leaders who intend to generate sustainable improvements.

Sometimes higher education is seen as an “ivory tower”, distant from practical concerns, but many new approaches seek to cultivate universities that are more directly engaged with professions and local communities. Some initiatives that claim to be “innovative” come with risks and provoke debates about the proper balance between financial costs and educational quality, or between practical skills and holistic competencies.

Some forms of internationalization are effective while others merely have a superficial impact. We will critically examine examples of sustainable creative innovation in specific professional fields, such as the training of teachers. Our course will focus on foundational values, ongoing debates, and recent research findings, with the aim of discerning which creative innovations are most promising for the future of higher education.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Understand how the higher education sector can contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • Develop a global sense of various ways that colleges and universities are changing worldwide, and the underlying reasons for their evolution. 
  • Recognize diverse approaches and initiatives to generate sustainable innovations to teaching, research, outreach, and governance in higher education institutions. 
  • Critically evaluate applications of “innovation” discourse in higher education. 
  • Produce research publications based on the course material.

Suggested literature / reading list

Aarrevaara, T., Finkelstein, M., Jones, G. A., & Jung, J. (2021). Universities in the Knowledge Society. Springer.

Adesola, S., & Datta, S. (2020). Entrepreneurial Universities: Creating Institutional Innovation in Times of Turbulence. Springer. 

Brundenius, C., Göransson, B., & de Mello, J. M. C. (Eds.). (2016). Universities, Inclusive Development and Social Innovation: An International Perspective. Springer.

Fassi, D., Landoni, P., Piredda, F., & Salvadeo, P. (2019). Universities as Drivers of Social Innovation. Springer. 

Johnston, B., MacNeill, S., & Smyth, K. (2019). Conceptualising the Digital University: The Intersection of Policy, Pedagogy and Practice. Springer.

Thomas, E., & Pugh, R. (2020). From ‘entrepreneurial’ to ‘engaged’ universities: Social innovation for regional development in the Global South. Regional Studies, 54(12), 1631-1643.

Tijssen, R., Edwards, J., & Jonkers, K. (2021). Regional Innovation Impact of Universities. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Wennberg, K., & Sandström, C. (2022). Questioning the Entrepreneurial State: Status-quo, Pitfalls, and the Need for Credible Innovation Policy. Springer.


Participation at the BSRS is credited under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Participants submitting an essay, in a form of a publishable manuscript of 10-20 pages, after the end of the summer school will receive 10 ECTS. Deadline for submission will be decided by your course leader.

It is also possible to participate without producing an essay. This will give you 5 ECTS. In order to receive credits, we expect full participation in the course-specific modules, plenary events and roundtables.

Course leader

David G. Hebert, PhD, is a professor with the Faculty of Education, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen. He is also Honorary Professor with the Education University of Hong Kong and Affiliated Professor with University of the Faroe Islands. Additionally, he mentors postgraduate students with Kyambogo and Makerere universities and teaches a course on arts policy for China University of Political Science and Law. Author or editor of 10 academic books, he has taught for universities on each inhabited continent. With grant support from Norwegian government programs, he is now co-developing new doctoral programs in China and Uganda.