As one stage in its work of describing and analysing conditions in higher education, the National Agency for Higher Education in collaboration with the Bank of Sweden´s Tercentenary Fund commissioned articles from a number of experienced journalists on various facets of higher education. Their research was conducted during the autumn of 2002 and the articles reflect their authors´ subjective views of the work of eight different higher education institutions.
The articles were intended to shed some light on the current situation for higher education institutions in Sweden as a whole. Today higher education has been assigned a number of different tasks involving education, research, development work, information etc. Although decision making has been extensively decentralised to the local level there still remain a number of regulations, laws, statutes, agreements, budget directives and other government decisions. The national authorities have made it clear that forceful local leadership is expected. At the same time academic norms and the collegial decision making process have traditionally exerted a great deal of influence on higher education. To what extent is it possible to perform all these tasks and live up to requirements?
This is a central issue that is not, however, all that easy to deal with methodically. The National Agency therefore decided to investigate whether articles of this kind could illuminate these questions from various points of view. The articles can also provide insight into higher education today in purely general terms.
The National Agency is, of course, using other methods to deal with these issues as well. The articles and the discussion they are hoped to inspire, will be able to offer the Agency new approaches for its continued work in this field.