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  • Prize Essay Competition 2016-2017

    Every two years and with funding provided by Palgrave Macmillan, the publishers of HEP, IAU holds a prize essay competition open to researchers, scholars, administrators and teachers from amongs our members. The recent competition was entitled Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development: A New Academic Discipline? and was held in collaboration with the COPERNICUS Alliance - an affiliate member of IAU.

    In this edition, two papers were each to receive a monetary prize of 2000€, and would also be considered for publication in Higher Education Policy. We are pleased to announce that two papers have now been selected to receive the prizes and they will appear in Online First at the beginning of November, and will also appear in print in December’s issue of HEP (31/4). Furthermore, we are equally pleased to inform you that a third paper which, although not eligible for the prize, was retained for publication in HEP. The paper, co-written by Mara Bauer from Universität Vechta, Germany was entitled Sustainability Governance at Universities: Using a Governance Equalizer as a Research Heuristic can be viewed here.

    Winning Papers

    The winning essay from an IAU Member institution is entitled Towards a Definition of Environmental Sustainability Evaluation in Higher Education , co-written by David Alba Hidalgo, Javier Benayas del Álamo and José Gutiérrez Pérez, representing the Association for Ecology and Education for Sustainable Cities - Transitando, of the Autónoma University of Madrid and the University of Granada, Spain.

    The winning essay from a Member of the COPERNICUS Alliance is entitled Mainstreaming Education for Sustainable Development at a Swiss University: Navigating the Traps of Institutionalization , co-written by Lilian J. Trechsel, Anne B. Zimmermann, David Graf, Karl Herweg, Lara Lundsgaard-Hansen, Lydia Rufer, Thomas Tribelhorn and Doris Wastl-Walter, all from the University of Bern, Switzerland.


    Towards a Definition of Environmental Sustainability Evaluation in Higher Education

    Sustainability is increasing their presence at Universities, so it is convenient to reflect on the impact and effectiveness that university sustainability actions are having. Several authors have recognized mature experiences about environmental sustainability in the different dimensions of higher education: teaching, research, operations and outreach. Assessment of university sustainability is an emerging field of research of Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education, because of the use by universities of assessment tools to improve the performance of its policies, but also to disseminate their results. This paper will try to define what is meant by "assessment of university environmental sustainability" based on different evaluation approaches found in an integrative meta-analysis of specialized literature on the subject and review of assessment tools. While the most common evaluative approach is the self-assessment, to improve the implementation of policies, other approaches aimed at promoting university activity in sustainability through its participation in rankings or accreditation system increasingly are becoming greater presence. This leads to identify a particular concern among Universities to compete and appear in the university context as “sustainable” without ensuring that their actions are being designed really to improve sustainability, at a university and global context.

    Mainstreaming Education for Sustainable Development at a Swiss University: Navigating the Traps of Institutionalization

    How far have higher education institutions progressed towards integrating sustainable development at an institutional level and are they responding to the societal need for transformation? Can the pace of transformation be accelerated, given the urgency of the issues our world is facing? As a practice-oriented contribution to this broader debate – still open despite progress achieved during the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) – this article discusses a mainstreaming strategy applied to teaching at a higher education institution in Switzerland, the University of Bern. We analyse the traps of institutionalizing sustainable development (SD) in a higher education institution and clarify the policies and approach to change management needed to navigate these traps, based on an analysis of our experience as an education for sustainable development team. We propose 1) using a combined top-down and bottom-up policy to increase motivation, 2) prioritizing and sequencing target groups and helping them to find the link between their discipline and SD, and 3) offering tools, support, and professional development to help lecturers to move towards a more competence-oriented form of teaching. Concrete support needs to take place at four levels: the level of formulating competences for SD; the level of shifting towards a learner-centred approach; the level of designing their learning environments; and the level of becoming a community of practice. An impact chain explains the logic from concrete activities (tools, courses, workshops, etc) to the desired impact of helping lecturers and graduates to become agents of change capable of playing a key role in society and helping to shape our future.

  • HEP - Latest issue

    HEP 37/1 – March 2024

    The first issue of HEP in 2024 looks at governmental failure to address housing problems for international students in Australia, the application of decolonization to higher education, drivers behind Chinese prefecture cities’ adoption of vocational colleges during the latest tertiary education expansion, and how HE reform in Poland has altered the power structure of the HE governance in place.

    >> To see the full content list and to read Abstracts

    If you are interested in submitting a paper to HEP, you should use the online submisstion system. Please visit the journal’s home page here.

    NEW Online access to HEP for IAU Members

    IAU Members can now access HEP via a new URL referral system. To do so, please go to and use your WHED login details to connect. Once connected you will be able to access the entire collection of HEP, including online first articles (papers that have been accepted and are awaiting publication in an issue of HEP.
    If you have not received your WHED login details, or have lost them, please contact Nicholas Poulton

  • Detailed Description

    Higher Education Policy (HEP), published quarterly, is an international journal for advancing scholarly understanding of the policy process applied to higher education through the publication of original analyses, both theoretical and practice-based, the focus of which may range from case studies of developments in individual institutions to policy making at systems and at national level.

    Through this journal the International Association of Universities wishes to strengthen the exchange between scholarship and issues of practical administrative concern within the perspective of the disciplines that contribute to the study of this field - anthropology, history, economics, public administration, political science, government, law, sociology, philosophy, psychology, policy analysis and the sociology of organisations.

    The editorial board will give every encouragement to original contributions, whether theoretical, conceptual or empirical in nature, which involves explicit inter-system and cross-national comparisons. Articles devoted to less reported systems of higher education and their evolution, are particularly welcome. The major criteria retained in the process of review and selection are the significance of the submission to decision-making and policy development in higher education as well as its intrinsic quality. Since the study of policy in higher education draws upon a broad range of disciplines, a cross-disciplinary methodology will have equal consideration.

    The aim of Higher Education Policy is to provide a peer-reviewed vehicle of the highest quality for institutional leadership, scholars, practitioners and administrators at all levels of higher education to have access to, keep abreast of, and contribute to, the most advanced analyses available in this domain.


    - Professor Jeroen Huisman, Department of Sociology, University of Ghent, Belgium

    Founding Editor:

    - Professor Guy Neave, Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies (CIPES), University of Porto, Portugal

    Members of the Editorial board:

    - Khalid Arar, College of Education, Texas State University, USA
    - Sondra Barringer, Southern Methodist University, USA
    - Andrés Bernasconi, Catholic University of Chile, Chile
    - Vikki Boliver, Durham University, UK
    - Denisa Gándara, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
    - Carolina Guzmán-Valenzuela, University de Tarapacá, Chile
    - Shuangmiao Han, Zheijang University, China
    - Ellen Hazelkorn, Technological University Dublin, Republic of Ireland
    - Nick Hillman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
    - Hugo Horta, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    - Glen Jones, University of Toronto, Canada
    - Georg Krücken, University of Kassel, Germany
    - Mei Li, East China Normal University, China
    - Liudvika Leišytė, Technical University Dortmund, Germany
    - Shuiyun Liu, Beijing Normal University, China
    - Simon Marginson, University of Oxford, UK
    - Ka Ho Mok, Lingam University, Hong Kong
    - Guy Neave, University of Porto, Portugal
    - Suyan Pan, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    - Morshidi Sirat, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
    - Bjørn Stensaker, University of Oslo, Norway
    - Pedro Teixeira, University of Porto, Portugal
    - Michael Tomlinson, University of Southampton, UK
    - Frans A. van Vught, University of Twente, The Netherlands
    - Martina Vukasović, University of Bergen, Norway
    - Chuanyi Wangi, Tsinghua University, China

  • Instructions for Authors

    How to submit
    All articles must be submitted using the Journal’s online submission system.

    Before submitting, all authors are invited to read and follow specific instructions .

    If you have any queries or problems, please contact Nicholas Poulton

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