A1 Journal article (refereed)
University-wide, top-down curriculum reform at a Finnish university : Perceptions of the academic staff (2021)

Honkimäki, S., Jääskelä, P., Kratochvil, J., & Tynjälä, P. (2021). University-wide, top-down curriculum reform at a Finnish university : Perceptions of the academic staff. European Journal of Higher Education, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/21568235.2021.1906727

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Honkimäki, Sanna; Jääskelä, Päivikki; Kratochvil, Joachim; Tynjälä, Päivi

Journal or series: European Journal of Higher Education

ISSN: 2156-8235

eISSN: 2156-8243

Publication year: 2021

Volume: Early online

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/21568235.2021.1906727

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/74949


This study examines academic staff’s perceptions of a university-wide, top-down curriculum reform in terms of the management of the reform, the support provided by the university’s administration, and the utilisation of the university’s guidelines. Differences between faculties are also scrutinised. The study was conducted at a multidisciplinary public research university in Finland using the survey method. The data (n = 394) consisted of academic staff’s responses to multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Correlation coefficients, exploratory factor analyses, and a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were utilised to analyse the quantitative data. Responses to the open-ended questions were analysed using thematic analysis. The academic staff expressed discontent with the management and support provided by the university even though they had proceeded according to the university’s guidelines. Significant differences concerning the perceived management and support and reported utilisation of the university’s guidelines were found between the personnel of different faculties. The results indicate that a top-down curriculum reform creates conflict between the academics’ own ideas regarding curriculum planning and those of the senior management and university administration.

Keywords: institutions of higher education; administration of higher education; curricula; reforms; change management (leadership); employees

Free keywords: curriculum planning; curriculum reform; higher education; academic staff; top-down management

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: No, publication in press

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-25-08 at 12:09