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Johanna Annala

University Lecturer, University pedagogy

Fields of expertise

My research focus on higher education; particularly on three themes: research on 1) knowledge in curriculum in higher education, 2) teacher’s work, agency and academic communities and 3) student engagement and experience. I have interest to study how educational and curriculum changes transform the idea of university education and academic communities in the long run, what are the special features when universities with different traditions are approaching each other in curriculum and teaching, and what is the meaning of these changes to academics and students.   

I teach faculty members, including doctoral researchers, in the programmes of professional development (academic practice) and in tailored sessions in the faculties. I supervise graduate students and doctoral researchers. I am open to supervise new doctoral students whose topics and methods are aligned with my own research.    

In my research and teaching, I combine the approaches from curriculum studies and social sciences in the context of higher education. I have an enterprise to rethink and cross the divide between critical and normative curriculum theories. This means, that even though I follow the approach from critical curriculum theories, I try also to find meaningful and theoretically elaborated solutions for academic practice.   

I am a co-leader of the research group "Higher Education in Transition (HET)" (see the link below). I am a member of the board in Consortium of Higher Education Researchers in Finland (CHERIF). I act as an associate editor in a leading journal in the field, Studies in Higher Education (jufo 3).

For my publications, see the research database (TUNICRIS; see link below) 

Selected publications

Annala, J. (2023). Curriculum making and higher education: an activity-theoretical perspective. In: Tierney, R.J., Rizvi, F., Erkican, K. (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, vol. 7. Elsevier, pp. 163–172. https://

Annala, J. (2022) What Knowledge Counts? Boundaries of Knowledge in Cross-Institutional Curricula in Higher Education. Higher Education.

Annala, J. (2022) Disciplinary knowledge practices and powerful knowledge: a study on knowledge and curriculum structures in regions. Teaching in Higher Education.

Annala, J., Mäkinen, M., Lindén, J. & Henriksson, J. (2022) Change and stability in academic agency in higher education curriculum reform. Journal of Curriculum Studies 54(1), 53-69. 

Annala, J., Lindén, J., Mäkinen, M., & Henriksson, J. (2021) Understanding academic agency in curriculum change in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education. 

Annala, J. & Mäkinen, M. (2017) Communities of practice in higher education: contradictory narratives of a university-wide curriculum reform. Studies in Higher Education 42 (11), 1941-1957, 

Lindén, J., Annala, J. & Coate, K. (2017) The role of curriculum theory in contemporary higher education research and practice. In Tight, M. & Huisman, J. (eds.) Theory and Method in Higher Education Research, Vol 3. Emerald, 137-154. 

Annala, J., Lindén, J. & Mäkinen, M. (2016) Curriculum in higher education research. In J. Case & J. Huisman (Eds.) Researching Higher Education. International perspectives on theory, policy and practice. SRHE Society for Research into Higher Education & Routledge, 171–189. Postprint available online at: