Welcome to the Institute for Higher Education Management

Barbara Sporn

The Institute for Higher Education Management is part of the Department of Strategy and Innovation at WU and is led by Univ. Prof. Dr. Barbara Sporn.

IHM activities include research, teaching, policy advising and external engagement with different stakeholders, as well as involvement in international associations. Areas of interest at IHM combine theories of business and management applied to the complex organization of universities. With this focus, IHM provides insights for higher education scholars and practitioners but also beyond that for research and practice interested in expert and nonprofit organizational settings.



SIMC students support WFP’s innovation mission through AI-driven solutions

Final project presentations May 2024

WU students and WFP’s Innovation and Knowledge Management team after the final project presentations in May 2024

© Barbara Sporn

After three years of ongoing collaboration of the Institute for Higher Education Management with the World Food Programme this year, the partnership has taken a strategic turn towards artificial intelligence (AI), with students tackling three critical areas: curating e-learning experiences, enhancing knowledge capture and discovery, and improving knowledge storage and retrieval for WFP with the aim of deepening the collaboration with AI and innovation.

Over the past three years, more than 100 students from WU have engaged with WFP, offering over 70 targeted recommendations that have significantly supported the organization’s approach to innovation and knowledge management.

“We’re incredibly proud that our students are repeatedly contributing outstanding work for WFP,” said Bernhard Böhm, Lecturer of the Business Planning and Performance Management Course. “Manifesting this collaboration and taking it to the next level is of key importance to us.”

The 2024 cohort’s focus on AI-enabled solutions marks a pivotal enhancement in how knowledge management can drive WFP’s humanitarian and development work forward.

As WFP and WU prepare to expand their collaborative efforts, WFP and WU are setting a standard for how academic institutions and global agencies can work together to address some of the most pressing issues of our times.

The detailed blog article of WFP regard the collaboration including the results from the 2024 cohort can be found here: https://bit.ly/WFP-IA-wu-collaboration.

Retirement Event of Prof. Arnold Schuh

CEE RetirementEvent Schuh2

Prof. Sporn had the honor and pleasure to take part at the retirement celebration of Ass.-Prof. Dr. Arnold Schuh on May 29, 2024. The Competence Center for Emerging Markets & CEE has invited companions, colleagues, students, and friends to honor Prof. Schuh and his more than 40 years of dedicated work at WU. In the panel discussion, Prof. Sporn, together with other international colleagues, was able to look back on Prof. Schuh's numerous projects and experiences. Former students and graduates paid tribute to his achievements as program director. It was a very successful event that Prof. Sporn remembers fondly.


Our Institute welcomes interest from students who would like to write their thesis under our supervision. The following topics are available for Bachelor’s and Master’s theses:

  • The use of AI in teaching and learning

  • AI assisted Knowledge Management

  • AI use in Strategic Management

  • Influence of AI on Strategic Leadership

  • Strategy and Innovation in Expert Organizations

  • Strategic Leadership and Organizational Outcomes

  • Responsible Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Governance and Performance Management in (Non-profit) Organizations

  • Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of Expert Organizations

  • Business Models in Complex Organizations

  • Business Planning and Modelling

  • Marketing and Employer Branding in the Higher Education Sector  

You can find the guides to your thesis here.

Courses Summer Term 2024


During the upcoming summer term we offer the following courses with interesting (guest-)lecturer:

LV 5392: Advanced Strategic Leadership

LV 5432: Business Planning and Performance Management

LV 4410 + 4832: Professional Develpoment Workshop

The WU Course Catalogue for the summer term with dates and details can be found here.

Collaboration with UN World Food Programme
Group photo with the SIMC students who participated in the 2023 WU x WFP case study

© WFP/Johannes Schade

The Institute for Higher Education Management and the World Food Programme (WFP) agreed on a dynamic collaboration aimed at fostering innovation in the fight against global hunger.

The collaboration builds on the success of a previous partnership between WFP and the Institute for Higher Education Management, in which, for the past two years, students from the SIMC Master’s Programme, have contributed to WFP’s innovation and knowledge management work through recommendations around crucial areas such as culture, knowledge management approaches, governance, and innovative technology.

The partnership has proven mutually beneficial by offering students valuable opportunities for internships and networking.

The collaboration will extend to various domains, including joint publication and thesis collaboration, research projects, knowledge and expertise exchange, innovation research and exchange by leveraging the Innovation Accelerator’s experience, and the integration of real-world problem-solving into the Master’s Programme on Strategy, Innovation, and Management Control (SIMC) at WU.

We’re looking forward for much more to come!

SIMC Master in Top Ten of QS Ranking

SIMC Master

The SIMC Master program was again able to achieve a top placement in the QS Master in Management Ranking and is now in the excellent 10th place (out of 148). This meant that SIMC was able to position itself among the top 5% globally. Details about the ranking can be found here. For more information about the SIMC Master at the Department of Strategy and Innovation, please visit the website: 

Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien: Overview - Strategy, Innovation and Management Control - Master’s Programs (wu.ac.at)


We are happy to share that the article "The conceptualisation of socially responsible universities in higher education research: a systematic literature review", authored by Ana Godonoga and Prof. Barbara Sporn is now published open access in the journal Studies in Higher Education! If you are interested to learn more about what it means to be a socially responsible university, please check our work here!