Retention, prior learning and field studies are examples of new and updated terms in the Swedish Council for Higher Education’s (UHR) dictionary. The online dictionary for higher education now includes over 1,500 entries.

”Our focus in 2018 was on terms related to doctoral degrees, adapted study routes, prior learning, and retention,” said Jari Rusanen, dictionary coordinator. 

He said that three completely new terms are now included in the eleventh edition of the dictionary: kvarvaro (retention), anpassad studiegång (adapted study routes), and filosofie doktorsexamen (Degree of Doctor of Philosophy). Approximately 80 entries in total were updated last year, not all due to dictionary term expansion. Some terms have quite simply become out of date and been deleted.

The needs of higher education institutions

The most important target group for the dictionary is Sweden’s higher education institutions (HEIs) and it is primarily their needs that control content. A reference group with 50 representatives provides the basis for work with content. In addition, several smaller groups have different tasks such as making suggestions regarding which words should be reviewed, and translating terms to English.

”Almost all of Sweden’s HEIs are represented in the reference group. There are also representatives from different expert government agencies, such as the Swedish Higher Education Authority and the Language Council of Sweden,” said Jari Rusanen.

User survey

Every year, more than 800,000 searches are made in the dictionary and in 2019, the dictionary group will complete a user survey to find out more about its users and get input for future development. Despite the fact the dictionary has many users, UHR doesn’t know an awful lot about them.

”The dictionary’s purpose is to provide English equivalents to Swedish higher education terms for those who need them in their daily work. This can be administrators, professors and researchers. But even students use it,” said Jari Rusanen.