The report of the projects’ activities during its first 12 months of operation.
The overall objective of the PHExcel initiative is to support, develop, improve and enhance excellence in professional higher education in Europe. We aim to achieve this by designing and testing a Quality Framework for Professional Higher Education Excellence accompanied by a methodology to assess excellence in professional higher education. Together they will form an excellence enhancement tool for professional higher education, thus labelling excellence in professional higher education.
EURASHE, the leader of the PHExcel project, is the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education that offer professionally orientated programmes and are engaged in applied and profession-related research within the Bologna cycles. As the representative of professional higher education in the Bologna Process and as consultative member of the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG), EURASHE is in a unique position in the higher education community debates.
Excellence is indeed a ‘hot topic’ in higher education worldwide. It is used in funding schemes by several authorities and has risen in past years through (international) rankings and sectorial initiatives such as quality labels.
Based on consultations within its membership and with partners, EURASHE gathered representatives of 4 sectors of higher education (arts, business and languages, music, and nursing) and other partners to lead the PHExcel initiative. The partners are the Association Européenne des Conservatoires (AEC), the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), and the SPACE Network for Business Studies and Languages (SPACE), Jagiellonian University in Krakow (JG), the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom) representing the European Federation of Nurse Educators (FINE), and finally the Knowledge Innovation Centre Malta (KIC-Malta).
Our aim is to support institutions providing professional higher education in the development and enhancement of excellence in the professional aspects of their processes. It comes in addition to current schemes specifically addressing the academic components of higher education. To achieve this, we are building on the identified characteristics of professional higher education from the HAPHE project.
One year after the launch of the PHExcel initiative, and with still 15 months to go, we have finalised the research phase, and are well under way in the development phase. This includes the report on Quality Tools for Professional Higher Education Review and Improvement highlighting and analysing the quality tools currently in use in (professional) higher education. Further a group of experts in European higher education have begun developing the Quality Framework for Professional Higher Education Excellence, leading in time to the excellence enhancement tool for professional higher education.
In the coming months we will finalise the draft quality framework, go onto testing it on the institutional level through pilot reviews and evaluating it through in-depth consultations with stakeholders, finally we will present the final excellence enhancement tool for professional higher education to the wider higher education community.
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