The “integrated” evaluation process developed by AERES: how it works, its difficulties and benefits

The “integrated” evaluation process developed by AERES: how it works, its difficulties and benefits by Jean-François Dhainaut, Claude Cassagne, Version 2010, WGSII.1_Ppaers_Dhainaut&Cassagne.pdf (0.3 MB) - The French evaluation agency for research and higher education (AERES) is tasked by law with three main missions (evaluation of higher education institutions, research units, and degrees and programmes). As the interactions between the three departments were not organised by the law creating AERES, the agency has developed a process of ―integrated evaluation‖ which allows to feed pertinent information prepared by the department for evaluation of research units and the department for evaluation of degrees and programmes into the departments for evaluation of higher education institutions. This process has required for the definition of the objectives linked to integrated evaluation, the organisation of the methodology adapted to these objectives and the relevant resources to be engaged. This paper aims to give insights into these topics.

EQANIE: Implementing a system of quality assurance for informatics higher education

EQANIE: Implementing a system of quality assurance for informatics higher education by Hans-Ulrich Heiss, Frauke Muth, Version 2010, WGSIb.7 Heiss_Muth.pdf (80 KB) - The paper briefly explains the field-specific approach to quality assurance of higher education programmes, thereby drawing on existing examples in the European Higher Education Area. It then presents the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education, EQANIE, founded in 2009, and highlights why there is a need for a field-specific approach to quality assessment of degree programmes in informatics. It briefly presents the history and challenges facing the early days of the initiative before outlining the two main challenges for field-specific external review activities: 1) the challenge of avoiding that quality labels become an end in themselves rather than the (interim-)result of a continuous process of quality enhancement of a degree programme, and 2) the difficulties of actively involving stakeholders from industry in external quality assurance.

Specific questions and challenges faced by quality assurance in former Eastern bloc countries

Specific questions and challenges faced by quality assurance in former Eastern bloc countries by Radu Mircea Damian, Ioan Curtu, Oana Sarbu, Mihai Marcu, Version 2010, WGSIb.6 Sarbu et al..pdf (0.2 MB) - Similarities between the tasks of Quality Assurance Agencies in different countries cover many aspects, starting with their general missions. Endorsement of the same QA fundamental concepts, based on the ESGs, as a fundamental pillar of the European Higher Education Area, might lead to the conclusion that the agencies could and should operate in similar manners. Current practice shows, however, a number of significant differences which should be taken into account when assessing the activity and results of the QA agencies. The main differences identified come from: the social and economic climate in the former Eastern block countries; legislation; structure of HE with state and private universities; students‟ involvement; resources allocated to HE and research; internationalisation; the increasing popularity of distance learning; public pressure on education – which is sometimes seen as one of the main sources of poor economic performance.

Quality assurance in HEIs’ continuing education programmes in a European perspective

Quality assurance in HEIs' continuing education programmes in a European perspective by An Van der Auwera, Karolien Geens, Veerle Hulpiau, Jan Raeymaekers, Cinzia Castelluccio, Angela Ribeiro Cavazzuti, Version 2010, WGSIb.5 Van der Auwera et al..pdf (0.4 MB) - Due to social-economic developments and the march of the knowledge society, the importance of lifelong learning has grown significantly. Continuing education at HEIs plays an important role within the concern for providing adults with opportunities to improve and adapt their competences. Parallel to the growing number of continuing education programmes (CEPs) at HEIs, the need for appropriate quality assurance systems for this kind of programmes has also grown. The project “Quality Assurance for HEIs‟ Continuing Education Programmes (QACEP)”, in which 8 European institutions are involved, aims at developing a general framework for quality assurance of CEPs offered by HEIs, compatible with the specific needs and context of each HEI, and at elaborating practical tools for their quality assessment. This paper reports on the results of the project‟s first phase, consisting of a comparative analysis of the approach to quality assurance of CEPs.

Reaching parts that other instruments can’t touch? Quality assurance and the depth of reform through the Bologna process

Reaching parts that other instruments can't touch? Quality assurance and the depth of reform through the Bologna process by Don F. Westerheijden, Johanna Witte, Version 2010, WGSIb.4 Westerheijden_Witte.pdf (0.2 MB) - This paper, building on the data and report of the Independent Assessment of the Bologna Process (Westerheijden et al., 2010), aims to show the breadth and depth of the reform in the quality of education across the EHEA which has resulted from the Bologna Process instruments affecting the quality of education (ESG, EQAR, but also the QF – EHEA. Developments will be presented at European and nation-state levels, showing broad engagement in change, some convergence but also enduring national differences. Changes so far have not gone deep; hope for deep reform now seems vested in qualifications frameworks. We conclude with some remarks on the contribution of subject-level approaches (Tuning projects) and questions for a discussion on the future quality agenda for the Bologna Process.

Implementing Quality Management in an integrated European Master course. The case of EMQAL, an Erasmus Mundus Master Course

Implementing Quality Management in an integrated European Master course. The case of EMQAL, an Erasmus Mundus Master Course by Isabel Cavaco, Version 2010, WGSIb.3 Cavaco.pdf (0.4 MB) - The future of the European Higher Education Area depends on the creation of joint courses by European universities. In this regard, the European Commission has been funding, through the Erasmus Mundus programme, selected joint master and joint doctorate courses. Erasmus Mundus courses can be considered possible models for the future development of joint courses in Europe. The implementation of Quality Management in such courses poses new challenges to the universities involved. This paper describes the Quality System put forward in the Erasmus Mundus Master in Quality in Analytical Laboratories (EMQAL) by the consortium of five European universities from four countries: Portugal, Spain, Poland and Norway. Its successes and difficulties during the first year of implementation are discussed.

Focus Groups – proposing a new tool for empowering students in quality assurance

Focus Groups – proposing a new tool for empowering students in quality assurance by Karl Agius, Christian Hemmestad Bjerke, Version 2010, WGSIb.2 Agius_Hemmestand Bjerke.pdf (0.3 MB) - This paper shows how best practice in two different countries (Malta and Norway) has been merged to come up with a new and powerful tool for student feedback and follow up in quality assurance. The authors explain how Focus groups can be used to tackle problematic areas in courses or specific subjects. The benefit of such practice is that students are given more space and possibility to give their feedback as opposed to the rigid framework of traditional feedback exercises. This new approach will facilitate immediate action and review of the course or subject. In this article the authors also present some of the limitations relating to this approach, but the overall conclusion is that most QA systems will benefit from this new approach to student feedback that will increase legitimacy in QA for teachers and learners alike.

A new paradigm for quality assurance?

A new paradigm for quality assurance? by Jon Haakstad, Version 2010, WGSIb.1 Haakstad.pdf (0.2 MB) - The new qualification framework‟s stress on learning outcomes indicates a „new paradigm‟ for our way of assessing higher education. With this in mind, the presentation discusses the very concept of learning outcomes, how they may be assessed and their suitability as a steering parameter. A quick survey of how some „pioneering‟ national QA agencies have adapted to the new orientation offers some hints about likely trends in the future. The main part of the presentation is a discussion of what changes may – or should – be expected in quality assurance, given the new orientation. It is argued that reference frameworks as well as processes must be affected, as will the relationship between direct and indirect approaches, creating a modified „hierarchy‟ of quality indicators. As QA is drawn closer to didactic concerns, more prominent roles must be taken by the teaching academics. The relationships between the programme and the institutional levels and between internal and external quality assurance may change as a result of this.

Combined internal and external systematic benchmarking as a fruitful tool for quality improvement

Combined internal and external systematic benchmarking as a fruitful tool for quality improvement by Malin Östling, Version 2010, WGSIa.7 Ostling.pdf (0.4 MB) - The University of Gothenburg has, for six years, carried out a successful model for improvement: combined internal and external systematic process benchmarking on a specific theme. Departments from all of the nine faculties have participated in focus themes such as third-cycle courses and study programmes, student counselling and students´ module review. Learning from other departments within and outside the university, is said to be very constructive. The participants also see that it is productive to get well prepared questions from others about their own organisation thus opening up possibilities for self reflection and improvement. The participants produce specific action plans, which are followed up a year after the end of the project.

Building bridges for transferring what? Isomorphism vs. Legitimacy

Building bridges for transferring what? Isomorphism vs. Legitimacy by Susanna Karakhanyan, Ruben Topchyan, Version 2010, WGSIa.6 Karakhanyan_Topchyan.pdf (0.2 MB) - The paper seeks to understand how higher education policy from the European Community is transferred to developing countries and beyond. This study aims, in particular, to delve deeper into the actual implementation of quality assurance from the perception of seven Armenian tertiary level institutions involved in a pilot of the national quality assurance standards and criteria. The main findings show that setting too broad a standard and/or guideline creates room for a variety of interpretations leading to deviation from its original purposes, thus questioning alignment and, therefore, recognition. Alternatively, the isomorphs model, in the form of best practices transferred, may generate legitimacy issues – a prerequisite for success. The major implication of the study is that applying quality assurance standards and guidelines accompanied by an explanation of the underlying philosophies and mechanisms does indeed lead to capacity building, establishment of one‟s own models, thus legitimising the latter on one hand and aligning them with EU approaches on the other.

Quality assurance of Lifelong Learning: can higher education benefit?

Quality assurance of Lifelong Learning: can higher education benefit? by Maarten Coertjens, Pieter-Jan Van de Velde, Version 2010, WGSIa.5 Coertjens_Van de Velde.pdf (0.1 MB) - The paper has as its central question: How does quality assurance (QA) facilitate cooperation between different educational fields, in this case between higher education and non-formal education (NFE). The European Youth Forum (YFJ) sees possible synergies related to the validation of prior learning and to LLL-cooperation between different educational providers. In the view of the YFJ quality assurance processes within NFE are a condition to facilitate these synergies. In 2008, YFJ therefore adopted its „Policy Paper on Non-Formal Education: A framework for indicating and assuring quality' and has started a pilot project on quality assurance for its member organisations. This paper targets discussion among higher education stakeholders on the use of the QA Framework for NFE developed by YFJ: Could this framework be beneficial for higher education institutions?

CAF and education, a tool for self-assessment and preparation of national quality agency evaluation

CAF and education, a tool for self-assessment and preparation of national quality agency evaluation by Christine Defoin, Version 2010, WGSIa.4 Defoin.pdf (0.2 MB) - CAF (Common Assessment Framework) is a total quality management tool for public administrations based on the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) model. It looks into the organisation from different angles at the same time, it is a holistic approach of the performance. The administrative CAF was not really adapted to the needs of schools so that in 2008 a group of experts wrote a CAF and education. An official European version of CAF and education is now available as well as a label ECU (Efficient CAF users). The objective of the approach by CAF and education is obviously to create a learning school and to develop a real school culture to self-evaluation and external evaluation. But the tool is also very efficient in helping to prepare the self-assessment and to write the self-assessment report required by the National Quality Agency for quality.

Quality assurance of Lifelong Learning: can higher education benefit?

Quality assurance of Lifelong Learning: can higher education benefit? by Maarten Coertjens, Pieter-Jan Van de Velde, Version 2010, WGSIa.3 Dittrich_Frederiks.pdf (0.2 MB) - The paper has as its central question: How does quality assurance (QA) facilitate cooperation between different educational fields, in this case between higher education and non-formal education (NFE). The European Youth Forum (YFJ) sees possible synergies related to the validation of prior learning and to LLL-cooperation between different educational providers. In the view of the YFJ quality assurance processes within NFE are a condition to facilitate these synergies. In 2008, YFJ therefore adopted its „Policy Paper on Non-Formal Education: A framework for indicating and assuring quality' and has started a pilot project on quality assurance for its member organisations. This paper targets discussion among higher education stakeholders on the use of the QA Framework for NFE developed by YFJ: Could this framework be beneficial for higher education institutions?

2005-2010: Five years of student participation in quality assurance in Spain

2005-2010: Five years of student participation in quality assurance in Spain by Francesc Esteve Mon, Fernando Miguel Galan Palomares, Maria Cristina Pastor Valcarcel, Version 2010, WGSIa.2 Esteve Mon_Galan Palomares_Pastor Valcarcel.pdf (0.4 MB) - The implementation of student participation in QA has been one of the important challenges that the Spanish university system has faced with regards to the Bologna Process. When, in 2005, the European Ministers of Education adopted the "Standards and Guidelines for QA in the European Higher Education Area" drafted by ENQA, the Spanish National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA) began working to find how students could participate in quality matters, as this did not exist in Spain in those days. Two years later, for the first time, Spanish students were taking part in an official institutional assessment programme as observer members of the external evaluation committee, and in 2008 as full members in another programme. Today, students are participating in the verification of recognised degree programmes. This paper aims to review the implementation process of student participation in QA in our country, the achieved goals and future challenges.

No shortcut to quality assurance. Theses from a sense-making perspective

No shortcut to quality assurance. Theses from a sense-making perspective by Oliver Vettori, Manfred Lueger, Version 2010, WGSIa.1 Vettori_Lueger.pdf (0.3 MB) - This paper argues that one of the key problems in designing/implementing an institutional QA system is rooted in the underlying assumption of rationally functioning organisations that can likewise be rationally managed and controlled. What is often neglected is the dynamic and self-referential character of organisational developments and the interpretive autonomy of the involved actors. Emanating from ideas of Karl Weick and similar organisation theorists and based on the authors‟ practical experiences with developing an institutional quality culture over a period of six years, the paper puts three alternative theses up for discussion: that learning from others has its limits, that a successful QA system is not built for the organisation, but from the organisation and that it is not enough to „involve‟ stakeholders or „let them participate‟: if teachers, students etc. are to see themselves as a part of a certain quality culture they have to be assisted in their sense-making efforts.

Quality development in university continuing education programmes

Quality development in university continuing education programmes by Hans-Rudolf Frey, Rayk Sprecher, Version 2010, WGSI.5_Frey_Sprecher.pdf (0.4 MB) - In collaboration with the Centre of Accreditation and Quality Assurance of the Swiss Universities (OAQ), Swissuni, the umbrella organisation of Swiss university continuing education, has recently developed an innovative quality development model for continuing education programmes. This process was motivated by the diagnosis that most traditional models for regular master and bachelor programmes often had difficulties in handling the particularities of continuing education, such as rapidly changing needs, fragmented markets, expert client groups and heterogeneous teaching staff. Swissuni‟s approach follows the basic principles of flexibility, multidimensionality, impact orientation, stakeholder involvement, client satisfaction and constant quality improvement. The model identifies seven quality dimensions from the initial context analysis to the impact of the programme on the work performance of its graduates and on their personal and career development. The workshop discusses the strengths and weaknesses of Swissuni‟s quality development approach and explores the possibilities for dissemination and future collaboration. The participants will be introduced to the model and the quality criteria, invited to reflect over the usefulness of the approach for their own institution and asked to share their own quality concepts and practical experience. There will be a short presentation, followed by group or individual work and sufficient time for critique and discussion.

Assuring the quality of student support services

Assuring the quality of student support services by Tina Harrison, Version 2010, WGSI.4 Harrison.pdf (0.2 MB) - The workshop aims to provide an opportunity for main stakeholders in quality assurance to discuss practices in quality assurance of student support services. In recognition of the contribution of centrally provided support services (e.g. careers, counselling, information services etc.) to the quality of the total student experience, there is a need to ensure their greater integration within QA processes. The workshop objectives are threefold: to share experiences of quality assurance of student support services, to identify examples of good practice, to gather feedback on the University of Edinburgh‟s new method for the monitoring and review of student support services. Participants are encouraged to come ready to discuss the mechanisms that are (or should be) used by their institution to monitor and review student support services and to consider the effectiveness of such mechanisms in enabling the support service to reflect on its contribution to the „quality culture‟ within the institution.

The notion of training in quality assurance

The notion of training in quality assurance by Bruno Curvale, Version 2010, WGSI.3_Curvale.pdf (0.2 MB) - The growth of autonomy given to higher education institutions lead to an interplay between Ministries, higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies in which assessments and decisions have to be justified by methods and evidences. The clarification of the mechanisms by which the evaluators reach their judgements is crucial for the recognition by all of the legitimacy of the decisions that follow from these assessments. This workshop should be of interest for practitioners in quality assurance in higher education and more generally for everyone interested in the design of quality assurance systems (programmes and governance) in higher education (academics, managers and staff of internal quality assurance units in higher education institutions, managers and staff of quality assurance agencies, evaluators, experts…). The aim of the workshop is to contribute to the thinking about quality assurance in higher education by asking the question what the content of appropriate training in quality assurance in higher education should be. The participants will be asked to think about the core elements of quality assurance mechanisms in higher education and to work on the possible expected learning outcomes which training in quality assurance in higher education should aim at. Training in quality assurance could be thus one of the first steps towards a better mutual understanding between all the actors involved in quality assurance systems by clarifying some of the requirements of evaluation activities.

Engaging students in QA: how to use “community organising” techniques in higher education

Engaging students in QA: how to use “community organising” techniques in higher education by Lukas Bischof, Version 2010, WGSI.2 Bischof.pdf (8.4 MB) - The workshop provides a hands-on example of how bottom-up approaches may be used successfully in higher education to engage students in quality work. The concept and phases of “Community Organising” are presented. Tools for creating and maintaining commitment will be discussed and a successfully implemented project from the University of Freiburg (Germany) will be presented. Participants are invited to share experiences and discuss possible implications and applications for their own institutions.

LanQua

LanQua by Alison Dickens, Version 2010, WGSI.1Dickens.pdf (0.3 MB) - This workshop will present the LanQua Toolkit for Quality Assurance and Enhancement designed to support a practice-led approach to quality which is contextualised in the everyday (good) practice of teachers/trainers working in higher education. It takes a bottom-up, enhancement approach to quality assurance providing tools to support subject practitioners in developing and articulating quality in practice. Participants will explore their own and each others‟ experiences and understanding of quality; be introduced to the key concepts and tools in the LanQua Toolkit (the LanQua Quality Model, Frame of Reference and Case Studies); and work collaboratively to develop messages articulating quality outcomes from practice to a range of stakeholder audiences. Examples given will be discipline-specific, from the field of languages, to illustrate how practitioner „buy-in‟ to the quality agenda can be fostered through a focus on subject content and teaching.

15 Years of Quality Assurance: Lessons learnt

15 Years of Quality Assurance: Lessons learnt by Andrée Sursock, Version 2010, Plenary IV_Andree Sursock.pdf (0.4 MB)

Quality Assurance Processes in European HEIs

Quality Assurance Processes in European HEIs by Tia Loukkola, Version 2010, Plenary II_Tia Loukkola.pdf (0.4 MB)

An evaluation of the quality (assurance) evaluation. Case study: the University of Bucharest

An evaluation of the quality (assurance) evaluation. Case study: the University of Bucharest by Sorin Costreie, Rodica Ianole, Raduca Dinescu, Version 2010, WGSIII.12_Papers_Costreie+Ianole+Dinescu.pdf (0.2 MB) - Quality still defies a precise definition. The result is a lack of effectiveness and a general misunderstanding of the role of quality assurance in higher education, especially when considered in an international setting. On the other hand, this may offer diversity and creativeness in an area hemmed by rigid regulations and strict standards to the point that this may be the core issue that allows us to build bridges between different approaches. Our paper aims to be a systematic reflection on the main concepts concerning quality assurance processes, starting with quality itself. A national quality assurance evaluation of the University of Bucharest (UB) is the reference framework of our discussion, strengthening the arguments with real examples and providing further food for thought. Our approach starts with a minute analysis of the concepts and tries to see how far one may go to encompass the realities of higher education institutions.

Academic staff evaluation at the Instituto Superior Tecnico

Academic staff evaluation at the Instituto Superior Tecnico by Pedro Lourtie, Version 2010, WGSIII.11_Papers_Lourtie.pdf (0.4 MB) - A recent Portuguese law requires public higher education institutions to evaluate their academic staff at least once every three years and establishes the principles according to which the regulations are approved by each institution. Staff member evaluation aims at shaping individual staff member activity and is an instrument to regulate their career. Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), the faculty of engineering of the Technical University of Lisbon, has opted to develop an elaborate process, described in the present paper, based on a multiple criteria approach. The procedure has a significant degree of freedom in order to be aligned with the institutional mission and goals and to consider the breadth of the activity of the members of the academic staff. On the other hand, its complexity and the very degree of freedom may hinder its readability and, as a consequence, its effectiveness.

Revising the learning outcomes debate in the context of student self- assessment of receptive and productive skills

Revising the learning outcomes debate in the context of student self- assessment of receptive and productive skills by Bozana Knezevic, Version 2010, WGSIII.10_Ppaers_Knezevic.pdf (0.3 MB) - This paper contextualises the learning outcomes debate and presents results of a study of students’ perceptions of what they have learned after the completion of the course. It is about student self-assessment of subject-specific skills and competences, one dimension of the many learning outcomes a higher education institution gives rise to. The results indicate that a great number of respondents perceive themselves to be prepared, competent, and confident users of English. While, in their perception, they are most confident about understanding the general meaning of a text and about asking questions, they are less confident about writing a short essay, about grammar and the use of tenses. The results of the study also show that the two measures of learning outcomes (self-assessment and objective final exam grades) are not complementary. The issue surrounding learning outcomes and whether there are implications for reforming the course programme and methods of assessment are also discussed.

Can we make the bureaucracy of monitoring the quality of a university’s learning and teaching more acceptable?

Can we make the bureaucracy of monitoring the quality of a university's learning and teaching more acceptable? by Kath Hodgson, Version 2010, WGSIII.9_Papers_Hodgson.pdf (0.7 MB) - There has been, and remains, much criticism of the monitoring of the quality of universities’ learning and teaching, largely on the grounds that it is essentially a bureaucratic exercise involving the collection of data that does little, if anything, to help in improving or enhancing the learning and teaching. While recognising the force of this criticism, monitoring of quality does not have to be bureaucratic, it provides valuable national and international benchmarking which can be related to enhancement if incorporated into a university’s own procedures. This case study highlights one institution’s attempt to reduce the apparent bureaucracy of a major aspect of its quality assurance procedures whilst emphasising the benefits of professional quality officers and academic staff working together.

Quality Culture in higher education: from theory to practice

Quality Culture in higher education: from theory to practice by Dries Berings, Zjef Beerten, Veerle Hulpiau, Piet Verhesschen, Version 2010, WGSIII.8_Papers_Berings+Beerten+Hulpiau+Verhesschen.pdf (0.3 MB) - In this paper we elaborate a conceptual framework as well as an instrument for reflection and research on quality culture. We illustrate this dialectical approach sustained by a survey in two cases.

Programme reviews in a newly merged institution

Programme reviews in a newly merged institution by Heyster Geyser, Ina Pretorius, Version 2010, WGSIII.7_Papers_Geyser+Pretorius.pdf (0.1 MB) - The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the value and effect of the institutional programme reviews (PRs) conducted within the University of Johannesburg (UJ) after the merger in 2005. Data were collected by means of individual interviews with UJ staff members directly involved in the PRs at faculty and institutional levels. The analysis of the data leads to the identification of three main categories, i.e. the establishment of a QM system, awareness of QA matters and the PR process itself. The conclusions focus on institutional transformation and lessons learned from the PR process. The challenge of conducting programme reviews in the absence of a QM system underpins the conclusions and the recommendations.

A framework for QA at the Business Unit of Pforzheim University

A framework for QA at the Business Unit of Pforzheim University by Karl-Heinz Rau, Nadja Legrum-Khaled, Version 2010, WGSIII.6_Papers_Rau+Legrum-Khaled.pdf (0.4 MB) - Quality assurance has to be an integral part of the activities at an academic institution. Systematic approaches and processes ensure continuous improvement. This means that faculty involvement and commitment is crucial for sustainable success. At our institution quality management provides guidance for all the strategic and operational decisions. We align our quality assurance and quality development with world leading standards (AACSB, 2010). Quality management is an effective measure to build confidence for education as a kind of credence good (Kortendieck, 2008, 19; Dill/Soo 2004). We started with this approach about four years ago. We developed a well structured framework and some components are already implemented. So we have already some experience but we are still in a complex learning process. Sometimes we are faced with the question if a formal quality management is compatible with the self conception of an academic institution (Nickel 2007, 19). Basically we are convinced that quality benefits!

University governance and quality assurance: what is at stake?

University governance and quality assurance: what is at stake? by Fabrice Hénard, Alexander Mitterle, Version 2010, WGSIII.5_Papers_Henard+Mitterle.pdf (0.3 MB) - The growing institutional autonomy and the expansion of university missions have often been accompanied by the emergence of governance guidelines. In parallel, most countries have created national or regional quality assurance systems and prepared codes or principles that encompass institutional governance. Governance and quality issues are intertwined. The presentation derives from an examination of a selection of nation- or region-wide governance arrangements and quality assurance guides, codes and sets of principles designed by ministries, founding authorities, quality assurance agencies, rectors’ conferences and associations of institutions. The presentation shows the various types and purposes of governance arrangements, and underscores the binding nature of quality assurance guidelines while most governance arrangements are advisory in nature. It will discuss the opportunity to define appropriate guidance for institutions at a time of increasing institutional autonomy and development of quality assurance frameworks.

Promoting quality enhancement through joint evaluation. A case study of the implementation of the second cycle in three Swedish universities with a view to quality enhancement and benchmarking

Promoting quality enhancement through joint evaluation. A case study of the implementation of the second cycle in three Swedish universities with a view to quality enhancement and benchmarking by Hanne Smidt, U. Dalnäs, Kristina Josefson, Maivor Sjölund, Version 2010, WGSIII.4_Papers_Smidt+Dalnas+Josefson+Sjolund.pdf (0.3 MB) - Developing internal quality assurance has been high on the agenda of European higher education policy in the past ten years, but it has mainly been developed with a focus on processes in individual institutions. ”The Swedish Master Project” has enlarged the scope of internal quality assurance in a unique collaboration between Gothenburg, Lund and Uppsala universities to initiate jointly comparative internal quality assurance. The paper will discuss the challenges encountered and the benefits of the co-operation in the area of joint internal quality assurance, especially the introduction of new degrees. The presentation will particularly address questions related to: The collection and use of key figures and the problems that they raise, especially when used for benchmarking; The challenges and benefits of joint institutional collaboration in internal quality assurance.

The Docentia programme: an example of the development of practices in mutual recognition. Collaboration between QA agencies in Spain

The Docentia programme: an example of the development of practices in mutual recognition. Collaboration between QA agencies in Spain by Elvira Juarez Casalengua, Sonia Martin Cerro, Isabel Belmonte Otero, Version 2010, WGSIII.3_Papers_Juarez Casalengua et al..pdf (0.3 MB) - The development of quality assurance methods in the sphere of higher education is already widespread at both the European and international levels, along with the sharing of experience and information between the quality assurance agencies, which are responsible for implementing these methods. Given a framework of collaboration between QA agencies, the next step is the design and setting in motion of QA procedures that involve the participation of different agencies, with the purpose being the mutual recognition of quality assurance processes and decisions. The objective of this paper is to present the DOCENTIA Teaching Assessment Programme in Spain, which is an example of collaboration between the twelve existing QA agencies in the higher education system in Spain and of their combined work, with a description of how the international guidelines defined in the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA (ESG), INQAAHE and the ECA’s Code of Good Practice have been applied in good practice in mutual recognition as regards results and processes. The paper also gives examples of good practice, seen through the actual implementation of mutual recognition, which can be transferred to other contexts (national and international) in which different QA agencies are involved.

Beyond processes: the role/contribution of a QA agency in developing national policy and standards

Beyond processes: the role/contribution of a QA agency in developing national policy and standards by Anthony McClaran, Version 2010, WGSIII.2_Papers_McClaran.pdf (0.1 MB) - The role of quality assurance agencies varies widely across the globe, but we all have at least one thing in common – processes to assure academic quality and standards. The nature of those processes and their embodiment may differ, but we are all working towards a common goal. But how many of us go beyond the processes? QAA has always had a remit beyond audit and review, but the UK’s current political and economic situation has created an unprecedented opportunity to influence the development of national policies and standards. We were already doing this at the international level – QAA has long had a role advising the UK Government – but steps to influence the development of domestic policy have been, by necessity, slightly more tentative. I hope to share our experiences with you and highlight three critical factors: independence, the balance of assurance vs enhancement, and the importance of good facilitation.

Students’ participation in the assessment of Portuguese higher education institutions: a contribution to its definition

Students’ participation in the assessment of Portuguese higher education institutions: a contribution to its definition by Sonia Cardoso, Sérgio Machado dos Santos, Alberto Amaral, Version 2010, WGSIII.1_Papers_Cardoso+Machado dos Santos+Amaral.pdf (0.2 MB) - In 2007, during the second phase of the history of Portuguese quality assurance, a new system was established along with a new body responsible for its coordination – the Higher Education Assessment and Accreditation Agency (A3ES). As the new system’s legal framework, although assuring students’ participation, does not specify objectively its several dimensions and ‘functional’ contents, A3ES decided to conduct a study on this subject. The aim was to produce an analysis which, based on examples and good practice verified at the European level, would enable the discussion and the proposal of a model for Portuguese student participation in higher education assessment. This paper presents the main features of this model.

A quality review of research activities conducted at University College Cork

A quality review of research activities conducted at University College Cork by Norma Ryan, WGSII.12_Papers_Ryan.pdf (0.2 MB) - This paper describes an approach taken to conduct of an institutional quality review of research activity carried out by University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, in 2008/09. The review was novel and innovative and no other Irish higher education institution has conducted such a review. The criteria and procedures for the conduct of the review were developed using a collegial approach and with engagement of the academic and research communities in the University and was based on examination of international practice for these types of review. The paper describes the methodology used in development of the metrics which were used and the procedures, together with the outcomes of the review, including the report and its publication, and includes a brief discussion of the issues and questions that arose before, during and after the process.

Principles and recommendations regarding learning outcomes in accreditation procedures. A shared vision

Principles and recommendations regarding learning outcomes in accreditation procedures. A shared vision by Axel Aerden, Gemma Rauret, Maria Becerro, Guy Aelterman, Herwig Patscheider, Inge Enroth, Laura Beccari, Marie-Jo Goedert, Mieczyslaw Socha, Version 2010, WGSII.9_Papers_Aerden et al..pdf (0.2 MB) - The Principles and Recommendations regarding learning outcomes in accreditation procedures have been developed by working group 4 of the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA) to provide a source of assistance and guidance in the area of Learning Outcomes to accreditation organisations undertaking external quality assurance. These Principles and Recommendations represent a shared vision of 16 quality assurance agencies that aim at contributing to the further development and improvement in the use of learning outcomes.

Bridging the loop, introducing professionalisation in Greek higher education management and beyond

Bridging the loop, introducing professionalisation in Greek higher education management and beyond by Antigoni Papadimitriou, Version 2010, WGSII.8_Papers_Papadimitriou.pdf (0.5 MB) - In this paper the author provides specific practices associated with normative isomorphism and discuss issues to improve professionalisation in higher education management with the hope that universities will adopt and fully implement quality management for performance improvement. The author suggests developing a research unit for institutional research (IR) and by identifying specific areas for management training and development to stimulate innovations, which could bridge the loop in the P-D-C-A (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle in Greek universities and beyond. In developing IR, the author chose a broad spectrum of opinion through interviews with scholars from various countries in the EU and US; advantages and challenges associated with IR are discussed. The proposed professionalism—the development of IR and training—may have broader relevance not only for Greek higher education as it attempts to redefine itself in the European Higher Education Area, but also in other countries of South-eastern Europe that are confronted with similar challenges.

Twenty years of trying to make sense of QA: the misalignment of QA with institutional quality frameworks and quality culture

Twenty years of trying to make sense of QA: the misalignment of QA with institutional quality frameworks and quality culture by Lee Harvey, Version 2010, WGSII.7_Papers_Harvey.pdf (0.2 MB) - This paper critiques two decades of the quality assurance movement in higher education, based on 400 articles published in the international journal Quality in Higher Education. It reveals, first, that there has been little theorising of quality and of quality assurance. Second, that quality as applied to higher education is not necessarily coincident with the operation of quality assurance processes. Third, there has been considerable confusion of the notions of ‗quality‘, ‗standards‘ and ‗quality standards‘. Fourth, quality assurance is notable for a lack of trust. Fifth, there is a preoccupation with expensive bureaucratic procedures albeit they have ensured a degree of transparency. Sixth, there has been a general failure to align quality assurance processes with the improvement of student learning. These conclusions reflect the disinclination of quality assurance to confront the nature of student learning. In short, quality assurance has failed to align quality culture with academic culture.

Crossing borders in quality management. Practical implications for the internationalisation of teaching and learning at Saarland University

Crossing borders in quality management. Practical implications for the internationalisation of teaching and learning at Saarland University by Sonja Schwarz, Katrin Vogel, Version 2010, WGSII.6_Papers_Schwarz_Vogel.pdf (0.2 MB) - As a university with a clearly international profile, Saarland University‘s quality management system in teaching and learning is not confined to national aspects. Internationalisation itself is considered as a key quality criterion and therefore plays an important part throughout the four elements of the quality management system: (i) the quality checks carried out whenever a study programme is introduced or revised, (ii) the support structures to enhance the quality of studies, (iii) the monitoring instruments and (iv) the university‘s incentive system. Thus, the first major success could be achieved in the field of recognition of studies abroad. Yet the European cross-border dimension of quality assurance still has to be extended, so Saarland University has recently launched the project ―University of the Greater Region‖, a common cross-border area of higher education consisting of seven partner universities in four countries.

Quality Assurance System to monitor the teaching and learning process at the University of Aveiro

Quality Assurance System to monitor the teaching and learning process at the University of Aveiro by Isabel Huet, Alberto Rafael, Nilza Costa, José Manuel Oliveira, Version 2010, WGSII.5_Papers_Huet et al..pdf (0.3 MB) - At the University of Aveiro (UA), in Portugal, institutional initiatives are being undertaken so that high levels of quality teaching and learning are achieved. This paper presents (a) the design of an evaluation model for quality assurance of teaching and learning and (b) the results of its application in a pilot study that ran in 2008/09 at the Departments of Electronics and Telecommunications, and Physics, of the UA. The Quality Assurance System (QAS) to monitor the process of teaching and learning at the UA emerges as extremely important, not only to regulate the teaching and learning process, following the quality assurance orientations at a national and international level, but also to reflect and share teaching practices that enhance the whole academic experience, from the perspectives of students, teachers, and researchers. The authors explore the design of the model and some findings of the pilot study, more specifically the identification of problematic and good practice situations identified by the students‘ survey and reports.

Systems, innovation and teamwork as a basis for TQM. Shared ownership to regenerate and IMPROVE

Systems, innovation and teamwork as a basis for TQM. Shared ownership to regenerate and IMPROVE by Paul Garré, Hilde Sels, Version 2010, WGSII.4_Papers_Garre&Sels.pdf (0.5 MB) - In response to the changing quality culture in higher education two quality networks in Flanders decided to join expertise in order to design a new tool for quality improvement. Based on the nine criteria of the EFQM-model and using mind mapping as a vehicle, the tool was to be lean, easy to use, non-prescriptive and flexible. After two years work the new tool, Improve, was tested and ready for use in June 2010. The test cases demonstrated underpinned the versatility of the tool. Tests were performed with a board of directors, services, programmes... using several methods. Implementation of the tool was generally considered to be a success. However the non-prescriptive character of Improve begs the question of whether quality culture in higher education is mature enough to use Improve in a meaningful way.

Partners or counterparts? Student involvement in management and QA at Lund University

Partners or counterparts? Student involvement in management and QA at Lund University by Christian Strahlman, Version 2010, WGSII.3_Papers_Strahlman.pdf (0.2 MB) - There is an increasing demand from students and their organisations all over Europe for involvement in quality assurance. To meet this demand, some higher education institutions have involved student representatives as partners in their institutional management. Swedish legislation entitles students to representation in all decision-making and preparatory bodies. At Lund University this has evolved into a student partnership-model where student representatives have full insight as equal partners in university management. The model has proven successful and the student participation is widely appreciated by university executives. It has increased the transparency in university policy-making. It has changed the role of student representatives as the university demands a higher level of accountability from the student unions, which however also has the unfortunate side-effect of distancing student representatives from the students as they become a integral part of university management. This paper discusses the implications of a partnership-model and need for further development.

Developing a „Cantus Firmus‟ in European QA by building bridges between national contexts and subject-specific European-level initiatives. Observations and experiences from the field of music

Developing a „Cantus Firmus‟ in European QA by building bridges between national contexts and subject-specific European-level initiatives. Observations and experiences from the field of music by Martin Prchal, Linda Messas, Laura Beccari, Jeremy Cox, Hubert Eiholzer, Version 2010, WGSII.2_Papers_Prchal et al..pdf (0.5 MB) - This article describes the collaboration set up between the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and various national quality assurance agencies with the aim of adding a European-level subject-specific dimension to national quality assurance and accreditation procedures in higher music education. The collaboration activities that have taken place during 2009-2010 are presented and reflected upon from various points of view (external experts, institutions, agencies), with a particular focus on the collaboration with the Swiss agency OAQ as a case study. Experiences show that, by enhancing the subject-specific and European dimension in national procedures through such collaborations, many positive effects can be gained despite some challenges that still need to be addressed. The article suggests, in line with the theme of the 5th European Quality Assurance Forum, how to make sense of quality assurance in a European context by building bridges between national contexts and subject-specific European-level initiatives.