Widening Access…Dismantling Barriers…Promoting Success

Widening Access…Dismantling Barriers…Promoting Success by Dianne Willcocks, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_WILLCOCKS.pdf (0.2 MB) - For the past quarter-of-a-century (at least) in England, governments of different political persuasion have promoted the idea of educational opportunity for the many - albeit translated through widely differing policies and practices. Colleges of higher education have been a significant force in shaping debate and encouraging changes. In particular, they have embraced the idea of the student life-cycle and devised appropriate interventions at each stage of the life-cycle: pre-entry; admission; across-the-learning-process; through assessment; into employment - and, of course, re-entry for lifelong learners. In particular, colleges recognise that student success is predicated on identifying and dismantling potential blocks or barriers at each of these stages, and ensuring that they do not impede progress for the new learners in HE.
A distinctive approach to encouraging student diversity is embraced by the creators of lifelong learning networks (LLNs). The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is funding local clusters of higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs) to work together in ways that will secure real additionality for people from under-represented groups, i.e. lower social classes and/or vocational training backgrounds. The intention is to introduce flexible and realisable learner progression pathways that will add value for the individual; will support institutional ambition for widening participation, and will contribute substantially to the higher skills agenda for a particular region/sub-region. One of the key vehicles for facilitating progression within LLNs is the English Foundation degree - a flexible, level-two employer-linked award.
The workshop will explore this developing LLN agenda for promoting success for a diverse student population.

Professional Higher Education in Croatia

Professional Higher Education in Croatia by Slobodan Uzelac, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_UZELAC.pdf (0.1 MB)

Position of “New Masters” in professional and academic sectors: Drama, Music and Dance – the UK experience

Position of “New Masters” in professional and academic sectors: Drama, Music and Dance – the UK experience by Alastair Pearce, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_PEARCE.pdf (15 KB) - This workshop will reflect on the British experience of bringing performing arts disciplines into university-sector higher education, and will prompt discussion on the implications of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) on the possible continuation of this process more widely.
Britain has seen over the last decade the incorporation of several arts disciplines, including music, drama and dance, into the standard university-based framework of national qualifications with the award of bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. This transition has often taken place within small specialist institutions sometimes with international reputations for the vocational quality of their graduates and with exceptional links with the creative and cultural industries with which they work. The process was, for some, seen at the outset as potentially damaging not only to the vocational and specialist aspirations of the institutions and their graduates but also to the nation’s understanding of Higher Education as a concept.
Now that this development is largely complete it is possible to reflect on what has been gained and what, if anything, lost. Now is a good time to do this, for the possible introduction of the EQF, with its sensible emphasis on learning outcomes, could provide a useful mechanism for the appropriate placement of disciplines from qualification domains now outside higher education to those linked to or within HE.

Post 16th EURASHE Roadmap for Croatia

Post 16th EURASHE Roadmap for Croatia by Žarko Nožica, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_NOZICA_2.pdf (0.5 MB)

Postsecondary Professional Education Issues and Challenges in Croatia

Postsecondary Professional Education Issues and Challenges in Croatia by Žarko Nožica, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_NOZICA_1.pdf (8.0 MB)

Comments by the Rapporteur, Soren Norgaard

Comments by the Rapporteur, Soren Norgaard by Søren Nørgaard, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_NOERGAARD.pdf (44 KB)

Different aspects of adult education within University Centre for Vocational Studies in Split highlighting part-time students training and tailor-made courses

Different aspects of adult education within University Centre for Vocational Studies in Split highlighting part-time students training and tailor-made courses by Margita Malešević, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_MALESEVIC.pdf (0.1 MB) - Part-time students who are highly involved in LLL have proven to be highly motivated students since most of them are professionals who find it necessary to continue their education. Their aim is to either refresh and update their skills and learn of the latest developments, or to get an associate degree as a prerequisite for promotion at work. Their vocational & educational training (VET) is often employer-sponsored and to meet their needs we have offered very flexible scheduling during the day, mostly afternoons, evenings and weekends. Due to their limited free time to be dedicated to studying, the study curricula have been organized in more semesters than the corresponding program for full-time students. With Bologna process implementation some issues have arisen regarding these students.
As a higher education institution we have exceptional experiences with tailor-made courses as a part of Continuing Education Training. This means that we have provided some non-credit courses designed to meet particular needs ordered by different companies in the region. Although most tailor-made courses are short in duration, they are long in quality – and maintain the same standards of educational excellence as credit courses. Examples of different courses (English, Informatics, Electrical Engineering,…) are presented.

Quality assurance in masters education and research

Quality assurance in masters education and research by Bryan Maguire, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_MAGUIRE.pdf (55 KB) - Second-cycle, masters degrees in Ireland, as in the United Kingdom, come in two main types, usually referred to as “taught” and “research” masters. The nomenclature is somewhat misleading as both types include research and both require input from academic staff. The taught masters degree has a higher element of structured contact with a cohort of students and a more limited individual thesis. The research masters may have little or no formal group teaching and consists mainly of an individualised research programme under an academic supervisor. The research masters is a precursor to the PhD programme and very often students who begin a research masters programme switch to a doctoral programme without completing a masters thesis. Different quality assurance regimes apply to the two types of degree.

The taught masters is subject a programme accreditation, and periodic review leading to re-accreditation, in much the same way as first cycle programmes. HETAC considers each research masters to be a separate programme of study to be individually accredited. The higher education institution (HEI) makes an application with details of the proposed research programme and particularly the proposed research supervisor. This is evaluated against a set of published criteria. There is also a process of whereby fields of study within an individual HEI are approved to submit candidates. When institutions have acquired a track record in bringing learners to graduation by the research masters route, they may apply for accreditation to maintain their own research “register”, approving the individual programmes of study for themselves, rather than submitting each candidate’s application to HETAC.

HETAC’s approach to quality assurance in masters education and research has been driven by the need to balance the legitimate desire for autonomy on the part of the institutions (and the efficiencies that may derive from locally operated procedures) and the concern to maintain high standards in a transparent manner, particularly given the scepticism in some quarters about the appropriateness of undertaking research training outside of traditional universities. The quality assurance of masters and research degrees was addressed in a self-evaluation published for an international peer review of HETAC in March 2006. The complex policy was found to be warranted in the circumstances but recommended for review and possible simplification as research work outside of the universities finds more widespread acceptance.

The new dynamics in European Higher Education

The new dynamics in European Higher Education by Janja Komljenovič, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_KOMLJENOVIC.pdf (83 KB)

New Relationships between Research and Teaching

New Relationships between Research and Teaching by Bert Hoogewijs, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_HOOGEWIJS_1.pdf (63 KB) - Quite ironically, research has shown that there is little or no scientific evidence for the thesis that “Research has a beneficial effect on teaching”. Since most researchers and policymakers nevertheless continue to think and act as if it were a universal fact anyway, three main outcomes of this attitude and belief will be dissected.

One effect of this thesis is that universities see themselves as research centres first, with teaching as a derivative business. This ideology tends to cultivate secure spaces for disinterested research and to condemn ‘useful knowledge’. Taking knowledge societies into consideration, universities may be advised to contribute to social discourse and the wider public sphere – thus exchanging the closed Senate building for the open Agora square.
Second, teaching is not taken seriously without the guidance of research. It is not seen as self-contained, nor is it able to enhance itself. It must be clear however that a wide range of pedagogical approaches defined as ‘critical inquiry’ is perfectly fit to introduce research or research-like attitudes in teaching.
Third, the belief that research and teaching are the exclusive spaces to be occupied by each and every university – and by each level and discipline within that structure – leads to one-dimensional institutions. Society, however, is rather in need of a wide variety of institutions that cater for more brains and higher levels of education and schooling among a most diverse audience.

In conclusion, it would appear that new roles and spaces lie ahead for our universities - and particularly for the new universities - thus introducing new relationships between research and teaching, whereby:
• It is advisable for universities to occupy more types of spaces, notably a) pedagogical-didactical b) scholarly and c) intellectual-discursive ones.
• The scholar is seen as a bridge between research and teaching.
• ‘Critical inquiry’ methodologies can guarantee the continuation of a research culture in teaching.
• Scientific modes and content could well be certified by new types of learning, inquiring and data researching – mostly of electronic and digital nature.
• Finally, supporting research in teaching is expected to develop teaching into a self-contained discipline.

New Masters in Context

New Masters in Context by Stefanie Hofmann, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_HOFMANN.pdf (51 KB) - The presentation will highlight the major European developments in the fields of higher and vocational education. It will analyse the underlying principles as well as the respective policies forming the context for European New Masters. By presenting the different tools and instruments which have been brought forward in the trend of Europeanisation, the presentation will indicate why the New Masters are a consequent next step. As an illustration, the presentation will present some examples of practice in Europe. It will finally undertake to summarise trends and reactions which are perceived in the context of the New Masters in Europe.

The University Institutes of Technology (IUT)

The University Institutes of Technology (IUT) by Ronald Guillen, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_GUILLEN.pdf (0.2 MB)

The new dynamic in European HE – Education International: the staff perspective

The new dynamic in European HE - Education International: the staff perspective by Gaston De La Haye, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_DE LA HAYE.pdf (0.1 MB)

New Dynamics in European Higher Education

New Dynamics in European Higher Education by David Crosier, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_CROSIER.pdf (78 KB)

To link national qualification frameworks and EQF – Common principles and criteria: The French National Qualification Framework

To link national qualification frameworks and EQF - Common principles and criteria: The French National Qualification Framework by Anne-Marie Charraud, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_CHARRAUD.pdf (0.2 MB)

Quality Assurance (QA)in the European processes

Quality Assurance (QA)in the European processes by Lucien Bollaert, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_BOLLAERT.pdf (0.1 MB) - Since the Bologna follow-up conference in Berlin (September 2003) Quality Assurance and Accreditation (QA) have become hot items in Europe. Since then a quadripartite group (E4 group) has endorsed an ENQA-report on Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The report sets forward standards and guidelines both for internal QA within higher education institutions (HEIs) and for external quality assurance and accreditation, as well as for QA agencies. The most daring proposal concerning cyclical peer reviewing of QA agencies is the European Register. This report was welcomed by the ministers, who adopted the standards and guidelines, committed themselves to introducing the model of peer review of the agencies on a national basis and asked the E4 group to investigate the practicalities of implementation of a European Register.
In the meantime the ministers also adopted the Framework for Qualification of the EHEA based on learning outcomes. In this publication QA is also a most important item in order to check the learning outcomes and link with the EHEA Framework.
Out of the Copenhagen process and together with the European programme of LifeLong Learning the European Commission and experts worked out a consultation document on an overarching European Qualifications Framework (EQF). Out of this consultation the necessity of trust-building QA-principles has become clear.
The four processes mentioned above come together in the Lisbon Strategy, in which QA should play a central role in order to become the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world. One of the essential elements in this strategy should be the European belief in true and independent QA, taking into consideration also quality culture, sustainability and the social dimension, instead of marketing driven accreditation.

Mutual recognition recognition: Is my master master’s also your master master’s

Mutual recognition recognition: Is my master master’s also your master master’s by Guy Aelterman, Version 2006, EURASHE_AC_Dubrovnik_060427-28_pres_AELTERMAN.pdf (0.2 MB) - In the Bologna Declaration a number of significant objectives were formulated to reinforce and clarify the position of European Higher Education and to continue developing a strong knowledge society and economy.
In order to realize those objectives, the Bologna Declaration underlined the need to “Promote a European co-operation in quality assurance with a view to develop comparable criteria and methodologies”.
The Communiqué of the last follow up conference in Bergen was more explicit about co-operation in quality assurance, stating “We underline the importance of cooperation between nationally recognised quality assurance agencies with a view to enhancing the mutual recognition of accreditation or quality assurance decisions.”

The question is: what is the signification of ‘’mutual recognition of accreditation ‘’ and how should we take up the challenge set in the Bergen Communiqué?

The European Consortium for Accreditation (www.eca.net) intends to achieve mutual recognition of accreditation decisions in around 2007 and develop here fore a pathway and methodology. The consortium will go even farther and set up collaboration with some ENIC/NARICs in order to go to automatic recognition of qualifications.
The whole discussion about mutual recognition is a discussion of quality but also one of references and frameworks: qualification levels (bachelor or master), orientation (scientific versus professional) and domain specificity.
In the presented paper we try to develop some ideas concerning the approach of the mutual recognition problems.