Behind the scenes at ENQA: a glimpse into the work of the Secretariat

By the ENQA Secretariat

What is a day like at ENQA’s Secretariat office? The diversity of tasks and roles could make this question almost impossible to answer. As much of a cliché as it might be, every day is different, yet the common objective remains the same: supporting ENQA’s membership and the further development of quality assurance (QA) of higher education in Europe.

Since 2023, the Secretariat consists of nine staff members – one of whom first worked for ENQA when the association was based in Helsinki in the early 2000s! The team members come from all four corners of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), from Finland to Spain, from the UK to Moldova, and speak altogether more than ten languages. Multilingualism and multiculturalism facilitate not only a better support to ENQA’s members and affiliates, but also a more precise understanding of how higher education systems work all around Europe, not to mention a fascinating work environment, though tensions may rise during international football tournaments.

Working at European and international level and interacting with people who represent a variety of stakeholders including not only QA agencies but also academia, student bodies and public authorities brings richness to the work of a small yet diverse team. Flexibility is key to accommodating different tasks, from analysing the current trends of international higher education to coordinating the work and logistics of review teams, or even watering the ever-growing plants that will one day conquer all the office space. In this respect, the Secretariat has an open and collaborative atmosphere where everybody contributes, regardless of their position or portfolio.

That said, staff members do have specific roles and responsibilities, steered by Anna, the Director. Under the strategic direction of ENQA’s dedicated Board, she leads the external representation of the association and, together with Elena, coordinates ENQA’s policy inputs and contributions to the present and future of the Bologna Process and the ESG. Goran, Milja and Alexis are quite often found on the European roads as they constitute the Agency Reviews team, conducting 15 to 17 site visits a year between them. Masters of spreadsheets, Anaïs and Nathalie make sure that the Secretariat finances run smoothly, Julia can be credited for behind-the-scenes steering of the association’s largest events, and ENQA’s visibility beyond physical and geographical borders is ensured by Luis.

Even if diversity is a defining feature of the Secretariat, so is cohesion: whether through regular meetings to discuss and plan ENQA’s work or by sharing a coffee and complaining about Brussels’ unpredictable weather, constant communication and informal interactions are key to making sure that everyone is involved. Ultimately, it is the positive atmosphere and team spirit, combined with knowledge and experience, that drives the Secretariat to achieve what it does.


ENQA Secretariat, June 2024

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