Quality procedures in European higher education: Visions for the future

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ENQA conducted a third survey of quality procedures in European higher education, which focused on good practice in external quality assurance. The project was financed by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.

Project description
A survey was conducted in order to explore the changes that were taking place in quality assurance due to the establishment of the EHEA, where new social demands and expectations were identified. These changes mainly derived from political and economic changes and due to rapid development of communication technologies. This survey was carried out to explore what kind of activities and focus areas will take place in Quality Assurance agencies in the forthcoming years, and it can be considered as a follow-up activity to two previous surveys on quality procedures:

  1. Quality Procedures in the European Higher Education Area and Beyond – Second ENQA Survey (ENQA Occasional Paper No. 14, 2008);
  2. Quality Procedures in European Higher Education – An ENQA Survey (ENQA Occasional Paper No. 5, 2003)

The project looked at:

  • Collecting features of good practice within the new priorities formulated by ENQA and following the Leuven/Louvain-la Neuve and Budapest/Vienna Communiqués of the European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education;
  • Exploring practices that are expected to be implemented by the QA agencies in the near future;
  • Mapping developed practices and their connection with the expected benefits for national and international stakeholders, and for HEIs, with the purpose of promoting technical and strategic networks among ENQA members;
  • Reporting to the European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education in their 2012 meeting about possible new steps in the field of Quality Assurance and Quality enhancement in the Higher Education sector.

The project focused on a development-oriented approach but it also aimed at providing results that could be exploited by a wider audience interested in enhancing a quality culture in the field of higher education.

Final report
A final report was delivered in February 2012 in order to be presented in the meeting of the European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education in Bucharest in April 2012. The report was expected to provide a map of future visions on quality assurance procedures for thoroughly-chosen priorities, highlighting the identified expected benefits for higher education institutions and stakeholders. At the same time, ENQA members can benefit from the list of good and developed practices for new possibilities for partnerships and networking.

Project phases and workplan
Please see the workplan for monthly activities in the project. The duration of the project was 15 months, from November 2010 until February 2012.

The project group focused on the following tasks:

  1. Preparation of a questionnaire (including guidelines and questions) (delivery date: 15.3.2011)
  2. Listing of priorities to be included as references to describe good / developed practices
  3. Data collection from chosen respondents (delivery date: 30.4.2011)
  4. Analysis phase of responses (delivery date: 31.7.2011)
  5. Elaboration of the survey report which structured according to the expected outcomes and benefits of those practices, in order to compose the statement about the visions for the future (delivery date: 30.11.2011)
  6. Creation of a web resource for agencies’ quality procedures, where good and efficient agencies quality procedures can be shared among QA professionals in Europe and beyond. The database can be updated by the agencies themselves. (delivery date: 31.12.2011)

Project management
AQU Catalunya took the lead and responsibility of the project on ENQA’s behalf. To undertake the necessary work, a Project Group was set up.

The Project Group was composed of:

  • Josep Grifoll, Head of Quality Assessment department, AQU Catalunya, member of the ENQA Board – Project leader
  • Achim Hopbach, Managing Director of the German Accreditation Council, President of ENQA
  • Helka Kekäläinen, Secretary General of FINHEEC, Vice-President of ENQA
  • Christina Rozsnyai, Programme officer for foreign affairs in HAC, Hungary, CEE Network representative
  • Todor Shopov, NEAA Bulgaria, Chair ELT Methodology Sofijski Universitet Sv. Kliment Ohridski, CEE Network representative
  • Nathalie Costes, Project Manager, ENQA Secretariat – Secretary

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