EUA : European University Association

New EUA report: QA must allow space for risk taking

Quality Assurance (QA) processes used in universities must allow more space for ‘risk taking and failure’ as this is essential for stimulating innovation and creativity in higher education. This is one of the recommendations of a new EUA report published this week.

The report “Improving quality, enhancing creativity: change processes in European higher education institutions” is based on a two-year EC-funded project, that EUA has carried out with partners ACQUIN (the Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute, Germany), the Higher Education Academy (UK) and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

The project (Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda - QAHECA) brought together 29 higher education institutions and QA Agencies from 18 different countries to explore what kind of quality assurance processes in teaching and learning (external and internal) can actually support creativity and innovation. In the past, there have been concerns that QA processes can actually inhibit creativity within higher education.

The new report contains seven recommendations for universities and agencies:

• QA processes must allow space for risk taking and failure, whilst at the same time enabling institutions to identify and rectify a failure when it occurs
• To ensure that quality assurance is context sensitive (e.g. taking account of different disciplines, cultures and national contexts)
• QA should be inclusive – engaging the whole university community (academics and students) and should not just be the responsibility of a ‘QA unit’
• Effective quality assurance is based on a successful partnership between agencies and institutions, which should leave space for ‘trust and self-reflection’
• Sharing QA ‘experiences’ is essential, and the authors recommend the creation of platforms for dialogue both between departments, institutions and even at European level (These platforms should not, however, be based solely on copying good practices, but stimulating critical analysis.)
• QA processes must support institutions’ capacity to change and to reach strategic goals
• Agencies and institutions need to ensure engagement of all key actors in QA processes.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

EUA Autumn Conference in Giessen: Register now for the early bird fee

EUA is pleased to announce that registration is still open for its 2009 Autumn Conference that will take place at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany from 8-10 October 2009. To benefit from the early bird reduced fee, you will need to register before 10 September 2009.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Internationalisation beyond Europe’s frontiers - Enhancing attractiveness through global partnership and cooperation’.

EUA’s Autumn Conference will bring together European university leaders and senior staff, policy makers and other stakeholders to examine different internationalisation strategies, and how to respond to the pressures to look ‘beyond European frontiers’. The meeting will also explore European universities’ relationships with partners around the globe, and examine good practice on how cooperation and dialogue may be fostered.

On Thursday 8 October there will also be a special pre-conference workshop that will address transnational higher education (TNE). The event will provide an overview on trends in TNE, and allow participants to discuss how it impacts European higher education. Please note that participation is only possible for a limited number of conference participants (no extra fee will be charged).

To find out more about the event programme and how to register, please visit the conference website.

Swedish Presidency conference underlines role of universities in the knowledge triangle

The Swedish Presidency of the EU this week organised a three-day international conference in Gothenburg on the ‘knowledge triangle shaping the future of Europe’, that was attended by stakeholders and policy makers from across Europe.

During the event, many speakers, including the EU Commissioners for both research and education, stressed the role of universities in boosting the realisation of the knowledge triangle.

EUA was actively involved in the event, with President Jean-Marc Rapp presenting the university viewpoint in the opening session. In his presentation on ‘universities integrating the European Higher Education and Research Areas’, he outlined the framework conditions required for universities to rise to this challenge. In particular he underlined the need for greater autonomy and sustainable funding, increased investment in education and research, and a more varied range of European funding instruments.

EUA Board members Margret Wintermantel and Maria Helena Nazaré also presented respectively in the sessions on ‘sustainable competences in a competitive Europe’ and the ‘changing role of universities in the knowledge triangle’.

To find out more about the conference, please visit the Swedish Presidency website

Universities Austria/EUA Council for Doctoral Education Conference: How to Assure Quality in New-Style Doctoral Studies? (Vienna, 29 October 2009)

Universities Austria and the EUA Council for Doctoral Education are organising an international conference on the theme ‘How to Assure Quality in New-Style Doctoral Studies?’ The one-day event will take place at Vienna University of Economics and Business on Thursday 29 October 2009.

Improving the quality of doctoral education in Europe has been the main objective of a number of initiatives at national and European levels in recent years. However, the special character of doctoral education can make the setting of standards for quality in doctoral education more complex and difficult compared to the first and second cycles.

The conference will focus on three questions related to the quality of doctoral education:
• What kind of internal institutional quality policies and procedures are in place in your institution?
• How do quality standards and procedures in the third cycle differ from the first and second cycles?
• What indicators do internal quality assurance procedures follow?

Please click here to find out more. You can also download the invitationdraft programme and registration form. Please note the event is open to all EUA members.

EU-Asia Higher Education Platform (EAHEP): European Higher Education Fair and Symposium (30 October – 1 November, Thailand)

Following the success of previous European Higher Education Fairs (EHEF) in Asia, the 2009 edition will take place on 31 October and 1 November 2009 in Bangkok.

EHEF Bangkok 2009 is part of a series of European dialogue and promotion events in Asian countries financed by the European Commission, under the EU-Asia Higher Education Platform. The implementation of EAHEP has been assigned to a consortium lead by EUA and includes DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and Nuffic (Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education), which is organising the EHEF Bangkok 2009.

As part of the event a Symposium will be held on the theme ‘Thailand-EU cooperation in higher education: common interests and shared commitments’. It will provide a platform for high-level dialogue between government officials, key senior managers and policy makers from Thailand, the ASEAN region and Europe, and representatives from higher education institutions and academic networks. The fourth EAHEP workshop of the platform, a closed invitation event examining developments in quality assurance in Asia and Europe, will also take place in Bangkok immediately prior to the symposium.

Please click here to find out more about the symposium programme and how to register. Registrations will close on October 14. General information about the events of the EAHEP can be found at