EUA : European University Association

EUA Autumn Conference Report: University sector outlines emerging trends in international higher education

More than 300 university leaders and policy makers from over 40 countries around the world gathered at EUA’s Autumn conference in Giessen last week for three days of lively debate and discussion on emerging trends, challenges and strategies in international higher education.

Speaking in the final conference session, EUA President Professor Jean-Marc Rapp summarised a number of the issues that had been raised during the meeting and which covered a wide range of areas including research collaboration, transnational education, mobility, joint programmes, language and international student and staff recruitment.

These are just a selection issues raised by speakers and participants during the meeting which looked specifically at Europe’s relationship with the wider world, employing a broader definition of internationalisation:
•    Universities in the future will need to be more strategic in defining why and how they internationalise, given the demands to become internationally relevant and responsive. At the same time, it is vital that university leaders should not neglect their national, regional and European missions
•    The Bologna process outside of Europe: the know-how and instruments developed under Bologna should be used to stimulate international cooperation outside Europe but this does not mean that the process itself should simply be exported to other regions
•    Transnational education (TNE) provision: national approaches to TNE (education provision across borders) differ considerably and have a strong impact in moulding the programmes provided (see story below)
•    The importance of internationalisation for the quality of teaching and research was stressed, but many participants asked how quality can best be ensured and assessed. Quality implies trust, however this does not mean that universities only trust those who take up the same standards and programmes
•    Physical mobility is essential for an international mindset, and universities should step up efforts to make more students mobile (both incoming and outgoing students). A number of means for improving mobility were suggested during the conference including improving information provision to potential students and also the possibility of a European code of conduct on mobility issues. Participants also pointed to the need to improve vertical mobility (between degree cycles) particularly by having more flexible admission procedures (especially at the master level). There was a strong agreement that internationalisation can only succeed if international students and staff are truly integrated in the university
•    Research – focus on development cooperation: one way of avoiding brain drain and contributing to institutional capacity building is to build research capacity in a long-term partnership. This implies that all partners benefit from the relationship, as opposed to outdated donor and aid models.

Please click here to download the presentation of emerging trends and issues presented by Professor Rapp. All presentations from the conference are available on the conference website.

Conference report: Universities debate future provision of transnational higher education (TNE)

EUA organised a special pre-conference workshop as part of its main Autumn Conference that focussed on the provision of different types of transnational education (TNE) such as joint programmes (including Erasmus Mundus), branch campuses and off-shore programmes, corporate universities, and other cross-border delivery models.

The past decade has seen the rapid growth of institutions offering education outside their national borders in a wide range of forms. For example, some universities from the UK, US and Australia have sought to establish campuses in Asia and the Middle East.

The one-day workshop – which included a series of plenary sessions and smaller workshops with a variety of case studies – underlined that national approaches and funding mechanisms for TNE differ considerably across Europe (and across the world) and have a strong impact in moulding the programmes provided.

It is clear that a true “European dimension” to TNE – such as universities from several countries establishing a joint programme or campus outside Europe – has not yet emerged, but participants suggested it might if there was European-level funding.

Concerns were also raised by some speakers and partners about the danger of a growing commercialisation and “Mac-Donaldisation of higher education” and that TNE should not only be about “business opportunities and entrepreneurial risks”.

All of the presentations from the TNE workshop are available online.

EUA welcomes new members

During the meeting of the EUA Council at the Autumn Conference in Giessen, the following universities were welcomed as full members of EUA.

•    University of Corsica (France)

•    Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

•    Münster University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

•    Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

•    University of Calabria (Italy)

•    Lumsa University (Libera Università Maria Ss. Assunta- Italy)

•    Pultusk Academy of Humanities (Poland)

•    Academy of Budget & Treasury (Russia)

•    Omsk State Technical University (Russia)

•    Vinnytsia National Technical University (Ukraine)

•    Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University (Ukraine)

The University of Applied Sciences Vienna (Austria) becomes an associate member of EUA.

ERAB report: Preparing Europe for a new renaissance

The European Research Area Board (ERAB) last week published its first annual report "Preparing Europe for a New Renaissance - A Strategic View of the European Research Area".

This report by the high-level advisory group set up by the Commission to advise on the realisation of a European Research Area (ERA) seeks to outline how the European Research Area should develop by 2030.

In addition to giving a broad view of what is needed to accomplish a "Renaissance" in European research, it identifies six main areas for action:
•           the creation of a united ERA
•           the solution of our grand challenges (climate change, energy supply, ageing societies, etc.)
•           the interaction of science and society
•           the collaboration of public and private sectors in open innovation
•           the encouragement of excellence, and
•           the promotion of cohesion.

Dr John Smith, Deputy Secretary-General, who represented EUA at the launch event in Brussels on 6th October, indicated that a challenging agenda had been put forward in which Europe’s universities would play their full part. On several of the “ERA Milestones” foreseen in implementing these six actions, EUA had several project and membership activities whose results and experience could contribute valuable input, for example, on mobility of researchers and doctoral candidates, open innovation and knowledge exchange. EUA looked forward to further dialogue with ERAB in the coming months.

Please click here to view the full report.

European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) now includes 17 agencies

The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) was launched in 2008 in a move designed to improve the quality of European higher education and to promote greater student mobility.

Under the mandate of Education Ministers from the 46 countries taking part in the Bologna process, the EQAR register was established by the “E4 Group” comprising the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Students Union (ESU), the European University Association (EUA) and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE).

The EQAR aims to provide clear and objective information about trustworthy quality assurance agencies that are working in Europe. The European Register Committee has approved 8 new applications to the register bringing the total number of quality assurance agencies to 17. 

The deadline for applications to be considered at the next meeting will be 12 February 2010.  Please visit the EQAR website for more information.

Eric Froment becomes Chair of the EUA Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP)

Professor Eric Froment, international advisor to the French national agency evaluating HE and research (AERES) and former president of EUA and the University of Lyon II, has been named as the next chair of the steering committee of EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP), a programme which has evaluated more than 250 universities and higher education institutions across the world.

The Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) is an independent membership service of EUA that is based on a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a team of experienced European higher education leaders. The intention is for these ‘self’ evaluations to support the participating institutions in the continuing development of their strategic management and internal quality culture. The Programme, which is a member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), is overseen by an independent Steering Committee that selects the members of evaluation teams, provides them with training, and supports the implementation of the Programme.

Professor Froment, the founding president of EUA (2001-2005), will take up this post this month and takes over from the current Chair, Helena Nazaré (Rector, University of Aveiro, Portugal) who has overseen the IEP since 2007.

To find out more please visit the IEP website.