EUA : European University Association

EUA to publish ‘annual review’ of worldwide university rankings

Universities are increasingly confronted by a plethora of ranking and classification initiatives – both at the national and international level.

While many university leaders have reservations about rankings, their methodologies and criteria, there is a growing recognition that such initiatives are here to stay. Research has also shown that despite the acknowledged shortcomings of their criteria, rankings are having an increasing impact on decision-making and activities in universities across Europe.

This is why EUA has decided that there is need to respond on behalf of the 850 universities it represents by publishing an ‘annual review of international higher education rankings’.

The aim of this new pilot project will be to provide universities with transparent information about international rankings by critically evaluating their methodologies, assessing potential biases and suggesting improvements. The review will also help universities to develop strategies to cope with rankings, as well as encouraging alternative approaches to enhance transparency.

The annual review – due to appear for the first time in 2011 – will include a compendium of different international ranking initiatives with a thorough critique and analysis, and will be complemented by a series of critical articles by leading experts in the field. To disseminate this information and stimulate debate on the findings, EUA also plans to organise an annual rankings seminar for university leaders across Europe.

EUA Experts Conference. Towards Financially Sustainable Universities II: Diversifying Income Streams (University of Bologna, Italy, 22-23 April 2010)

EUA will organise with its partners a major Experts Conference on ‘sustainable funding’ in the framework of the EUDIS project on income diversification in European universities.

Building on the success of EUA’s first Experts Conference in 2008 which focused on full costing and accounting practices, this event will explore another crucial element of financial sustainability for universities: income diversification. This will certainly be one of the main challenges for universities in the 21st century.

The event will draw together experts from across Europe to identify the key elements necessary for financial survival in the future. University leaders, policy makers, researchers and partners from the private sector will discuss the results of EUA’s Commission-funded EUDIS project and further explore the key features and conditions for implementing successful income diversification strategies. Chaired by Ian Creagh, Head of Administration and College Secretary of King’s College London, the conference will include a comprehensive presentation of the findings of the EUDIS project and will develop in thematic workshops tailored to foster a hands-on approach to income diversification.

Registration to this event is free. To find out more and register for the conference, please visit the event website.

Call for participation: EUA project studies ‘quality culture’ in Europe’s Universities

EUA is launching a new project to examine the internal ‘quality culture’ within European universities, and how this has developed within the framework of the Bologna process reforms.

The quality of European higher education is at the heart of the Bologna Process and European governments have committed to supporting the development of quality assurance (QA) at the university, national and European level. In 2005, Education Ministers adopted the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) that had been proposed by the key stakeholder organisations. Until now there has been no specific study to look at the impact of these quality guidelines and how they have been adopted at the university level.

Together with its partners, the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and QAA Scotland, and following its Quality Culture project EUA will analyse the development of quality culture in higher education institutions (HEIs) across Europe and provide an overall picture of the internal quality assurance in place in HEIs across the 46 Bologna Process countries. It will also seek to identify and disseminate good practices that apply to internal quality assurance.

The first step of the project – supported by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme - will be based around a survey of European universities and higher education institutions, in order to capture the institutional quality assurance processes in place. EUA encourages all its members to take part in the survey before the deadline of 30 March 2010.

To find out more about the project, please visit this website.

EUA welcomes new members

During the meeting of the EUA Council in Brussels last week, the following universities were welcomed as full members of EUA.

• Kärnten University of Applied Sciences (Austria)
• Belarusian State University (Belarus)
• University of Haute-Alsace (France)
• Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (Germany)
• Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany)
• Bremen University of Applied Sciences (Germany)
• Aston University (United Kingdom)
• Ulster University (United Kingdom)
• Lutsk National Technical University (Ukraine)
• National Pedagogical Dragomanov University (Ukraine)

The Campus 02 University of Applied Sciences Graz (Austria) and Maltepe University (Turkey) have joined as individual associate members.

EUA underlines role of universities in `EU 2020´ Strategy

EUA has responded to the European Union’s consultation on its ‘2020 Strategy’, which is intended as the successor to the current Lisbon strategy.

Following the outcomes of this consultation the Commission intends to adopt a formal Communication addressed to the forthcoming Spring 2010 European Council that will include proposals for action at both national and community level.

Building on its Prague Declaration published last year, EUA has submitted a response on behalf of its 850 members to highlight the role of universities in advancing the European Knowledge Society. Stressing the need for increased investment in HE and research, EUA calls for clear investment targets to ensure the progress of all member states towards agreed objectives, and addresses a wide range of issues including the attractiveness of research careers, raising quality in universities, and pooling resources in research.

Download the full EUA response.

Reminder for Special EUA event. TRENDS 2010: The European Higher Education Area - Achievements and future challenges (University of Vienna, Austria, 11 March 2010)

Registrations are still open for the special one-day EUA event in Vienna in March to mark the launch of the next Trends report – EUA’s flagship pan-European study on the latest trends in European higher education and implementation of the Bologna Process.

Please click here to find out more and to register.

Third EUA-CDE Workshop: "Researchers' Careers - Support and Development", hosted by Ghent University, Belgium (18-19 March 2010)

The career paths of doctorate holders is a topic that is of obvious importance for both candidates and institutions offering doctoral education.

For political stakeholders that see research as the path to growth for European societies, employing researchers on the highest level is also key to larger societal developments. Institutions that offer doctoral education play a vital part whether seen from the perspective of the candidate or that of society as a whole. How can institutions provide the support needed for the increasing number of career paths that ever more doctorate holders take?

This is the underlying question of the 2010 spring workshop of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education taking place at the Ghent University. With the knowledge that the doctorate is more than the entrance ticket to an academic career and that doctorate holders are increasingly needed in society, how do institutions set up structures that improve the awareness of the numerous career choices, how do they prepare doctoral candidates for a career outside academic research and – not least – how do they communicate the value of the doctorate to potential employers?

The workshop, which is open only to members of the EUA-CDE, will be centred on a number of concrete practices from the members of the Council for Doctoral Education. To find out more about the workshop and how to register, please visit the event website.

New EUA report: Institutional Diversity in European Higher Education

The issue of institutional diversity has moved to the centre of policy discussions in Europe as it looks to ensure a competitive knowledge-based society.

EUA is pleased, therefore, to publish a new study that compares institutional diversity in five national higher education systems: England, France, Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Entitled ‘Institutional Diversity in European Higher Education: tensions and challenges for policymakers and institutional leaders’, the study, by author Sybille Reichert, analyses the complex interplay of the factors driving diversification or convergence (such as legal frameworks, funding incentives, QA procedures etc).

Download the full report in PDF format.