EUA : European University Association

Bologna Beyond 2010: Seminar discussions focus on the future of the Bologna process

Higher education stakeholders from around the world gathered in Ghent, Belgium this week for an official seminar on the future of the Bologna process entitled “Bologna 2020, unlocking Europe’s potential – contributing to a better world.”

The seminar discussions mark the beginning of an important phase in the Bologna process of higher education reforms, as key stakeholders (including universities, students and governments) begin the process of deciding what should happen post 2010 – the date the original process is supposed to end with the creation of the European Higher Education Area.

This week’s event in Ghent included the presentation of a series of essays on the future of Bologna from leading higher education researchers, and the results of a stakeholders’ consultation on this issue presented by Minister François Biltgen from Luxembourg.

EUA was actively involved in Ghent, taking part in the plenary and panel debates and diverse working groups. The discussions and outcomes of the conference will now feed through to the next meeting of the Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG) that will take place in Sarajevo at the end of June.

The BFUG discussions will focus on a series of crucial issues: what the process has achieved so far and what remains to be completed; the main challenges facing European higher education post 2010; and what framework is required to respond to these challenges?

EUA will be actively involved in this decision making process in the run up to the April 2009 Ministerial Conference in Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), both through its participation in the BFUG, but also by feeding in the outcomes of a special EUA Council meeting in July that will focus on the future of the Bologna process.

Please click here to view the presentations from the Ghent Bologna Seminar.

New report: What US higher education can learn from a decade of European Reconstruction

The Institute for Higher Education Policy in the US has this week published a revealing new report on the Bologna process entitled “The Bologna Club: What US higher education can learn from a decade of European reconstruction.”

Published in the same week higher education experts were debating the future of the Bologna process (please see story above), the new report underlines that the achievements of the Bologna process should not be taken lightly in the US. “While still a work in progress, parts of the Bologna process have been imitated in Latin America, Australia and North Africa," the report notes. "The core features of the Bologna process have sufficient momentum to become the dominant global higher education model within the next two decades. We had better listen up.”

The report, which urges stakeholders in the US to learn from the experience of Europe, makes a series of concrete recommendations for change across the US higher education system, all of them based on a student centred approach. These include:

  • Developing detailed and public degree qualification frameworks;
  • Revising the reference points of the credit system;
  • Expanding dual admission alliances between community colleges and 'four year' institutions;
  • Developing a distinctive version of a diploma supplement.

Please click here to read the full report.

Preview: Launch Conference for the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE)

More than 250 experts in doctoral education from across Europe will gather next month at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland for the launch conference of the new EUA Council for Doctoral Education (1-3 June 2008).

The positive response to this conference highlights the high level of interest in this new membership service and a desire from higher education institutions across Europe to develop and intensify dialogue on the reform of doctoral education.
The EUA-CDE conference will be focused around five plenaries and a working group session enabling all participants to discuss and play an active role in establishing the future work of EUA-CDE. The plenaries will include: an introduction to the EUA-CDE; a presentation from the President of the European Research Council, Fotis Kafatos; case studies of successful new practices in doctoral education from Belgium, Germany and Italy; and a panel session focussing on the role of European doctoral education in the global context.
Please click here to find out more about the EUA-CDE conference.
Find out how to join the EUA-CDE (this service is open to non-EUA members).

Around Europe: EUA evaluation of the Swiss Rectors’ Conference Bologna Unit

EUA was invited by the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS) to undertake an evaluation of the work of its Bologna/ECTS Coordination Unit.

The evaluation which has now been published by the CRUS shows that the Bologna Unit - which coordinates the implementation of Bologna in universities - has done an excellent job in Switzerland. EUA’s evaluation team underlined the ‘person oriented’ work of the unit, and how well known the staff were across Swiss universities. “The work of the unit has clearly brought increased visibility and credibility to the CRUS, no doubt facilitating a number of other developments in the work of the organisation,” the report highlights.

Looking to the future, however, the report highlights a number of areas where progress can be made. These include: improving student participation in the decision making process; making sure that deans are fully aware of Bologna issues; and raising the debate on issues such as employability of graduates (notably after the bachelor cycle), and linking curriculum reforms to learning outcomes and lifelong learning challenges. Please click here to read the full report on the CRUS website.

The CRUS has also launched a new electronic newsletter that will be published six times a year (in French and German) and cover a wide range of issues. Please visit the CRUS website to see the launch issue.

EUA welcomes suggestions of interesting national higher education stories from its collective and individual members for its ‘around Europe’ column. If you have any suggestions or further questions, please contact EUA reserves the right to refuse or edit the submitted news items.