EUA : European University Association

Call for host - 4th European Quality Assurance Forum, November 2009

The European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) is an annual European conference on quality assurance in higher education that brings together the main stakeholders in the field - higher education institutions, quality assurance agencies, students and researchers.

Co-organised by EUA, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Students Union (ESU), and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), the event provides a unique European platform to discuss QA developments.

Following the successful first and second Forums (the third will take place on 20-22 November 2008 at Corvinus University, Budapest), EUA is currently looking for member institutions willing to host the Fourth Forum in November 2009 and would like to encourage institutions to submit a declaration of interest. Please read this document for further details.

EUA would also like to stress that the deadline for the call for papers for this year's (Third) European Quality Assurance Forum is now over. Please click here for more information.

EUA to work on the University of Strasbourg Merger in France

EUA is pleased to announce that it has been invited by the Presidents of three universities in Strasbourg, France, to offer its expertise in the ongoing merger of the three institutions, which is due to be completed in 2009.

The project to set up a single University of Strasbourg is supported by the three main universities and stakeholders ? Louis Pasteur, a scientific university; Marc Bloch, focused on humanities and the social sciences; and Robert Schuman, specialised in law.
The EUA project will include: seven consultancies on specific aspects of the merger, benchmarking, and an evaluation of the merger plan by an EUA expert team. The work will be finalised in December 2008.
Please click here to find out more details about the University of Strasbourg merger. 

Bologna Seminar focuses on pension schemes as obstacle to research mobility

Last week, the German Rectors? Conference (HRK) hosted an official Bologna-Seminar in Berlin, on the issue of National pension schemes as an obstacle to mobility for European researchers.

The seminar addressed issues of direct relevance to the European and higher education areas, as it is a crucial topic in terms of promoting mobility of all staff, both teachers and researchers, and is essential in ensuring more people take up research.
EUA Secretary General, Lesley Wilson, who chaired a session on mobility within the EU, said: "Although mobility has been a major objective in establishing the European Research and Higher Education Areas, there are still many fuzzy areas around the real obstacles to mobility and how to address them. Yet this is a key challenge to the future of the Bologna process, and one that cannot be resolved by HE ministers alone. This seminar has broken new ground by bringing together European and national level higher education representatives with managers of pension funds in the public and private sectors.?

The conference follows the publication of the report by the European Research Area (ERA) expert group on ?realising a single labour market for researchers".

EUA will seek to build awareness of these issues with the national rectors? conferences highlighting the need for action at national level.

Please click here to read the ERA expert group report.

Brussels update: Commission communication to make EU more attractive for researchers

The European Commission has also published a new communication entitled ?Better careers and more mobility: a European partnership for researchers?.

The aim of the new communication is to align and focus the efforts of individual Member States to make the EU a more attractive place for researchers, and allow researchers to be more mobile between countries, institutions, and between the academic and private sectors.

Key areas for progress outlined in the document include the opening up of recruitment, meeting the social security and pension needs of mobile researchers, providing fair employment and working conditions, and ensuring that researchers have the right training and skills. The Communication is one of five policy initiatives planned by the Commission to follow up the 2007 Green Paper "The European Research Area: New Perspectives".

Please click here to read the full document.   

EUA makes progress to link Quality Assurance and creativity

EUA?s QAHECA (Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda) project has made significant progress in developing a new quality assurance methodology focused on supporting creativity and innovation.

The methodology has been developed by 30 universities, music and art schools, and quality assurance agencies through two seminars during an EC funded project. The next step is to test the methodology to find out how effective it can be in stimulating positive change processes within institutions and agencies. Lothar Zechlin, former Rector of Duisberg Essen University and Chair of the QAHECA Project Steering Committee, explained the rationale for the project:

?If you ask people in higher education how they understand the relationship between quality assurance and creativity, many would currently place these concepts far apart on a spectrum. Yet the success of higher education institutions depends on their capacity to foster creativity and innovation, and to change and respond to societal developments. Our shared conviction in this project is that quality assurance processes ? whether internal or external ? should be focusing on creativity and innovation in order to have the most positive and effective impact. By asking more precisely what quality assurance should be doing to support creativity and innovation, we hope to produce a methodology that will bring added value to European higher education.?

The draft QAHECA methodology will now be piloted among the project participants and the experience will be drawn together for a final seminar in the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. The methodology will then be widely disseminated among EUA members and partners, and the outcomes of the project will inform future debate on European quality assurance.