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EUA Newsletter 16   23 September 2011

New EUA report examines “Quality Culture” in European universities

 A new report published last week examines the range of different factors and conditions that help to create a “quality culture” within Europe’s universities.

 

The report “Examining Quality Culture Part II: Processes and Tools - Participation, Ownership and Bureaucracy” is the result of EUA’s EC-supported project “Examining Quality Culture (EQC)”, which has been carried out in collaboration with the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and QAA Scotland.

 

The term “quality culture” in the title refers to the creation of a shared set of values and commitments to monitoring quality within universities. The report argues that establishing a quality culture is the most effective and meaningful way for universities to ensure that quality assurance (QA) mechanisms improve quality and support change within universities. This culture can be promoted through the creation of a space for debate and discussions about quality mechanisms and thus encourage their broad ownership. The report also stresses the need to clarify lines of responsibility and accountability in order to ensure that internal quality assurance mechanisms improve quality levels.

 

At a launch event in Brussels on the 16 September, co-organised by the Polish Presidency of the EU, report author, Andrée Sursock, presented the study findings to an audience of European HE stakeholders. Her presentation was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from universities, a student body and a QA agency.

 

“This report highlights that the vitality and sustainability of a quality culture depend upon both internal and external factors,” she explains. “It has shown that universities with effective quality cultures are generally located in an open environment which avoids over-regulation and enjoys high levels of public trust. These universities do not limit themselves to the definition of quality processes as set by their national QA agencies”.

 

The first part of the EQC study (published last year), based on a survey questionnaire, showed that universities had made remarkable progress in developing quality mechanisms. The second phase, which was based on 59 interviews with ten European universities, examined in greater depth the extent to which these mechanisms and processes have resulted in quality cultures.

 

The full report can be downloaded here.

 

More information about the EQC project is available here.

Policy and Projects News

EUA response to the EC Communication: ‘Supporting growth and jobs - an agenda for the modernisation of Europe's higher education systems’

The European Commission this week (20 September) published its Communication “Supporting growth and jobs - an agenda for the modernisation of Europe's higher education systems”. The Commission said this reform strategy aimed “to boost graduate numbers, improve teaching quality and maximise what higher education can do to help the EU economy emerge stronger from the crisis”.
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Tracking Learners’ and Graduates’ Progression Paths (TRACKIT!) project enters second phase

This month, EUA launched the second phase of its TRACKIT! project with site visits to three Belgian universities: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université catholique de Louvain and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
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Strong presence for EUA international cooperation projects at Annual EAIE Conference

Capacity building with African universities, strategic doctoral collaboration with emerging countries, EU-Latin American dialogue on harmonisation, and the effects of international ranking were all topics where EUA had a voice at the 23rd Annual EAIE Conference in Copenhagen (13-16 September).
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Update: The Bologna Process and the recognition of professional qualifications

EUA monitors European-level developments at the interface of the Bologna Process and the EC Directive (2005/36/EC) on the recognition of professional qualifications.
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Events News

DOC-CAREERS II Final Conference: ‘Promoting Collaborative Doctoral Education for Enhanced Career Opportunities’ Brussels, Belgium (30-31 January 2012)

The Final Conference of the FP7 DOC-CAREERS II project, organised by EUA, will focus on how universities work with non-university partners to establish and carry out doctoral theses and programmes. It will be held at The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB), in Brussels, on 30-31 January 2012.
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EUA-CDE Workshop Call for Papers: 'Supporting Individual Paths of Doctoral Candidates: Experience, Skills, Guidance'

The EUA Council for Doctoral Education has published a Call for Papers for the thematic workshop to be held at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 12-13 January 2012, with the title “Supporting Individual Paths of Doctoral Candidates: Experience, Skills, Guidance”.
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News from Brussels

EC launches Consultation on the European Research Area

On 13 September, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the future of the European Research Area (ERA) to gather views and evidence from stakeholders on the “key obstacles which have to be tackled to achieve a well-functioning ERA”.
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In Brief – updates on EU activities

Last week, the Eurydice Network published a new report on funding and the social dimension. To read more about this and other EU activities, please click here.

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