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EUA Newsletter 20   26 November 2010

5th European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF): Stakeholders take stock of progress in QA and the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG)

Last week’s 5th European Quality Assurance Forum for Higher Education brought together around 450 higher education stakeholders (from approximately 50 countries) to discuss the latest developments and trends in quality assurance.

Photo: Université Claude Bernard Lyon I.© Christophe BatierThis year’s edition, held at the Claude Bernard Lyon I University in France, focused on the theme “Building Bridges: making sense of QA in European, national and institutional contexts”. During the three days, the relationship and interaction between European and national policy decisions and the institutional and agency-level realities were discussed.

 

Participants also took stock of the progress made in external as well as internal quality assurance processes in past years. The forum concluded that a lot of progress has been made both in developing the processes and in creating a shared understanding among the stakeholders on what the guiding principles for quality assurance should be. Nevertheless, the speakers as well as participant interventions underlined that QA processes – both external and internal – should remain ‘a means to an end’. Quality assurance should continue as a tool used to develop the quality of institutional activities, and not become the goal itself.

 

The role of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESGs) in promoting the European dimension of quality assurance was also debated. While the ESGs clearly have structured the European QA discussion in recent years, some speakers suggested they needed to be revised. However the concluding panel discussion involving the Presidents of the E4 Group (please see below) outlined the need to evaluate how the ESGs have been implemented, for what purposes they are currently being used for and to analyse thoroughly their strengths and weaknesses with respect to the purposes identified, before revision. This is something the E4 Group will be taking forward in the coming months.

 

The Forum is organised by the E4 Group consisting of EUA, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Students' Union (ESU) and European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE); and is supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.

 

More information, including presentations from the Forum, are available on the event website.
More details about next year’s 6th Forum will be published through the EUA newsletter and website.

 

Photo: Université Claude Bernard Lyon I.© Christophe Batier

Take part in the EUA membership survey

EUA is conducting a strategic review of its services to members in order to respond better to their needs and to map a clear path for the organisation’s activities in the coming years. As part of this review, EUA has developed a short online survey to understand more clearly what members think are the most important types of activities and services EUA should focus upon, and which areas and topics they feel we should prioritise in the future.

 

The survey is not limited to one response per member institution, so EUA encourages as many staff as possible from member universities to participate in the online survey, which is available through the EUA members’ community.

 

To participate, please log in with your username and password at the top of the EUA homepage www.eua.be.

 

Please note the survey is only open to EUA members. If you have forgotten your username/password, please email EUA with your name, job title and institution and you will receive a new password.

Policy and Projects News

EUA launches new project ‘Mapping University Mobility of Staff and Students’

Increasing the rate and at the same time improving the quality of mobility is a major priority for Europe’s universities. However, comparable statistics on student and staff mobility are currently lacking at the European level. Even if such comparable data did exist, it would be extremely unlikely that they would cover all types of mobility taking place at institutional level. A new two-year project led by EUA, together with four European universities (Philipps-Universität Marburg, University of Trento, University of Oslo, and Swansea University), aims to support and complement existing data-gathering efforts by delivering qualitative data and information on institutional mobility strategies and mechanisms.
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Conference report: Supporting academic mobility and the revitalisation of higher education in Africa (Side Event of the 3rd EU-Africa Summit)

Over 100 delegates, mainly from African universities, and a selection of European higher education experts with representatives of organisations and networks, gathered in Cape Town (South Africa) this week for the joint European Commission/African Union Commission conference ‘Nyerere: Supporting academic mobility and the revitalisation of higher education in Africa’, an official side event of the upcoming Africa-EU Heads of State Summit in Tripoli next week.
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Bologna Process and Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications: is there scope for creative interaction ?

EUA recently organised a meeting in Brussels to bring together representatives from higher education, the Commission (DG MARKT) and from the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Affairs to discuss the way the Bologna Process  reforms interact (or not) with Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications.

 

A full report from the meeting can be downloaded here.

Events News

Registrations open for EUA-CDE Workshop: Mobility and Collaboration in Doctoral Education – international and inter-sectoral, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary (20-21 January 2011)

Registrations are now open for the Fourth EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) Workshop entitled ‘Mobility and Collaboration in Doctoral Education: international and inter-sectoral’ which will be hosted by Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary and will take place from 20-21 January 2011.
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General Rapporteur’s report from the EUA Annual Conference in Palermo

EUA’s Annual Conference in Palermo (20-23 October) considered the various forces pushing for institutional change and in particular for greater diversification in European higher education. The key objective was to assist institutional leaders in understanding better and in responding to the different pressures they face, in particular to focus and sharpen their specific institutional profiles. The Conference highlighted examples of strategies and practices adopted by university leaders in different contexts and designed to enhance specific institutional missions, as well as to attract and retain high quality staff, cater to diverse student profiles, and consider incentives for developing diverse research strategies and research portfolios.

 

The General Rapporteur, Andrée Sursock, has compiled a short report on the conference that can be downloaded here.

News from Brussels

Report of Expert Group on the Interim Evaluation of 7th Framework Programme published


The European Commission released this week the Interim Evaluation of the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for Research. Carried out by a group of ten international experts, the report includes a detailed assessment of the implementation of FP7 so far and presents a series of recommendations for improvements.
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European Ombudsman: helping universities solve problems with European Union administration

Many European universities frequently participate in EU funded projects and calls for tender, and therefore have direct contact with EU institutions. Universities, like associations and organisations with a registered office in the European Union have the right to complain directly to the European Ombudsman if they believe there have been cases of maladministration of such projects in the EU bodies.
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