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QAHECA - Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda (2007-2009)

1. Introduction

EUA and its partners ACQUIN, the Higher Education Academy and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, launched a project at the beginning of 2007: Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda (QAHECA).QAHECA aimed to explore what kind of institutional quality processes for teaching and learning, both internal and external, will support creative and innovative higher education institutions and seeks to limit the potentially problematic effects of these processes. The project built upon the institutional and quality assurance agency experience in order to address the balance between the requirements to have quality assurance processes as tools for institutional governance and external accountability and the need to ensure creativity and innovative practices in higher education. Project participants focused on the institutional capacity for change and explore how an enhancement orientation and forward-looking perspective can be incorporated into processes that are, by their very nature, to a great extent retrospective (e.g. largely based on data about past performance).

2. Project publication and key recommendations

The project publication containing the main conclusions and recommendations of the project is available here.

3. Activities and timeline

The overall project period was two years. Representatives of institutions and agencies participate in a series of three seminars, organised by the consortium. The first two seminars were dedicated to developing a draft quality methodology through a variety of activities. After the second seminar, each HEI and agency was invited to review and test the draft methodology within their own context and design an implementation plan. The third seminar will be dedicated to analysing participants’ preliminary experience with the draft methodology and their implementation plans as well as formulating recommendations for the project publication.

Dates for the seminars and other project activities:

York (UK), 10-11 April 2008: First seminar – participants worked on draft methodology

Bayreuth (Germany), 29-30 May 2008: Second seminar – participants worked on draft methodology

June 2008 – November 2008: Participants tested draft methodology at their own institution/agency and designed an implementation plan

Maynooth (Ireland), 5-6 February 2009: Third and last seminar – analysis of preliminary experience with methodology and of implementation plans, formulation of recommendations

4. Participants

The consortium invited higher education institutions (HEI) and quality assurance agencies from across Europe to apply for participation in the project. A combined total of 29 institutions and agencies were selected under a call for interest.

At the end of the testing phase each participant prepared a short report on their experiences. The reports were asked to include a presentation of one existing practice and a practice that the participant had tested during the testing phase (see further information on the testing phase in the project publication). These reports, in an unedited format are available here. Some of these reports have been included in the project publication under an edited format.

5. Contact

For questions or further information on the project, please contact Thérèse Zhang.

With the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union (Erasmus/Multilateral Projects).

The EC funds shall contribute a maximum of EUR 276.618, equivalent to 75% of the total budget.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
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Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96