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Report from Workshop on Quality Culture in European universities

March 01, 2012

The Final Workshop of the EUA-led project “Examining Quality Culture in Higher Education Institutions” (EQC) took place recently (15-17 February 2012) in Edinburgh, UK. Thirty quality managers from EUA member institutions from all over Europe gathered to explore the practical applicability of the project’s conclusions and outcomes, as well as to discuss challenges and good practices in developing quality cultures in institutions with different profiles.

The Workshop built on the outcomes of the two project reports, published in 2010 and 2011, which mapped quality assurance (QA) processes and structures in place within European higher education institutions (HEIs) and explored the relationship between formal QA processes and institutional quality cultures. Participants addressed questions such as: How to achieve synergy between internal QA procedures and external QA requirements? How can quality cultures support the implementation of institutional missions and profiles? How to use specific tools, such as staff development, as a means for enhancing quality?

Among participants there was an agreement that the most effective quality assurance systems are derived from and closely related to institutional strategies and priorities, whereas quality cultures need to take into account the organisational cultures within HEIs. The discussions in Edinburgh further confirmed the findings of the project reports that it is important not to rely on a single instrument in internal QA and also to ensure the “ownership” of quality by all internal stakeholders.

The conclusions of the workshop will be presented in a short report that will be published soon. The presentations from the workshop are already available for download from the project website.

The EQC project, which is supported by funding from the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, has been carried out by EUA together with its partners the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and QAA Scotland.