Tag: quality assurance

Job opportunity at ENQA

enqaInterested in quality assurance in higher education and have relevant knowledge for the area?

The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) is an umbrella organisation for quality assurance agencies in Europe, with 40 members from 23 countries of the European Higher Education Area, and 49 affiliated organisations from 28 countries world wide. ENQA is currently looking for a Reviews Manager for its office in Brussels.

The key responsibilities for the position are to:

  • act as the contact person within the Secretariat for the agencies/organisations applying for membership or affiliate status;
  • coordinate the ENQA external review process and its overall follow-up;
  • coordinate individual ENQA external reviews of QA agencies;
  • coordinate the preparation of the reviewer training sessions and maintain the database of trained experts;
  • coordinate and contribute to the ENQA IQA Group’s work;
  • contribute to ENQA’s projects and reports;
  • undertake such other reasonable duties as the Director may request.

Duration: permanent contract
Start: September/October 2015
Type: Full time
Deadline for applications: 31 July 2015

Download more information about required qualifications and application procedure here (pdf)

New report from EUA on quality assurance

euaThe European University Association (EUA) has published a case study report, which in essence is a selection of papers from the 8th European Quality Assurance Forum that took place in November 2013. The publication is edited by: Dan Derricott, Helka Kekäläinen, Maria Kelo, Regitze Sparre Kristensen, Tia Loukkola, Barbara Michalk, Fernando Galán Palomares, Norma Ryan, and Bjørn Stensaker.

The European Quality Assurance Forum is organized by the E4 group (ENQA, ESU, EUA and EURASHE), in 2013 it attracted participants from 50 countries, both academics and administrators, stakeholder and agency representatives as well as researchers.

The publication includes eight chapters, written both by researchers and practitioners. Two chapters focused on specific evaluation processes (Sanchez Chaparro et al; Ullern), and a third one on the implementation of the ESG on institutional level (Westereijden and Kohoutek). Furthermore, issues related on internal quality culture development were examined (Greere and Riley; Froyen et al). Furthermore, two chapters focused on student engagement and involvement first examining the role of students in external evaluators (Zhang) and in terms of conceptualising student engagement (Harrison). Engagement was also viewed from a more professional perspective (Vettori and Loukkola).

You can read the whole publication here.

Hedda podcast: Student engagement with knowledge as a means to define quality

Episode 44 of our podcast series features Dr. Paul Ashwin from Lancaster University in the UK. In the podcast we talk about student engagement with knowledge as a key feature of quality in higher education, and he reflects on some of the key results from a three year long study on pedagogical quality and inequality in the UK.

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Click here to download the Policy makers guide (pdf) that the research team has prepared based on the project results. 

View also the publications that the podcast is referring to:

Dr. Paul Ashwin  (Lancaster University)

Dr. Paul Ashwin
(Lancaster University)

Dr. Paul Ashwin is employed as a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department at the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University in the UK. Earlier he has worked at the Institute for the Advancement of University Learning, University of Oxford and Newham College of Further Education. His key research interests are related to the relations between teaching-learning and knowledge-curriculum practices in higher education, as well as the implications of this for both policy and practice. He has also a keen interest on the methodological development of higher education studies in this area.

European Commission report on quality assurance in Europe

EUQuality assurance is one of the areas where European cooperation has advanced in a relatively significant manner over the last decade. Recently, the Commission published a new report on issues related to quality and quality assurance in Europe. The report refers to the 2009 report that put forward three main aims: to make quality assurance (QA) more transparent for users, to link it closer to the wider aims of higher education, and to further develop cross-border cooperation. 

The current report sums up the most important developments in quality assurance in Europe since 2009 with various available reports from sources such as EHEA working group, EUA, EACEA, IBAR and ESU. While progress is reported on most areas, it is also highlighted that linking quality assurance to concrete quality improvement processes and strategic work of the institutions remains a challenge. The positive impact of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) is noted, but it is also highlighted that their implementation has this far been rather uneven, and a revision process of ESG is now in process. 

The report highlights that the areas where more action is still necessary are in particular widening access, employability, internationalisation, improvement of doctoral training as well as human resource strategies. The need to shift attention to the content rather than the procedural aspects of quality assurance is highlighted in several parts of the document. Furthermore quality assurance issues are linked to mobility concerns and qualifications frameworks, perhaps a rather unsurprising linkage, considering that both of these topics have been a rather successful themes in European higher education for EU led joint cooperation.

2013 in review – Hedda podcasts and other available seminars and lectures

2013_2We continue our annual review of the yearly entries on the blog. In the first post we looked at the guest entries. In this second post we will focus on the Hedda podcast and varous other audio and video materials. Part three that will be coming up later will focus on Hedda news from 2013

Hedda podcasts in 2013

Our first podcast of 2013 was published in January and was number 37 in our series. We interviewed Dr. Don F. Westerheijden, who is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in University of Twente in Netherlands. In the podcast we discussed some developments in quality assurance in the Netherlands, after a large scale public scandal highlighting doubts over quality in a number of Dutch higher education institutions.

In episode 38 of the podcast series, we talked to Drs. Frans Kaiser and Elisabeth Epping about the U-Map project, a large project examining horizontal diversity of higher education institutions in Europe and beyond, and to develop a classification of higher education institutions. The project is currently still in demo-mode, so the podcast will provide you with background information about the project. Drs. Frans Kaiser and Elisabeth Epping both worked at the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in University of Twente in Netherlands.

In our next podcast, we talked to Professor Isa Jahnke about ICT in higher education, where we in particular focused on digital didactics and some of her recent research on working with technology in higher education. Isa Jahnke is a Professor in Interactive Media and Learning (IML) at Department of Applied Educational Science in Umeå University, Sweden.

In Focus: A government and stakeholder informal meeting – EQAR’s Third Members’ Dialogue

Melinda Szabo

Melinda Szabo (EQAR)

This guest entry is written by Melinda Szabo who works at the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education as a Project Officer since March 2013.  Melinda studied at the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, and has a Master Degree in Educational Management from the institution. Before joining EQAR, Melinda worked in the Directorate General for Presidency in the European Parliament (2012-2013) and in the Bologna Follow-Up Group Secretariat (2010-2012). Her professional experience also includes work carried out as a Quality Assurance Officer at the Centre for Quality Assurance at the Babes-Bolyai University (2008-2010) and as a student expert for national (ARACIS evaluations) and international quality assurance reviews (Institutional Evaluation Programme student expert pool).

On 17-18 October 2013, hosted by the Flemish Department of Education and Science in Ghent, the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) has organised the third edition of its Members’ Dialogue. Referring to its recent establishment [founded by the E4 Group in 2008], EQAR has been described as a jigsaw piece of a vision that cannot be realised in one go. The ‘Dialogue’ serve as a unique opportunity for EQAR to evolve and mature by creating the context for those involved in its governance, management and operation to discuss jointly and in a more informal atmosphere than in official meetings the policy development in quality assurance related to EQAR’s strategic priorities.

This edition of the Members’ Dialogue responds to the strategic goals and activities set out in the EQAR Strategic Plan 2013 – 2017 on international trust, recognition and transparency of information for quality assurance registered agencies. The format of the event included a plenary session, a Knowledge Café and three parallel session for the 50 participants attending the event.

How do students view quality in higher education? Results from a new survey by ESU

ESU-logoThe European Student Union (ESU) is a body representing over 11 million students through its 47 member organisations in 39 countries. ESU engages in debates about higher education in European policy arenas, but also engage in research projects relevant to student interests in higher education. One of such research projects is the Quest for Quality for Students project, or QUEST for short, funded by the European Commission and set to finish this autumn.

Fernando Miguel Galán Palomares, ESU’s Vice-Chairperson and main coordinator of the project said in the press release: “One of our goals throughout this project has been to raise awareness about the understanding of quality from students’ point of view.  QUEST has been able to perform a pan-European analysis on the students’ perceptions on the quality of higher education. The aim is to shed light on this field and to map interesting patterns that pave the way for further investigationThus, the findings can be taken into consideration and influence discussions on higher education, having a positive effect on it and improve its quality.”

The first results of the survey conducted in Germany, Latvia, Norway, Poland and Slovenia were published earlier this month in a report by Jens Jungblut and Martina Vukasovic. The project is focused around three key questions:

  • What is the students’ view on quality of higher education?
  • Do quality assurance mechanisms at European, national and institutional level actually enhance quality in the understanding of students?
  • What sort of information do students need to be provided to them in relation to what they perceive as quality education?

Traineeship opportunities at ENQA!

enqaTraineeship Opportunity with the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)ENQA promotes coordination and development of quality assurance in higher education in Europe.

ENQA can host trainees interested in the field of quality assurance/international higher education in its office in Brussels. The duration of the traineeship is usually 6 months (in any case not shorter than 3 months) with a specific focus on communication/editing and project management. The position will provide the trainee the opportunity to gain professional experience in an international environment.

Title: Trainee:

The mission of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) is to contribute significantly to the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of European higher education at a high level, and to act as a major driving force for the development of quality assurance across all the Bologna signatory countries.


  • contribute to the ENQA newsletter;
  • provide support in the management of projects;
  • edit publications, reports and other documents;
  • assist in updating the ENQA database and website;
  • provide support in the organisation of ENQA events.

HEIK seminar: The role of European initiatives in higher education in national policy development

We are pleased to share yet another session from the HEIK academic seminar series in the field of higher education, with both invited international speakers and members of the research group HEIK (Higher Education: Institutional dynamics and Knowledge cultures) here at the University of Oslo.

This lecture was recorded in February 2013 and features Martina Vukasovic (HEIK, UiO) who discusses the role of European initiatives in higher education in national policy development, with focus on three countries of the former Yugoslavia – Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, and covering roughly the period between the break-up of the former federal country (1990) and the proclaimed deadline for establishment of the European Higher Education Area (2010).

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Abstract for the session:

Martina Vukasovic  (HEIK, UiO)

Martina Vukasovic

The paper analyses the changes in governance and policy of QA in the three countries by tracing the shifts in (a) the rationale for quality as an issue for national policies, (b) the actors involved in quality assurance, their roles and relationships and (c) key elements of the QA approaches on the system level (regulative basis, focus on higher education institutions and/or study programmes, etc.).

The role of European initiatives in higher education is seen through three different theoretical perspectives: Europeanization of higher education focusing on the vertical dynamics, policy transfer facilitated by European initiatives focusing on the horizontal dynamics and multiple streams approach focusing on whether and how European initiatives facilitate opening of policy windows.

The paper concludes with highlighting the key similarities and differences between the three theoretical approaches and stressing the benefits of using multiple perspectives in terms of minimizing analytical blind spots.


Is your institution interested in hosting the 2014 EQAF event?

EQAFEQAF (European Quality Assurance Forum) was established in 2006, as a joint initiative by EUA, ENQA, EURASHE and ESU. Since that time it has become the premier event for quality assurance (QA) in Europe with some 400 participants from across Europe and beyond, attracting both higher education and quality assurance communities Europe wide.

The ninth European Quality Assurance Forum will take place in November 2014, and there is an opportunity for your institution to host the event. The deadline for expressions of interest to host the event is 28th of May 2013.

It is especially universities from regions that have not hosted the event previously that are encouraged to apply.

Please note that all costs related to the organisation are fully covered by the revenue it raises, and there is an expectation that the hosting institution is a member of EUA.

To receive information on the conditions in terms of hosting EQAF 2014 and the process for submitting an expression of interest, please consult the attached Call for host (pdf) or contact Ivana Juraga at ivana.juraga@eua.be