• The next six months will be an important period for policy makers, the university sector and many other stakeholders engaged in Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3). With the ongoing preparations for the EU’s 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, the European Workshop on Smart Specialisation, entitled “Universities as Regional Lead Institutions”, held under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council, provided an opportunity to take stock of past achievements and identify emerging priorities for building successful European innovation ecosystems in the post-2020 period.

  • Many European universities are initiating strategic transformation programmes that either seek a step change in institutional efficiency, respond to drastic shifts in higher education policy and financing, or improve their competitive academic advantage. Key ingredients for successful strategy implementation at universities include effective institutional leadership (governance and management), coherent operating models and structures and institutional culture. Leadership provides direction and defines accountability and responsibility for strategic academic outcomes. Operating models and structures provide an institutional platform for effective and efficient delivery, and culture is an all-pervasive feature of academic life that defines the shared institutional beliefs, which shape how the university delivers its academic mission.

  • National Initiatives in Learning and Teaching in Europe

    03 Dec 2018 Report Bologna Process, Learning & Teaching

    In recent years, the enhancement of learning and teaching has become a priority, not only for higher education institutions, but also for national governments, the European Union and the Bologna Process. This report aims to map the learning and teaching landscape in 28 higher education systems and to provide insight into how teaching enhancement is organised between public authorities and higher education institutions.

  • Universities and Sustainable Development Towards the Global Goals

    03 Dec 2018 Briefing Sustainable Development Goals

    Sustainable development is crucial to the future of Europe and the entire planet. The framework of the Sustainable Development Goals ensures social cohesion, economic prosperity and protection of the environment. Education, research and innovation are essential in sustainable development, making universities key contributors to achieving the goals. EUA presents this overview about how universities facilitate social, environmental and economic development.

  • This essay is the result of the 15th Transatlantic Dialogue held in July 2018. The seminar, organised by EUA, the American Council on Education and Universities Canada, and hosted by the European University Institute in Florence, offered a timely opportunity for transatlantic comparisons and a rich dialogue among peers about the role that higher education can play in a politically disrupted world.

  • Credits: Esther Huertas Hidalgo (AQU Catalunya), Sandra Marcos (ACSUCYL ), Monika Risse Kuhn (AAQ Switzerland), Georg Seppmann (evalag)

    In recent times e-learning in different forms has been integrated in a high percentage in the study offerings of HEIs in Europe. The quality assurance of this type of provision has become a concern both for HEIs and for QAAs. Considering this and the fact that a new version of the revised ESG was published in 2015, an ENQA’s working group on quality assurance of e-learning was established. The aim of the working group was to work on a set of considerations for quality assurance of e-learning provision taking as reference the ESG 2015, examining the applicability and relevance of the ESG.

  • Credits: Cristina Sin, Orlanda Tavares, Sónia Cardoso (A3ES

    Since 2009, Portuguese higher education institutions have been developing their own internal quality assurance systems and policies as a result of the reforms of higher education quality assurance in Europe and Portugal. This paper analyses how far Portuguese universities, within the remit of their internal quality assurance systems, define and employ mechanisms and procedures in order to assess the quality of their third mission activities. The analysis was conducted on documents submitted by institutions to the Portuguese quality assurance agency (A3ES) under the institutional evaluation process.

  • Credits: Esther Huertas, Roger Roca (AQU Catalunya), Paula Ranne, Anaïs Gourdin (ENQA )

    At a time in which different forms of online education provision are growing in popularity, it is important to bring the assessment of these provisions to the same level. The vast majority of higher education institutions offering e-learning still maintain face-to-face assessment since it is still considered the most reliable way to verify students’ identity and proctor their behaviour. Nonetheless, online universities are expressing their will to implement e-assessment in order to offer a fully comprehensive online education and traditional universities are increasingly adopting online methods to their habitual procedures. Consequently, quality assurance (QA) should also develop new processes in order to guarantee the confidence in these new forms of learning and assessing.

  • Credits: Kay Taaffe, Elizabeth Noonan (University College Cork)

    Since the establishment of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA (ESG) in 2005, student involvement in quality processes has been viewed as integral and become more widely adopted across Europe (HEA, 2016). The level of student involvement and engagement can, however, vary on a continuum from students being informed (low-impact) to having decision-making roles (high-impact) (ibid.).

  • Credits: Frances Blüml, Manon Irmer, Dietlinde Kastelliz, Michael Meznik (AQ Austria)

    The external quality audit in Austria encompasses a broad range of HEIs’ activities – alongside the basic duties, they include societal objectives which are supposed to be integrated into the internal quality management system of a higher education institution. This paper looks into the relevance of societal objectives in external quality assurance (QA) practice. The findings are based on an analysis of (1) QA agencies` procedure regulations and (2) audit reports on Austrian HEIs. In the first stage, we identify aspects of societal objectives found in the procedure regulations.

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