Shaping or sharing? QA in a value-driven EHEA

The 2022 European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) was hosted from 17 to 19 November by West University of Timisoara, Romania.

The Forum, entitled “Shaping or sharing? QA in a value-driven EHEA”, combined sessions about European policies and trends, research, and practical case examples related to the Forum theme and more generally about current developments in quality assurance.

Shared values of democratic higher education systems – such as academic freedom, institutional autonomy, student participation in governance of higher education institutions, inclusion and equity – are at the core of the EHEA. These values should consolidate and unite higher education systems and foster international cooperation and mobility, while allowing the institutions to independently develop their own goals. Recent societal challenges have emphasised the need for policy makers, higher education institutions and QA agencies to continuously discuss these values and ensure that they are upheld, protected and promoted across the EHEA.

The 2022 EQAF offered an occasion to discuss the role of QA in shaping, safeguarding and promoting shared values. The Forum addressed questions such as how to build public confidence in higher education institutions as autonomous scientific institutions that promote academic freedom, integrity and reliable evidence. It explored how equity, inclusion and student participation in governance and QA of higher education are promoted and supported. Finally, the Forum invited the audience to reflect on how to ensure value-driven international collaboration in higher education. During the Forum, paper sessions, workshops and practice presentations provided space for more in-depth exchange about research, policy initiatives and practical case examples related to the Forum theme and more generally about current developments in QA.

This year’s Forum took place on-site and provided participants with opportunities for discussions, debates and networking, also outside the formal programme. The sessions facilitated audience interaction to allow participants to gain the most from the event.

The Forum was of interest to rectors and vice-rectors responsible for quality assurance, quality assurance officers in higher education institutions, students, quality assurance agency staff and researchers working in higher education or in the quality assurance field.

For updates about EQAF please follow @EQAF and #EQAF on Twitter and/or join the LinkedIn group “European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF)”.

 

About West University of Timisoara

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With more than a 78 year-long tradition, founded in 1944 through Royal Decree, West University of Timisoara is the main higher education and research institution in Western Romania, with around 6% international students out of a total of over 15,500.

A comprehensive university, with a strong identity and a time-consolidated image, it hosts 11 faculties and a Department for Teacher Training, offering a wide range of study programmes in areas such as: Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, Educational Science, Social Work, Political Science, Philosophy, Communication Sciences, Law, Economics, Business Administration, Philology, History, Visual Arts, Design, Music, Theatre and Sports. With over 500 international partners in more than 70 countries around the world and close to a thousand incoming and outgoing mobilities yearly, our community is globally connected.

West University of Timisoara is constantly striving to develop and support an interdisciplinary and international environment for teaching and learning, while aiming to connect our research to the local, regional, national, and international ecosystems. Any study programme at WUT includes language courses, internships and courses dedicated to developing transversal skills. Additionally, we focus extensively on developing entrepreneurial curricula and enabling our students and staff’s competencies for the green and digital transition.

West University of Timisoara is part of the European University UNITA, an alliance of 10 higher education institutions in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Romania.

Multiple study programmes at Bachelor and Master level are taught in a foreign language (English, French or German), while the Visiting@WUT programme enables our faculties to welcome international renowned lecturers and researchers.

The student campus is in the heart of Timisoara, the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2023, and is an attraction and a symbol for the city’s multicultural and inclusive character.

 

About the city

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Over the centuries, Timisoara and the Banat region have flourished, fuelled by the energy and ingenuity of its citizens from all over Europe. Over 30 different cultures have lived here for generations: Romanians, Germans, Hungarians, Serbs, Croats, Italians, Spaniards, and Bulgarians.

In 1884, Timisoara was the first city in continental Europe and second in the world after New York with electric street lighting. In 1989, the sparks of the Revolution against the communist regime ignited on the streets of Timisoara. And in 2023, it will be the European Capital of Culture, sharing its aspirations with the rest of Europe.

Today, Timisoara is still a city of friendly people living together in peace, with over 40,000 students in four universities, a vibrant creative sector, and several prestigious cultural institutions. It benefits from economic development, especially in the automotive and IT&C fields.

The charm of this city, settled on the banks of the Bega River, lies in its distinct architectural character and vibrant cultural life, as well as in the impressive number of parks and public gardens. Frequently referred to as “Little Vienna”, due to its Central-European atmosphere, Timisoara is home to year-round and very diverse cultural performances, art galleries, museums, and a buzzing nightlife. Moreover, Timisoara is the only city in Europe that has three state theatres in three different languages – Romanian, German and Hungarian.

In near proximity, the Banat Mountains offers picturesque landscapes, ski resorts and various facilities for nautical, endure, cave and rural tourism. Being the 3rd economic pole of the country, with more than 310 000 inhabitants, Timisoara is a dynamic, progressive and cosmopolitan place.

 

Organisers

EQAF banner 2022EQAF New Logo CMYK

 

 

Thursday 17 November

Opening Plenary: What do values mean for QA?

  • Peter Maassen, Professor in Higher Education Studies, University of Oslo
  • Horia-Șerban Onița, Vice-president, ESU

Friday 18 November

Parallel Plenary Session I: Perspectives on QA

  • Meaningful involvement of students in QA, Cristina Ghitulica, ESQA/ARACIS, Ana Gvritishvili, Member of the Executive Committee of the European Students' Union (ESU)
  • The role of QA in supporting academic integrity, Sue Hackett, Manager, Academic Integrity Enhancement, QQI
  • Policy discussion on values and the ESGm David Crosier, Education System Analyst, Eurydice, EACEA and Øystein Lund, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education

Contributions session I

Workshop 1: Good practices in engaging students in quality assurance at the national and institutional level.

Workshop 2: Who Assures the Quality of New Programmes? You, Me, All of Us

Workshop 3: Cross-border collaboration of QA Agencies in Ukraine, Croatia and Germany: Experiences and Derived Good Practices for Building Trust and Promoting Shared Values across the EHEA

Workshop 4: Brain drain and internationalisation; can existing QA practices foster responsible internationalization and brain circulation in higher education?

Workshop 5: Boosting student engagement within a quality assurance agency

Workshop 6: Establishing and evaluating values in HE student-centred worked-based learning

Paper 1 presentation : Challenges of promoting and ensuring equity in Higher Education: a case study of the gender perspective in Catalunya

Practice Presentation 1_Mendes & Practice Presentation 1_Stephan & Practice Presentation 1_Giorgidze: The role of QA in promoting values across university alliances, academic freedom and digitalisation

Paper presentation 2: Flexible higher education for adult learners

Practice Presentation 2_Nazare & Practice Presentation 2_Snel: Developing new tools for QA: a web-based self-evaluation report format and a new portal to support decision-making

 

Contributions session II

Paper presentation 3: Listening to voices that matter: The necessity of national surveys of student engagement for governance and quality assurance of higher education

Paper presentation 4: Ensuring teaching quality in an online model: a tool to check the quality of teaching design

Paper presentation 5: “Same storm, different boats” – A Student-Led Approach to Exploring Equity of the Student Learning Experience in Scotland

Paper presentation 6: Value-Driven QA: Does it Matter in the War and Post-War Times?

Practice presentation 3_Dillia & Practice Presentation 3_OLoughlin: How to improve students participation in QA: motivating students to provide feedback and learning from the pandemic to increase diversity

Practice Presentation 4_Gaiziuniene & Practice Presentation 4_Luketic: Involving various stakeholders in QA through a new portfolio management model and an assessment tool for teachers’ performance

Practice Presentation 5_Svard & Practice Presentation 5_Trink: Empowering students and valuing their feedback to strengthen their participation in QA

 

Parallel Plenary Session II: Perspectives on QA

Trust as a fundamental principle for QA 

  • Rediet Abebe, Planning and Quality Assurance unit, Aalto University

Responsible internationalisation – the role of QA

  • Koen Verlaeckt, Secretary General of the Flemish Interuniversity Council

QA and academic freedom

  • Monika Steinel, Deputy Secretary General, EUA
  • Daniela Craciun, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies 

Saturday 19 November

Workshop 7: Societal-Democratic Participation in Higher Education from a Quality Assurance Perspective

Workshop 8: Listen, talk and team-up: Effective communication in EQA

Workshop 9: Students as co-creators of quality culture

Workshop 10: Actionable values: shaping the engaged university of the future

Workshop 11: Exploring the relationship between quality assurance and dynamic (self) regulation: a partnership approach to the regulation of academic integrity in Ireland

Workshop 12: Student participation in the national QA processes. Engagement and procedures

Paper presentation 7: Measuring the degree of commitment to the SDGs/Agenda 2030: the ALCAEUS Programme.

Paper presentation 8: Student Partnership at the Heart – Quality Assurance and Enhancement in Scotland

Practice presentations 6: Ensuring quality of research and teaching: be clear about ties with commerce and politics

Practice presentations 7 De Groote & Mroczkowski: Engaging students in internal QA: reflection groups, committees, and the work of the doctoral candidates’ union in Poland

 

Closing Plenary: Student participation as a safeguard for value-driven higher education

  • Manja Klemenčič, Associate Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Harvard University

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