Broadening the scope of QA

Credits: ©2014 BOANET.AT

The 13th European Quality Assurance Forum focused on how institutions and quality assurance agencies can build systems that encompass a broad range of activities, including learning and teaching, research, governance and administration, and service to society. 

As a tool for supporting the quality of higher education, quality assurance (QA) has in many European higher education systems focused largely on learning and teaching. However, as underlined in the introduction to the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the EHEA (ESG), higher education institutions should have QA policies and processes that cover other institutional activities, and in parallel, external QA is increasingly looking into these policies. This edition of EQAF will explore how institutions and QA agencies can build QA systems that encompass a broad range of activities, including learning and teaching, research, governance and administration, and service to society.

Through a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, the 2018 EQAF, entitled ‘Broadening the scope of QA’,  combined presentations of current developments in QA with discussions on research, policy and practice that took place in paper sessions and workshops.

Each year EQAF provided a platform for discussion, professional development and exchange of experiences among the main stakeholders in QA. Specifically, the Forum was of interest to rectors and vice-rectors responsible for QA, QA officers in higher education institutions, students, QA agency staff and researchers working on higher education or the QA field.

For updates follow @EQAF on Twitter.

Consult the full papers, or have a look at more photos of the forum.

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About WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business)

The institution that would later become today’s WU was founded over 100 years ago on 1 October 1898. Now WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business) is a modern public university committed to excellence in research and research-led teaching.

The mission WU has defined for itself goes well beyond providing a high-qualityCampus2 education for the university’s over 22,000 students. WU’s roughly 2,100 employees are working continuously to further improve teaching and research quality and campus life in all relevant areas. One of the goals WU has set itself is to achieve and maintain a place among the worlds’ leading institutions of higher education. WU is working to strengthen its global profile by offering a range of English-taught Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes and by emphasising internationalisation in its research activities. WU’s triple accreditation by EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA – the three foremost international accreditations for business and economics universities – is a testimonial of WU’s high quality standards. WU’s excellent international reputation is reflected in its student population: roughly one in four students on campus has come to study at WU from abroad.

WU’s campus, which was officially opened in 2013, is located in Vienna’s second district and consists of six building complexes. Campus WU boasts modern auditoriums with state-of-the-art equipment, Austria’s largest business and economics library, plenty of workstations for independent study, and generously sized PC labs. The buildings on Campus WU take up a total built-up area of 35,000 m². Apart from its impressive architecture, Campus WU also boasts a range of attractive publicly accessible grounds that encourage students, staff, and visitors to explore the area and enjoy its unique atmosphere. Campus WU provides meeting places, event locations as well as open spaces – a completely new neighborhood within Vienna’s second district has emerged.

Photo ©2014 BOANET.AT

About AQ Austria

The Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria) is the national independent quality assurance agency for the Austrian higher education system. It was founded in 2011 by a merger of three former existing Austrian agencies.

According to its legal mandate, AQ Austria is responsible for the accreditation of higher education institutions and their programmes (private universities and universities of applied sciences), audits of the internal quality management systems (public universities and universities of applied sciences) consultancy to HEI and thematic analyses.

AQ Austria has a strong international profile and performs quality assurance activities also outside the country, notably in the German speaking countries and Southeast and Eastern Europe. Being member of ENQA and also EUA and EURASHE, the agency participates actively in international projects in order to develop quality assurance approaches further.


Hosted by





© Pascal Riesinger/PhotoArt

  • Special sessions on 15 November

    12:00 - 15:00
    Meeting for student experts in QA

    The European Students’ Union (ESU) and Österreichische Hochschülerinnen- und Hochschülerschaft (ÖH)  invite all student participants of EQAF to a special session to exchange their expertise and discuss the Forum topics from the students’ perspective. Participants are requested to register separately and in advance for this free session. Further details and registration information are available here.

    13:00 - 16:00
    Incoming Cross-Border Higher Education: The case of Austria

    EQAF participants are welcome to attend this special session organised by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and AQ Austria. Please note that places are limited. Participants are requested to register separately and in advance for this free session. Further details and registration information are available here.

  • Pre-forum meetings on 15 November

    15:30 - 16:30
    Introduction to the European quality assurance framework

    A pre-forum session providing an introduction to the quality assurance framework of the European Higher Education Area. Participants are requested to registered in advance for this free session.

    16:00 - 16:30
    Meeting for key players

    A pre-forum briefing for keynote speakers, parallel plenary speakers, paper and workshop presenters and chairs.

  • Thursday 15 November

    15:00 - 17:00
    17:00 - 17:30
    Official Opening

    Introduction to the Forum
    Caty Duykaerts, Chair, EQAF Programme Committee

    Welcome from the hosts
    Heinz Faßmann, Austrian Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research
    Stefan Pichler, Vice-Rector for Research, Vienna University of Economics and Business
    Achim Hopbach, Managing Director, AQ Austria

    17:30 - 18:30
    Plenary Session I - Putting the system in QA

    James Williams, Quality in Higher Education

    Discussion with the chair and the audience
    Practical information on the networking reception
    Chaired by Michael Murphy, EUA

    Networking Reception
  • Friday 16 November

    09:00 - 17:30
    09:30 - 10:45
    Plenary Session II - Different activities – different systems

    Heli Mattisen, Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA)
    Katrin Niglas, Tallinn University
    Christoph Niedermann, ETH Zurich
    Petra Lauk Kwasnitza, Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ)

    Discussion with the chair and the audience
    Practical information on breakout sessions
    Facilitated by Adam Gajek, ESU

    10:45 - 11:15
    Coffee Break
    11:15 - 13:00
    Papers and Workshops – Session I

    Participants will have a choice of attending a workshop lasting 90 minutes or two paper sessions lasting 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute break in between to allow the participants to move around.

    Workshop 1 - Exploring the supporting potential of two reflection instruments to concretise a vision and strategy on quality culture development
    Workshop 2 - Quality assurance of assessments – good practice exchange
    Workshop 3 - Quality and efficiency in teaching and learning: friend or foe?
    Paper 1 - Internal QA policies across the full spectrum of institutional activities
    Paper 2 - Bologna’s Trojan Horse? Language usage in the Netherlands as a quality issue
    Paper 3 - Broadening the scope of quality assurance systems to doctoral education. The case of the University of Aveiro
    Paper 4 - The ARCU-SUR System: an accreditation system for South America?
    Paper 5 - Making the move from quality assurance to quality culture concrete: an example from the field of music
    Paper 6 - Academic integrity
    Paper 7 - Broadening the scope of QA through partnership with students
    Paper 8 - Changes in the German accreditation system: a new equilibrium between universities, agencies and the German Accreditation Council
    Paper 9 - Designing a framework for internal quality assurance of research in a Flemish University of Applied Sciences
    Paper 10 - Building QA systems: the Engaged and Responsible Label (ERL)
    Paper 11 - Case study of coordinated students’ representation in quality assurance at Vilnius University
    Paper 12 - Use of sectoral qualifications frameworks in a development of study programmes

    13:00 - 14:30
    14:30 - 15:45
    Parallel Plenary Session I: Perspectives on QA

    Participants will have a choice of attending one of three parallel sessions which will present various projects or initiatives in QA.

    QA and strategy

    Lucien Bollaert, EURASHE QA Community of Practice
    Chaired by Nora Skaburskiene, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University

    Quality of administration in higher education – the Swedish example

    Asa Kettis, Uppsala University
    Eva Oquist, SUHF Working Group on Quality in Administration
    Chaired by Aleksandar Šušnjar, EQAF Programme Committee

    QA of service to society

    Cristina Sin, A3ES
    Orlanda Tavares, A3ES
    Kari Seppl, University of Turku
    Chaired by Jacques Lanarès, EQAF Programme Committee

    15:45 - 16:15
    Coffee Break
    16:15 - 17:30
    Parallel Plenary Session II: Perspectives on QA

    Findings from the Bologna Process Implementation Report

    David Crosier, Eurydice
    Chaired by Karl Dittrich, EQAR

    CALOHEE: A new innovative approach towards quality assurance?

    Robert Wagenaar, International Tuning Academy, University of Groningen
    Chaired by Tia Loukkola, EQAF Programme Committee

    QA of e-learning

    Sandra Marcos, ACSUCYL
    Esther Huertas AQU Catalunya
    Roger Roca, AQU Catalunya
    Chaired by Gohar Hovhannisyan, European Students' Union (ESU)

    Optional Forum Dinner (separate fee)
  • Saturday 17 November

    09:00 - 13:00
    09:30 - 11:15
    Papers and Workshops – Session II

    Participants will have a choice of attending a workshop lasting 90 minutes or two paper sessions lasting 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute break in between to allow the participants to move around.

    Workshop 4 - Quality assurance processes and learning & teaching strategies: how to use the ten European principles for the enhancement of L&T in QA contexts
    Workshop 5 - Bridging organisational gaps with process management – a holistic approach to QA
    Paper 13 - The wisdom of students: monitoring quality via social media and student reviews
    Paper 14 - Quality management of e-courses – process supporting development of digital culture in higher education – Estonian case
    Paper 15 - Implementation of the first national survey to measure the experiences of postgraduate research students
    Paper 16 - The Database of External Quality Assurance Results (DEQAR) – Quality at your fingertips
    Paper 17 - Five-star student involvement
    Paper 18 - Looking beyond standard QA: organisational development for the university administration
    Paper 19 - Assuring the quality of credentials to support learning innovation
    Paper 20 - Engaging diversely: how online students, postgraduates and others can (and should!) be full partners in quality
    Paper 21- Mapping new territories – HEIs’ societal objectives in external quality assurance
    Paper 22 - Beyond “diminishing resources” – quality enhancement and student engagement

    11.00 - 11.30
    Coffee break
    11:45 - 13:00
    Plenary Session III - The changing higher education landscape

    Dirk Van Damme, OECD

    Discussion with the chair and the audience
    Invitation to next year’s EQAF
    Wrap-up and thanks by Caty Duykaerts, Chair, EQAF Programme Committee
    Chaired by Maria Kelo, ENQA

    13:00 - 14:30
    Lunch and departure of participants

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