03 April 2012 | Report

Examining Quality Culture Part III: From self-reflection to enhancement

Oliver Vettori

In October 2009, the European University Association (EUA), together with its partners, the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and QAA Scotland, launched a project entitled: “Examining Quality Culture in Higher Education Institutions” (EQC).


The EQC project was a continuation of EUA’s long-term work with its members on developing internal quality assurance. In the course of two and a half years, the project mapped the state of affairs within European universities and explored the dynamics between the development of institutional quality culture and quality assurance processes. The final workshop organised in Edinburgh, Scotland, in February 2012 gathered 30 participants from EUA member universities from across Europe, to analyse the practical application of the project conclusions, as well as to discuss challenges and good practices in developing quality cultures in various institutions.

This short report is a condensed compilation of the insights of the final workshop – and the questions they in turn have led to. It does not, however, provide a full empirical analysis of the workshop discussions or an inventory of the good practices that were identified in the various working groups and plenary discussions. One of the project’s key results was the acknowledgement that even the best ideas cannot always
be imported into one’s own institution. In order to develop an effective quality culture, one first needs to understand the institutional principles, aspects and environmental conditions that are already in force – and thus, affect each decision, action and interpretation. In this regard, this report is neither a summary nor a good practice manual, but an invitation: to examine those quality cultures we can already find in our own
institutions. The best foundation for future enhancements may well be a reflection of the past and present.

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