02 November 2010 | Report

Examining Quality Culture Part I: Quality Assurance Processes in Higher Education Institutions

Tia Loukkola and Thérèse Zhang

The project “Examining Quality Culture in Higher Education Institutions” (EQC) aims to identify institutional processes and structures that support the development of an internal quality culture. The study bases its understanding of “quality culture” on the definition provided by EUA’s Quality Culture project (2006), which sees it as referring to an organisational culture characterised by a cultural/psychological element on the one hand, and a structural/managerial element on the other hand. It is crucial, in the authors’ minds, to distinguish quality culture from quality assurance processes, which are part of the structural element.

The first phase of the project focused on mapping the existing quality assurance (QA) processes through a survey, while the second phase will provide a qualitative approach and embrace the cultural and more informal elements of quality culture.

The report, which results from the first phase, seeks to examine how higher education institutions (HEIs) respond in their activities to the developments in QA at policy level. It is based on the quantitative results of a survey that was conducted during spring 2010. A total of 222 institutions from 36 countries across Europe responded.

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