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.
Findings suggest that although the analysed Portuguese institutions apparently embrace the third mission, the quality assurance of this core activity is still in an embryonic stage of development. This suggests that quality assurance systems need to be developed so as to integrate the various core missions of an institution (e.g. teaching and learning; research and third mission), ensuring they receive similar levels of consideration.
This paper was presented at EQAF and reflects the views of the named authors only.