26 November 2019 | EQAF Paper

Third mission activities in quality assurance systems: do theory and practice match?

Sofia Bruckmann (CIPES), Maria J. Rosa (University of Aveiro), Loraine Nazaré (University of Aveiro)

Along with the traditional missions of a university – teaching & learning, and research – a latecomer is now well established in higher education: interaction with society, often designated as third mission (TM), which includes a set of different activities that are now an integral part of what universities do.

They are present in university strategy discourses and in the university’s structure with dedicated units. Is this also true when considering quality assurance systems (QAS)? Literature shows that most QAS are mainly concerned with learning & teaching and that there is a mismatch between theory and practice in what concerns TM. This study focuses on the case of a public Portuguese university and intends to assess how far along it is in terms of integrating performance indicators (PIs) for TM activities in its QAS. Content analysis was conducted to internal and external quality assessment reports and crosschecked with national (A3ES) and international guidelines (ESG). Ultimately, the paper proposes a set of relevant PIs that could enhance quality assurance of TM activities at this institution.

This paper was presented at EQAF and reflects the views of the named authors only.

ISSN: 1375-3797


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