EQAR NEWSLETTER JUNE 2017
News: Karl Dittrich new EQAR President | Latest Register Committee decisions | New job opportunity at EQAR | Annual Report 2016 | Greece new governmental member | Statistics on registered agencies' activities | Database of external quality assurance results
Karl Dittrich becomes new EQAR President
Karl Dittrich was unanimously elected as EQAR President at the General Assembly, which includes representatives of the key European stakeholder organisations as well as 38 ministries of higher education, held in Gozo on 25 May. He will serve as EQAR President from 1 July 2017 for a term of three years. Having held numerous leadership positions in higher education during the last decades, Dittrich is taking over the position for the first time following changes in the EQAR organisational structure.
Dittrich started his career as a political science researcher and lecturer in Leiden, Florence and Maastricht. He chaired the Executive Board of the University of Maastricht from the 1990s until the early 2000s. Dittrich was the inaugural chairman of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) from 2005 to 2012. In that capacity, he also held functions on the ENQA Board and in the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA). Recently, Dittrich has chaired the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), a position from which he will retire in October 2016. As VSNU Chairman, Dittrich has also sat on the Council of EUA.
In his speech to EQAR members before his election, on 25 May 2017, Dittrich emphasised EQAR’s role in supporting and strengthening European ideals and cooperation in the field of higher education: “It is important for the European higher education community to continue its path of dialogue and cooperation despite some nationalist tendencies. EQAR guarantees the quality of the quality assurance agencies and promotes trust in and between them, a precondition for recognition and mobility of students and staff. Exchange and mobility promote understanding between European citizens and help us build strong, democratic and equal societies.”
Latest Register Committee decisions
The Register Committee convened in Valencia on 19-20 June, hosted by the University of Valencia. Apart from reviewing numerous applications, the Register Committee continued its discussions on the policy document on external quality assurance and other activities of QAA's. Before the start of the meeting, EQAR organised an induction/training session for new Register Committee members.
Newly admitted to the Register:
- ANQA - National Centre for Professional Education Quality (Armenia)
- IQAA - Independent Kazakh Agency for Quality Assurance in Education
- IAAR - Independent Agency for Accreditation and Rating (Kazakhstan)
Approved renewal applications:
- AEQES - Agence pour l'Evaluation de la Qualité de l'Enseignement Supérieur (Belgium)
- ASHE - Agency for Science and Higher Education (Croatia)
- HCERES - High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (France)
- FINEEC - The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre
- ASIIN - Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieurwissenschaften, der Informatik, der Naturwissenschaften und der Mathematik (Germany)
- FIBAA - Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (Germany)
- AQAS - Agency for Quality Assurance through Accreditation of Study Programmes (Germany)
Other news from the Register Committee
On 1 July, EQAR takes leave of Eric Froment, who served as Chair of the EQAR Register Committee for five years. The EQAR General Assembly, the Executive Board and the Register Committee members thanked Eric Froment wholeheartedly for his dedication and contribution to EQAR over the last years.
Six new Register Committee members will start their two-year mandate on 1 July. Incoming members Maria Arminda Bragança de Miranda, Riita Kaarina Pyykkö, Izabela Suika, Beate Treml, Anne Verreth and Steffen Westergard Andersen will replace outgoing members Josep Grifoll, Júlio Pedrosa, Lucien Bollaert, Dáire Keogh and Dorte Kristoffersen, these last three having served on the Register Committee since 2008. Eric Froment, outgoing Chair of the Register Committee, thanked the outgoing members for their devotion, commitment and hard work during all these years.
New job opportunity at EQAR: Database Officer
Join our small team, in a dynamic and international workplace: EQAR is looking for a highly motivated and experienced Database Officer (part-time). Their main task will be the setup and maintenance of a database of external quality assurance results, i.e. quality assurance reports and decisions by the EQAR-registered agencies.
Annual Report 2016
The year 2016 was characterised by reform and innovation; the Register Committee reviewed the first applications of agencies against the ESG 2015 (Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area) and, with the adoption by the General Assembly of the EQAR Self-Evaluation Report in early 2016, preparations started on the development and implementation of its resulting recommendations:
- Study of the feasibility and usefulness of a database resulting in a report and operational model for a database of external quality assurance results, presented at the EQAR Members' Dialogue 2016.
- Proposal to change the organisational structure of EQAR (including statutory changes) to allow for an EQAR President. The proposal was adopted by an extraordinary General Assembly in November 2017.
Greece becomes new Governmental Member of EQAR
Greece became Governmental Member of EQAR in 2017 and participated in their first General Assembly in Gozo on 25 May. Members welcomed the Greek delegation and were looking forward to working together. EQAR now counts 39 Governmental Members, which are involved in the overall governance of EQAR.
Statistics on Registered Agencies' Activities
The annual monitoring of the registered agencies' external quality assurance (EQA) activities (e.g. evaluation, accreditation, audit etc.) provides a regular overview of the scope and volume of EQAR-registered quality assurance agencies' activities, at home and across borders.
In 2016, the 44 registered-QA agencies conducted a total of 9 764 external-QA activities at institutional (6%), programme (93%) or joint programme level (0.3%) in 50 countries or territories.
With a view to the yearly fluctuation of external QA activities, a picture can be painted for the past three years noting an increase of the total number of external QA activities by 1,7% compared to 2015, and a 6,5% increase compared to 2014.
Since the initial collection of data in 2014, the figures show that cross-border EQA activities registered an increase of 29% in their total number compared to 2014 and a 35% increase compared to 2015, while the external quality assurance of joint programmes registered a significant decrease, by 54% compared to 2014 and by 21% compared to 2015.
Database of External Quality Assurance Results
In 2016, EQAR studied the feasibility and usefulness of a database of external quality assurance results, i.e. reports and decisions, by EQAR-registered quality assurance agencies. The database aims at enhancing the accessibility of external quality assurance reports for all stakeholders, including higher education institutions, recognition officers, students, governments and quality assurance agencies themselves.
A report and operational model were presented to the EQAR Members' Dialogue 2016. In May 2017, the EQAR General Assembly added the setup of the database to the EQAR Work Plan 2017/18 (see also job opportunity above) and made provisions in EQAR's budget to secure its long-term funding.
EQAR wishes to thank those who contributed to the surveys carried out on the feasibility and usefulness of the database in 2016. Stay tuned for more information on the topic throughout the year.