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Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda
Start date: Oct 1, 2007,

Contemporary European society is faced with rapid and constant change processes. Progress towards the Lisbon and Barcelona objectives requires European higher education institutions (HEIs) to respond adequately to change as well as contributing to shaping the development of a knowledge society. In order to accomplish these ambitious goals, it is crucial to promote innovative, well-managed and forward-looking universities and to ensure that their quality assurance (QA) processes are in line with these traits. The project Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda (QAHECA) has been developed by the European University Association (EUA) in order to explore, through a dialogue between HEIs and QA agencies, the question of which external quality processes for teaching and learning in higher education support innovative and creative HEIs that would drive forward the modernisation agenda for universities. The central goal is to develop recommendations for effective and efficient QA frameworks that focus on the institution's capacity to change as a core aspect for a future-oriented approach to HE governance that will allow the European HEIs to advance the Lisbon objectives. QAHECA will result in a report outlining the major findings of a series of three workshops with representatives of European HEIs and QA agencies on the core objectives outlined above. In addition to a conceptual reflection on the questions raised by the task of developing a future orientation for quality processes, the report will contain operational recommendations for HEIs and QA agencies alike on how to achieve progress towards this ambitious goal. Moreover, the report will analyse the institutional implementation plans of the workshop participants with a view towards identifying examples of good practice from these plans. It is envisaged that 30 HEIs and QA agencies (the workshop participants) as well as the 4 partners in the consortium (ACQUIN, EUA, HEA and NUI Maynooth) will benefit in the short term from the project outcomes. In the long term, the distribution of printed copies of the report as well as its dissemination through the websites of all involved partners, participants and membership organisations represented on the steering committee (in addition to the above-mentioned this will be ENQA, EURASHE and ESIB) will ensure widespread impact of the project results among the European HE and QA communities, students, employers of graduates, policy makers and HE researchers.
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