The consortium pursues the following types of activity:
- Reflection on and improvement of quality assurance measures within the institutions involved in cross-border international education in view of the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework (Bachelor-Master-PhD),
- Developing, publishing and disseminating quality assurance guidelines resulting from cross-border cooperation in the Greater Region. The project will identify obstacles for international education and propose solutions / recommendations, thus strengthening the quality culture within the universities of the region,
- Promoting cooperation between universities and quality assurance agencies by a workshop,
- Organisation of a final conference providing the opportunity to communicate the project results on a wider basis and raise the awareness for quality assurance in cross-border education.
Survey on quality assurance measures
Universities involved in cross-border education have to deal with a complex system of international, national and local quality assurance systems. The project provides a synoptic overview of the present state of the discussion regarding quality management systems and guidelines. The project partners can rely on various studies comparing different national quality assurance systems in higher education. However, it is necessary to clarify the practical constraints related to the establishment of a quality culture in cross-border education. A special focus is on those aspects relevant for the Greater Region.
The survey will systematize knowledge about current activities and the present state of the art. It will serve as a knowledge base for units involved in quality assurance (administrative staff of the participating universities, faculty members) and structures further communication with quality assurance agencies.
Based on a thorough analysis of the present state of art and existing needs, the project will recommend further activities in the field of quality assurance in cross-border education. In particular, the project partners deal with practical obstacles as well as with potentials for further quality improvements. There is no lack of external guidelines and quality standards, however, it is necessary that the universities express their interests and, following the principle of institutional autonomy, propose further steps promoting quality assurance in joint and PhD programmes.
The Recommendations are a starting point for changes in the institutional context of joint degree or PhD programmes. This document is addressed to university governance bodies, the universities’ central administration, and political decision-makers framing the general conditions for the set-up of cross-border education.
The quality guidelines are intended to function as a guide to practical work on quality improvement. The sub areas, processes and measures described here constitute the cornerstones of a quality assurance system for international degree programmes. The guidelines shall serve as the basis of the systematic work in the Greater Region on maintenance and further development of the quality of the programmes of study.
Important aspects are:
- Layout of the quality assurance systems,
- Students recruitment,
- Course development and integration of foreign courses of study,
- Equal opportunity policies, evaluation and programme monitoring,
- Harmonisation of learning outcomes,
- Feedback regarding degrees and their working life relevance,
- Supervision of research activities (for PhD-programmes).
Workshop and final conference
Quality management in cross-border education is a complex system with a large number of institutions and organisations involved. The project will organise two events in order to bring together the various stakeholders and encourage further debates on the issues involved.
First, a workshop will take place in the midterm of the project providing a first evaluation of the results achieved so far, as well as attaining more input for further activities. It will take place on the 25th of January 2008 at the “Château de Colonster” at the University of Liège in Belgium. The workshop aims at learning more about the points of view of different actors involved in cross-border programmes in the Grand Region: students, PhD-students, lecturers and responsible members of the administration.
The collection of experiences, questions and needs permits to obtain a list of recommendations. They will subsequently be addressed to the institutions of quality management, to the authorities of the institutions for higher education and to political decision-makers.
The final conference will address other universities in border regions in order to present and discuss the project outcome leading to an open and ongoing debate about quality assurance in joint degree and PhD programmes.