European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education

External Evaluation of EQAR (2011)

When mandating the E4 Group to establish EQAR, European ministers asked the E4 organisations “to ensure that after two years of operation, the register is evaluated externally, taking account of the views of all stakeholders” (London Communiqué 2007).

The evaluation addresses three main questions, as specified in the Terms of Reference:

  • Are the organisational structures and methods of EQAR fit for purpose in the light of the agreed objectives? Have they functioned effectively and efficiently in practice?
  • What has been the initial impact of EQAR? Is it in line with the desired goals?
  • What improvements are desirable? How might the organisation develop and act further with a view to best achieving its mission and objectives?

Steering Group Consistent with the principles generally accepted for external reviews of quality assurance agencies, as a first step EQAR identified a suitable independent coordinator for the evaluation, which, in turn, appointed the evaluation panel. The evaluation is coordinated by a Steering Group working under the auspices and with the support of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Steering Group

The Steering Group includes the following individuals:

  • Judith Eaton (Chair of the Steering Group)
    President of CHEA
  • Jan Levy
    Former Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Higher Education
  • Norman Sharp
    Former Director of the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland
  • Martina Vukasović
    Director of the Centre for Education Policy, Belgrade

Evaluation Panel The Steering Group for the evaluation of EQAR appointed an independent expert Panel to carry out the evaluation, including European and non-European experts in quality assurance of higher education, coming from different backgrounds and including all stakeholder perspectives.

Evaluation Panel

The following individuals served on the Panel:

  • Sir John Daniel (Chair of the Evaluation Panel)
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth of Learning, Canada
  • Barbara Brittingham
    President/Director of the Commission of Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, USA
  • Liam Burns
    President of NUS Scotland (National Union of Students)
  • Eduardo Marçal Grilo
    Professor and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal
  • Lis Lange
    Senior Director, Institutional Research and Academic Planning, University of the Free State, South-Africa
  • Pall Skúlason
    Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iceland
  • David Parry (Secretary to the Evaluation Panel)
    Higher Education consultant, United Kingdom

Self-Evaluation Process A Self-Evaluation Group (SEG), including members of the EQAR Executive Board, Register Committee and Secretariat, coordinated the self-evaluation process and drafted the Self-Evaluation Report, in consultation with all EQAR bodies. The final Self-Evaluation Report was submitted to the Evaluation Panel in March 2011.

Self-Evaluation Process

The SEG was composed of the following individuals:

  • Lucien Bollaert (Register Committee, Chair of the SEG)
  • Andrea Blättler (Executive Board)
  • Dorte Kristoffersen (Register Committee)
  • Helle Otte (Denmark, Observer on the Register Committee)
  • Lesley Wilson (Executive Board)
  • Colin Tück (Director)

In preparing the Report, the SEG drew upon the feedback regularly elicited from applicants and on internal reflections of the Register Committee and Executive Board. Furthermore, the SEG elicited feedback on the workings of EQAR from interviews of a sample of European governments and stakeholder organisations as well as surveys.

Site Visit and Interviews by the Panel The Evaluation Panel conducted a site visit to Brussels from 12 to 14 May, in the context of the External Evaluation of EQAR. The Panel met with the Self-Evaluation Group, all EQAR committees (Executive Board, Register Committee, Appeals Committee), staff, governmental members, quality assurance agencies and stakeholders.

Site Visit and Interviews by the Panel

A range of different stakeholders were interviewed by the panel:

  • Members of EQAR (E4 organisations, social partners, governments); Governments that are not member of the EQAR association;
  • Bologna Secretariat, Council of Europe, the European Commission and UNESCO/CEPES;
  • Applicant and non-applicant quality assurance agencies.

The external evaluation report sets out the panel’s findings – based on the self-evaluation report, the site visit and the interviews - and make recommendations for improvement. The final external evaluation report was submitted to EQAR in September 2011.

In November 2011, EQAR organised the first Members Dialogue for all EQAR’s members and committees to discuss the results of the evaluation and give input to a follow-up and implementation plan.