Heads of University Management & Administration Network Europe

HUMANE SEMINAR: Toulouse (FR), September 25-26, 2015

Quality Management, Accreditation, Institutional Ranking and League Tables: Policy trends and institutional responses

• What constitutes a world class university? 

• What is the real utility of quality assessment regimes and accreditation systems?

• Are league table and ranking systems legitimate measures of quality?  

The growth of mass higher education and the pace of higher education globalisation have had a direct and apparently lasting impact on the growth of higher education quality assessment and management systems, and their links with accreditation systems and processes, as well as league tables and ranking systems. 

This growth has been fuelled by increasing public interest in and demand for much greater transparency of higher education’s outputs, impact and value for money, combined with the upswing in demand for ‘consumer’ information mainly by undergraduate  students and particularly international undergraduate students (and the parents and financial sponsors).

Whilst many quality systems are not explicitly linked with formal accreditation processes (such as the institutional reviews conducted by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in the UK) or rankings, other systems directly link assessment and accreditation (such as the EFMD’s EQUIS institutional accreditation system and process),  and are indirectly linked to league tables and ranking systems. 

Governments and accreditation agencies are increasingly influenced by the outputs of these various assessment and measurement systems,  using them to frame national higher education policy and financing, as are institutional leaders who are acutely aware of their impact on institutional market positioning and brand management. 

Whilst many continue to decry these developments as inflating the academic ‘arms race’ and diverting scarce resource into ‘non-core’ activity, there is wide acceptance that HE systems and their constituent institutions must be more transparent in the public and private resources they consume, and more open to ranking of their performance.    

Over the past several years, the debate has shifted decisively away from the credibility of these systems and process -- as it is plainly evident that they have achieved credibility  -- toward questions about how should ‘quality’ be defined and measured, by whom, for what purpose, and how should these outputs be reported. 

Our seminar programme will grapple with these issues from both a system-level and institutional perspective.   We have assembled an impressive array of speakers with direct experience of managing quality and accreditation systems, and in publishing or contributing to institutional rankings. 

It promises to be a lively and engaging debate. 


World University Rankings: what quality measures

Nicki Horseman  - Lead HE Analyst, Times Higher Education (THE) (UK)

Business School Accreditation, Quality and Global Competitiveness

Ulrich Hommel  - Senior Advisor, Quality Services, EFMD (DE)

Improvement of Quality, Autonomy and Efficiency of HEI : reforms and incentives in France

Frederic Forest - Associate Director in charge of higher education funding, French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (FR)

Managing Quality through Enhancement – the Scottish Approach

Katrina Swanton - Academic Quality Advisor, Edinburgh Napier University (UK)

Trends in Internal Quality Assurance in 2015

Tia Loukkola -  Director, Institutional Development unit, EUA (BE)

Benefits of Quality Assurance

Nel Van Dijk - Head of Quality, Communication and Policy, Amsterdam School of Arts (NL)

From Equis to Total Quality Management, the case of Paris Dauphine University

Etienne Desmet - Chief Operating Officer, Université Paris Dauphine (FR)

Seminar Chair:

Ian Creagh - Head of Administration and College Secretary, King’s College London (UK)