Last 27 and 28 March, Antwerp University organised the YERUN Staff Week on Quality Culture, with the objective of sharing practices among YERUN members within a culture of quality on the areas of Human Resources, Research and Education. Various presentations outlined different practices and described good examples on how to implement the European HR Excellence Strategy for Researchers, on the employability of early career researchers, on maximising the quality research grant applications, or programme evaluations and the impact on quality development, among others.
Quality Assurance is a process well implemented in higher education’s teaching and research activities. Key stakeholders (students, researchers, peers) are involved in assessing the quality of the outputs and the quality of the process of teaching and research. Various methods can be used or combined, with the purpose of continuous quality improvement: surveys, focus groups, external assessments, benchmarking, site visits – to name but a few.
A knowledge-intensive environment depends hugely on having the best people on board: recruiting talented researchers, helping passionate lecturers develop their teaching skills, supporting academics in their leadership roles. In such an environment, HR processes obviously also benefit from a good quality assurance approach. To this purpose, the European Commission has developed the “HR Excellence in Research Award” in order to help academic institutions improve their HR processes. The system is based on regular peer review (HR experts from different countries assessing the HR system in a particular university or research centre) with a focus on self-reflection, stakeholder involvement, managerial support and adequate monitoring.
During the YERUN meeting in Antwerp, one of the sessions was devoted to a more in-depth investigation of the challenges of quality assurance in an HR context, and the way in which the HR Excellence in Research Award combines the establishment of a quality culture in higher education with the ambition of implementing an open labour market for researchers in Europe. While engaging in this process requires time and energy, the additional investment required is only small in the context of a university’s overall intrinsic motivation to establish a comprehensive quality culture.
The presentations given at the Staff Week are available in the links below.
University funding in Europe. (How) Does it work?, Martin Decancq, Member of the Board of Administration, responsible for Budget and Finance UAntwerp
Quality culture reflections and lessons from the EUA, Tia Loukkula, Director of Institutional Development and senior quality assurance expert at the EUA.
Do you want to check some pictures of the event? Click here.