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Success Critical Factors For Implementing Quality Systems In European Higher Education

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Global Engineering Education: Developments, Implementations

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Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1093.1 - 14.1093.12



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Paper Authors

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Edmundo Tovar Polytechnic University, Montegancedo

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Paola Carina Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

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Karen Castillo Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



Quality assurance in higher education is by no means only a European concern. All over the world there is an increasing interest in quality and standards, reflecting both the rapid growth of higher education and its cost to the public and the private purse. The EHEA with its 40 states is characterised by its diversity of political systems, higher education systems, socio- cultural and educational traditions, languages, aspirations and expectations. In the light of this diversity and variety, technical universities set their faces to develop their internal quality assurance systems according not only to the European standards and the guidelines, but also focusing more on what should be done rather than how it should be achieved as well as to different factors and sources.

Some of the schools of the Technical University of Madrid, along with other European universities, are in the initial stage of their Quality Assurance System implementation, awaiting the positive verification of the Spanish Quality Agency.

This paper presents the results of a study with the purpose of reuse the experience of implementing the quality processes models to the schools of this university without a Quality Assurance System. As processes models contribute to the enhancement of overall quality for higher education and enable successive progress towards the higher levels we have proposed a generic Maturity Model that is tuned to the most important key processes. Through several techniques, such as focus groups and surveys, success critical factors that are common to all the university are identified. Lessons learned allow the less mature schools to take an easier way to design new and more efficient processes.

1. Quality in the context of European Higher Education

The issue of quality assurance has risen very high on the Bologna agenda and is seen now as one of the key instruments to promote the attractiveness of European higher education. It was made clear that when defining common criteria and methodologies in European Higher Education it is necessary to take into account the diversity of the various systems and traditions that will go into the construction of a comparable framework.

As discussed at the Graz Convention (May 2003) 1, among the policy goals for an appropriate European QA dimension are: Achieve greater compatibility while managing diversity of QA procedures. There is a great diversity of national procedures in Europe that need to be accepted as this diversity reflects specific national circumstances that each national QA framework tries to address. Upholding a widely shared set of principles in the QA area would ensure compatibility while minimizing intrusiveness in national frameworks.

Achieve trust: It is evident from discussions with various key actors, that some believe that trust across Europe can be achieved only if all QA agencies follow similar procedures and guidelines. In other words, trust is based on professionalism, grounded in a set of standards.

Tovar, E., & Carina, P., & Castillo, K. (2009, June), Success Critical Factors For Implementing Quality Systems In European Higher Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5767

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