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IMPROVING QUALITY, ENHANCING CREATIVITY: CHANGE PROCESSES IN EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS FINAL REPORT OF THE QUALITY ASSURANCE FOR THE HIGHER EDUCATION CHANGE AGENDA (QAHECA) PROJECT EUA PUBLICATIONS 2009 The European University Association (EUA) is the representative organisation of universities and national rectors’ conferences in 46 European countries. EUA plays a crucial role in the Bologna process and in infl uencing EU policies on higher education, research and innovation. Thanks to its interaction with its members and a range of other European and international organisations EUA ensures that the independent voice of European universities is heard wherever decisions are being taken that will impact on their activities. The Association provides a unique expertise in higher education and research as well as a forum for exchange of ideas and good practice among universities. The results of EUA’s work are made available to members and stakeholders through conferences, seminars, website and publications. European University Association asbl Rue d’Egmont 13 1000 Brussels Belgium Phone: +32-2 230 55 44 Fax: +32-2 230 57 51 Copyright © 2009 by the European University Association All rights reserved. This information may be freely used and copied for non-commercial purposes, provided that the source is acknowledged (© European University Association). Additional copies of this publication are available for 10€ per copy. For ordering information, please contact [email protected] or write to: European University Association asbl Rue d’Egmont 13 1000 Brussels, Belgium Tel +32-2 230 55 44 – Fax +32-2 230 57 51 A free electronic version of this report is available through This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. ISBN: 9789078997146 EUA 0902-031 Rapport QAHECA cover_v3.indd 2 9/07/09 09:39 E U A P U B L I C AT I O N S 2 0 0 9 I m p r o v I n g Q u a l I t y, E n h a n c I n g c r E at I v I t y : c h a n g E p r o c E s s E s I n E u r o p E a n h I g h E r E d u c at I o n I n s t I t u t I o n s Final report of the Quality assurance for the higher Education change agenda (QahEca) project 2 3 Table of contents Foreword 4 Acknowledgements 5 Executive summary 6 1 Introduction 8 2 Project description 9 2.1. project participants 9 2.2. project schedule and working method 10 3 Quality assurance and creativity 11 3.1. Institutional creativity on the one hand… 11 3.2. …and quality assurance on the other hand… 13 3.3. …how to get them to work together? 15 4 Recommendations 18 5 Conclusions 19 6 References 21 7 Annexes 22 Annex 1: Consortium partners and the Steering committee 22 Annex 2: List of participants 23 Annex 3: Examples of practice 24 Instituto superior técnico, portugal: Involving students in institutional life 24 gazi university, turkey: departmental self-evaluation and quality improvement process 27 royal academy of Fine arts, design, music and dance, netherlands: developing and implementing a joint master programme 30 university of akureyri, Iceland: adapting to the needs of lifelong learning through enhancing information literacy 33 the university of manchester, uK: students as partners’ programme with particular reference to pass 35 nvao: Introducing, developing and implementing a new phase in the accreditation system in the netherlands and Flanders 38 Annex 4: List of questions used in the testing phase 42 4 Foreword Contemporary European society is faced with rapid and constant change processes. Progress towards the European Higher Education and Research Areas requires higher education institutions that are able to respond adequately to change as well as to contribute to shaping the development of a knowledge society. In order to accomplish these ambitious goals, it is crucial to promote innovative, well-managed and forward-looking universities and to ensure that quality assurance processes support these characteristics. In this context, the European University Association (EUA) along with its consortium partners – the Certification and Quality Assurance Institute (ACQUIN), the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the National University of Ireland in Maynooth – launched a project named “Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda (QAHECA)”. QAHECA was developed in order to explore, through a dialogue between higher education institutions (HEIs) and quality assurance agencies (QA agencies), how internal and external quality processes for teaching and learning in higher education are able to support innovative and creative HEIs that can drive forward the modernisation agenda of universities. The central goal was to develop recommendations for effective and efficient quality assurance (QA) that focus on the institution’s capacity to change as a core aspect of higher education governance. Creativity and innovation have been identified as key factors in knowledge creation and, consequently, social and economic development. Coincidentally, the year 2009 has been identified as the European Year of Creativity and Innovation by the European Commission. Despite the significant overall interest in creativity, relatively little attention has been paid so far in Europe to higher education institutions in this context and how creativity and innovative practices can be enhanced within and by the academic community. EUA for its part has worked for many years to promote both creativity and innovative practices within European universities through projects enhancing quality culture and efficient and adequate governance in the context of institutional diversity. QAHECA builds upon this work as well as upon contributions from project participants. EUA is especially pleased that the publication of this project report takes place during this European Year of Creativity and Innovation and hopes that it will provide a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussions, during this year and beyond. Jean-Marc Rapp Eua president Professor Jean-Marc Rapp Eua president 5 Acknowledgements On behalf of the QAHECA consortium, EUA would like to thank the institutions and agencies1 that joined us in this exploratory project. Their representatives participated in the discussions on the relations between quality processes and creativity as well as on the importance of creativity to higher education, with an inspiring enthusiasm that can only be admired. In addition, they generously shared their experiences and expertise with other project participants during the project seminars and with the wider community through the case studies included in this publication. The role of the management team is crucial to the success of this kind of project. In QAHECA, we were lucky to have a team that, from the first to the last meeting, was willing to devote time and effort to the development and success of the project. We therefore would like to address our sincere gratitude to all those who participated in the work of the management team in various phases of the project with such enthusiasm and commitment: David Crosier, EUA (Eurydice since September 2008), Dorit Gerkens, ACQUIN, Eddie Gulc, HEA, and Saranne Magennis, NUIM. Andrée Sursock, Senior Adviser, former EUA Deputy Secretary General, deserves a special acknowledgement for conceiving this project and for her forward-looking attitude and continuous commitment towards the creative dimension of higher education. On behalf of EUA, we also would like to thank our consortium partners for extending such a warm welcome when hosting the three seminars: in particular, Sue Tosetti from the HEA, Gela Sonnenschein from ACQUIN and Linda King from NUIM who contributed to providing our participants with outstanding conditions to concentrate on the essential discussions. We also express our gratitude to all the facilitators who, during the seminars, contributed to making sure that the project objectives could be reached: members of the steering committee and the management team as well as Paul Luker and Ali Dickens from the HEA during the York seminar, Thomas Reil and other collaborators from ACQUIN during the Bayreuth seminar. Special thanks should also go to the cartoonist Patrick Sanders, whose role during the first seminar in York was much appreciated, and who has kindly let us use his cartoons as illustrations for this publication. The QAHECA Steering Committee2, chaired by Professor Lothar Zechlin, former Rector at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, should be acknowledged for its dynamic commitment, invaluable inputs, enthusiasm and continuous support of the work carried out by the project management team. In addition, we are grateful to the European Commission for its financial support through its Lifelong Learning programme. Last but not least, we would like to dedicate this report to the late Professor Klaus Dieter Wolff (ACQUIN), one of the pillars of EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme and a strong supporter of the need to promote accountability processes that support creativity and institutional change. Tia Loukkola Thérèse Zhang Senior Programme Manager Project Officer EUA EUA 1 see list in annex 2. 2 see list in annex 1. 6 Executive summary In order to build upon EUA’s recent work in enhancing the relationship between quality assurance processes, creativity and innovative practices, EUA launched a project in 2007, entitled Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda (QAHECA), with a consortium of partners: the Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute (ACQUIN, Germany), Higher Education Academy (HEA, United Kingdom) and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM, Ireland). QAHECA aimed to explore what kind of quality processes for teaching and learning, both internal and external, support creative and innovative higher education institutions and seeks to limit the potentially problematic effects of these processes. In a series of three seminars, the participants (29 higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies) tackled this challenging topic and tested ideas that emerged in the course of the project in their own institutions. This report includes an overall presentation of the project, followed by chapters discussing the relationship between quality assurance and creativity from various angles and providing some key principles on how HEIs and QA agencies, through their processes, can foster creativity and innovative practices. A few examples of practice from institutions participating in the QAHECA project have been included in annex 3 to highlight some of the initiatives taken by project participants and to exemplify the recommendations of the project. The starting point for the reflections was that institutional structures, and in this case, specifically quality assurance processes may inhibit or enhance creativity. Institutional creativity, which is at the core of this report, “refers to the conditions promoting creative organisations” (EUA 2007a: 16). The report discusses drivers and enablers of creativity and notes that a creative organisation is both leadership – and grassroots-driven, and is an organisation endowed with vibrant quality culture. The role of the institutional leadership is to create preconditions for such a development, but in the end it is the community – academic and administrative staff as well as students – of an HEI that needs to be both willing and able to take advantage of the opportunities offered to exercise their creativity. Quality assurance, in this report, is understood in the broad meaning of the term, including all activities related to defining, assuring and enhancing the quality of an HEI from strategic planning to staff and curriculum development. Through the project the importance of national and institutional constraints to change processes (in this case developing more flexible QA processes) became obvious and a considerable time was spent on understanding them and their implications. However, even if the national contexts and the exact methods of external and internal QA vary in Europe, external QA processes do have several features in common (self-evaluation, external evaluation and results presented in a publication). The recommendations below aim to recap, in a concise form, ideas developed through the project and to offer some key principles which every institution and agency should be able to apply in their current practices in order to enhance quality assurance processes that boost creativity. 7 Recommendations: 1) First and foremost, quality assurance must be context sensitive and thus individualised. When developing quality assurance processes hEIs and Qa agencies need to take into account disciplinary characteristics, various organisational cultures, the historical position of the institution as well as the national context. 2) Quality assurance processes – both external and internal – should aim at enhancing the institutions’ capacity to change in order to reach the strategic goals of each institution better. thus, we invite both Qa agencies and hEIs to commit to a developmental approach in their quality assurance processes. 3) Quality assurance should be inclusive. a key success factor for an efficient Qa that enhances creativity at institutional level implies engaging the whole institutional community and not just considering Qa as the special purview of a specific Qa unit. this approach regards, for example, strategic planning, educational development and staff development as part of Qa processes. We also urge the Qa agencies to revisit their standards and processes in order to analyse in which ways they can encourage institutions to adopt this approach. 4) Both hEIs and Qa agencies should aim at ensuring the engagement and capacities of key actors in quality assurance processes. the role of the institutional leaders is to provide support and a framework for quality assurance and creativity. through staff development, the staff of the institutions can be encouraged to assume an active role in order to ensure the implementation of the inclusive approach to quality assurance mentioned above, while at the agency level, the awareness and understanding of the staff on activities and developments at institutional level needs to be continuously promoted. and last but not at least, both hEIs and Qa agencies need to foster greater student engagement through training and support in order for the students to be able to assume their role as key partners in quality assurance. 5) a precondition for an effective Qa that enhances creativity is a partnership between institutions and agencies. this partnership will create space and trust for critical self-reflection which is a prerequisite for creating something new. trust could be increased for example through confidentiality of institutional self-evaluation reports and developing external Qa processes that are based on incentives rather than sanctions. We invite hEIs and Qa agencies to work on building this partnership. 6) Quality assurance processes need to allow risk taking and failure which are essential for creating new knowledge. Internal quality assurance processes should be able to identify failures and define the process through which the institution reacts and rectifies the situation when a failure has taken place rather than prohibit risk taking altogether. For its part, external quality assurance should aim at checking if an hEI is capable of reacting to abnormal circumstances rather than sanctioning occasional failures. 7) Sharing experiences in QA is essential for the future development of quality assurance. We encourage the creation of platforms for both horizontal and vertical dialogue at various levels: within institution between departments, within a country between institutions, at European level between both hEIs and Qa agencies, etc. While encouraging this dialogue, it should not be forgotten that when learning from others’ experiences, whether good or bad, one should never aim at merely copying successful practices, but at critically analysing which components of the practice might be applicable to one’s own context. Recommendations 8 Introduction 1 since its creation Eua has aimed, through various activities, to support the creation of strong universities for a strong Europe. Its work in the area of quality assurance (Qa) and improving institutional effectiveness has created the groundwork for this project. the four-year Quality culture project (2002 – 2006) concentrated on developing internal quality culture in universities by examining internal quality assurance processes. the project took place in an interesting phase of the Bologna process that saw the rise of the importance of quality assurance. the Quality culture project contributed directly to an emphasis given to internal quality assurance of higher education institutions (hEIs) as demonstrated by such policy documents as the Berlin and Bergen communiqués. (Eua 2006: 33) after their initial embrace of internal quality, institutions became increasingly aware of the risk of over-bureaucratisation of quality assurance (Eua 2006: 16). as the final report of the project stated: “the major concern that started developing toward the end of the Quality culture project centred on the risk that internal quality processes – even when they are developed in the right way – may end up as internal bureaucratic processes.” (Eua 2006: 32) hence, Eua decided to take up the challenge of trying to “to enhance our understanding of the concept and to address the question of how creativity can be strengthened in European higher education” (Eua 2007a: 10) as a balancing force to the risk of bureaucratisation. the creativity project, which followed, aimed at untangling the notion of creativity in higher education and resulted in recommendations for hEIs, governments, Qa agencies and other external partners on how to enhance it. regarding the relationship between quality mechanisms and creativity the final project report stated that “[q]uality processes have the potential to strengthen creativity and innovation if they are geared towards enhancement and focus on the capacity to change as a way to incorporate a future dimension. however, they can also have highly detrimental effects if they stress conformity over risk-taking, are oriented towards the past rather than the future and develop into burdensome bureaucracies.” (Eua 2007a: 8) concerns about the relationship between quality assurance processes and creativity and how quality assurance, whether internal or external, can either enhance or stifle innovative practices and creativity within hEIs was picked up as a main question for Quality assurance for the higher Education change agenda (QahEca), a project launched in 2007 by Eua and its partners, the accreditation, certification and Quality assurance Institute (acQuIn), the higher Education academy (hEa) and the national university of Ireland in maynooth (nuIm). these issues will be tackled in various ways in this final report. after the overall presentation of the project, the following chapters will discuss the relationship between quality assurance and creativity from various angles and provide some key principles on how hEIs and Qa agencies, through their processes, can foster creativity and innovative practices. some examples of practice from institutions participating in the QahEca project have been included in annex 3 to highlight some of the initiatives taken by project participants and to exemplify the recommendations of the project3. however, the objective of this publication is not to provide simple, practical instructions on how to design Qa processes that enhance creativity – as it would simply be too huge task. Instead, it aims to stimulate reflection within each organisation on what kind of processes could work in its own institutional culture. 3 the reports prepared by the project participants, as well as the pdF version of this report, are available through Eua web-site ( 9 Project description 2 In order to continue Eua’s work in recent years in enhancing the relationship between quality assurance processes, creativity and innovative practices, Eua launched, in 2007, a project together with its consortium partners acQuIn (germany), the hEa (united Kingdom) and the national university of Ireland, maynooth (Ireland): Quality assurance for the higher Education change agenda (QahEca). QahEca aimed to explore what kind of quality processes for teaching and learning, both internal and external, support creative and innovative higher education institutions and seek to limit the potentially problematic effects of these processes. the project has built upon the experience of institutions and Qa agencies in order to address the balance between the requirement to have quality assurance processes as tools for institutional governance and external accountability and the need to ensure creativity and innovative practices in higher education. project participants focused on the institutional capacity for change and explored how an enhancement orientation and forward-looking perspective can be incorporated into processes that are, by their very nature, to a great extent retrospective (e.g., largely based on data about past performance). taking the standards and guidelines for Quality assurance in the European higher Education area (Esg) as background, the project sought to devise a methodology which was geared towards enhancement and would strengthen creativity and innovation in higher education. 2.1. PROJECT PARTICIPANTS at the beginning of the project the consortium partners invited higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies from across Europe to apply to participate in the project through an open call. a combined total of 29 institutions and agencies were selected to participate in the project with one delegate per organisation being in charge of liaising with the management team, representing his or her home institution at the project seminars, responding to the reporting assignment and being responsible for the overall implementation of the testing phase within his or her institution. a complete list of participating institutions and agencies is presented in annex 2. selection was primarily based on demonstrated experience with and expertise in the project topic and plans for communicating and implementing the results. In addition, the delegates’ experience in developing, managing and operating quality assurance and enhancement processes, as well as geographical distribution, institutional and disciplinary diversity, were considered. © Patrick Sanders, [email protected] 10 Project description 2 2.2. PROJECT SChEdULE ANd wORkINg METhOd the overall project period was two years. after the selection of project participants, a questionnaire was sent to all participating institutions in order to identify their quality assurance processes and the place that enhancement of creativity holds in these processes. this theme was further elaborated during the project through various exercises and discussions as described below. during the project period the representatives of institutions and agencies participated in a series of three seminars organised by the consortium partners. the first two seminars (respectively held in york in march 2008 and in Bayreuth in may 2008) were dedicated to developing a draft quality methodology through a variety of activities. In york the participants were introduced to the Qa landscape across Europe and shared examples of creativity from their own experiences seeking to identify what the examples suggested about the nature of creativity. as it became clear during the first discussions that participants’ thinking was constrained by their current institutional and national contexts, a discussion group session tackled a question designed to free them of such constraints and to put the focus firmly on students: “What should Qa look like in 2020 for higher education to meet the expectations of students for a high quality learning experience?” at the conclusion of the seminar the cartoonist patrick sanders, who had followed the seminar and the discussions closely, presented his cartoons capturing the essence of the seminar and leading to the final discussions4. In Bayreuth the focus was on producing a methodology for the testing phase which was to follow this seminar. this work was based on material prepared by the consortium partners prior to the seminar. the outcomes of the working groups’ work were recommendations in the form of questions an institution should ask itself in the context of its own Qa procedures. among the questions were, for example: how do you engage students in creative reflection on their learning experience, and how is dialogue and feedback ensured? how do you take account of creative ideas in curriculum development from a range of sources, such as students, staff in all roles (teaching and non teaching) and external stakeholders? during the seminar the participants explored the relevance of the recommendations to their institutional context. Following the work of the two seminars, the steering committee agreed upon the final list of questions to be tested. the questions were not designed to constitute a survey questionnaire to be answered by the participating institutions – rather they were meant as the basis and stimulus of a self-reflection exercise. In order to keep the work required from each participant manageable and to allow proper self-reflection, each participant received a package of five questions and was expected to select two questions within this package. Question 1 was to lead to a presentation, self-assessment and possibly further enhancement of an existing, successful practice. Question 2 was to lead participants to implement a new practice. the aims were to reflect on this issue with regard to current practices in place, to then develop a new practice, test/ implement it and report on the first experiences and (if possible) on the results achieved. the experiences of the testing phase and practices were shared among the participants through reports that were posted on a common platform for all other participants to read. the third seminar, which took place in maynooth, Ireland, in February 2009, was dedicated to analysing participants’ experiences with the draft methodology and with the practices implemented, as well as formulating recommendations for the project publication. as the discussions progressed it became evident that although the questions used during the testing phase did raise important issues regarding the project theme, such as the importance of an institutional strategy and student involvement as well as the curriculum development process, they did not quite work as a methodology or as a basis for a set of recommendations. thus, a new set of recommendations with a slightly different approach was developed5. the reports produced by the participants and various discussions during the seminars have all contributed to the contents of the following chapters of the report. this report has been prepared by the consortium partners after the last seminar under the supervision of the project steering committee. 4 the cartoons of mr sanders also illustrate this publication. 5 the questions utilised during the testing phase, however, can be consulted in annex 4. should an organisation be interested in using them as a self-reflection tool, it should aim to ask how it is succeeding in doing what is being asked and how/if it could improve its activities related to the question in hand in order to further enhance creativity. 11 Quality assurance and creativity 3 © Patrick Sanders, [email protected] The most important condition for institutional creativity – one that was underlined repeatedly during the project – is the attitude of the institutional management and leadership. Without the commitment of the leadership, isolated or individual initiatives to create or enhance institutional creativity do not succeed.6 The attitude of the leadership in encouraging creativity is always important, but it does become especially vital when an innovation has resulted in a pilot that is then established as an institution-wide practice, as is the case in most of our case examples annexed to this report. The moment of proceeding from innovation and piloting a new practice to routine is crucial: how to maintain the quality and innovative nature of a practice when it is no longer only conducted by committed and enthusiastic pioneers who are typical key factors of a successful pilot phase? At this point motivational support as well as proper resources allocated by the leadership is essential to the success and sustainability of the process. creativity is contextual; what is creative in one environment and situation might not be in another. therefore, unsurprisingly, creativity has as many definitions as there are people discussing it. the Encyclopedia Britannica, for instance, defines it as “the ability to make or otherwise bring into existence something new, whether a new solution to a problem, new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.” this definition is in line with the list of characteristics of creativity identified in Eua’s creativity project: originality, appropriateness, future orientation and problem-solving ability (Eua 2007a: 17). related definitions have been given to creativity and innovative practices in the numerous books and articles aimed at capturing the essence of these concepts and explaining how to foster and achieve them in the knowledge society that highlights the importance of and is dependent upon creativity and innovation. 3.1. INSTITUTIONAL CREATIvITy ON ThE ONE hANd… one common way to deal with the various kinds of creativity is to define it as an individual characteristic, a collective or institutional feature. (Eua 2007a: 16). Individual creativity of staff members or students as well as collective creativity, that is, one born through their interactions, is usually considered to come naturally to the academe. In this report we will focus on institutional creativity, “which refers to the conditions promoting creative organisations” (Eua 2007a: 16). such creativity does not only depend on the characteristics of the individuals involved, but does demand work, commitment and is a conscious choice made by the institutional community. however, considering the nature of hEIs – the main activities being research and teaching which aim to create and disseminate new knowledge – one would expect it to be an obvious, albeit, conscious choice. 6 It is worth noting, however, that even without institutional creativity, individual creativity can flourish. this is where we come to the eternal question regarding for instance the current rankings. In many rankings, institutions are merited for nobel prize winners working in these institutions, but often it is unclear if these scientific discoveries have been made thanks to or in spite of the conditions within the institution. 12 Leadership alone, however, does not guarantee institutional creativity. It can create preconditions for such a development, but in the end it is the community – academic and administrative staff as well as students – of an HEI that needs to be both willing and able to take advantage of the opportunities offered to exercise their creativity. Like quality culture, creativity needs a bottom- up as much as a top-down approach in order to be (and stay) vibrant. As the network on creative teaching and learning of the EUA Creativity project described it: “… universities with a renowned “creative” profile with a focus on interdisciplinary project work and group work are more likely to attract students and staff open to creative solutions, whereas our discussions in the network showed that more traditional universities face a greater challenge when motivating students and staff to explore alternative and innovative ways of teaching and learning. Thus, institutions already having built a “creative” profile will have an easier task, because students and staff will be expecting and demanding this and play an active part in the realization of this potential. There is a self-reinforcing mechanism built in here.” (Jensen and Christensen 2006: 9) In the light of these two dimensions to fostering creativity – leadership- and grassroots-driven – it is interesting to analyse Table 1 presented below. The table identifies the key components of creativity and distinguishes drivers and enablers of creativity as they were developed during the project. One could argue that it is the role of the leadership to provide the enablers of creativity – that is, a culture of trust and critical self-reflection, space and time, etc. – and members of the community to find the drivers in themselves – curiosity, desire to improve, etc. However, in the case of HEIs, local ‘ownership’ is often considered even more crucial to creativity and thus the project participants concluded that, for instance, collaboration and collegiality are important in the process of developing appropriate frameworks and institutional drivers to underpin individual work. The ideas in Table 1 helped to develop the recommendations presented later in the publication and underpin principles behind the recommendations7. Quality assurance and creativity 3 Nature of creativity Drivers of creativity Enablers of creativity Context-dependent Need to change (Earned) trust Paradigm breaking Curiosity Space (Managed) risk taking Problem solving Critical self-reflection Shared vision Desire to improve Openness – culture of sharing Target oriented Enhancement of pursuit of excellence Collaboration Respect of diversity Incentives Appropriate QA Framework Table 1: Key components, drivers and enablers of creativity as developed during the project. 7 see chapter 4. 13 3.2. …ANd QUALITy ASSURANCE ON ThE OThER hANd… Through a combination of participants from HEIs and QA agencies, the project aimed to explore both the internal quality assurance mechanisms of HEIs and the external processes carried out by the QA agencies. The diversity of QA procedures (and even how QA is defined) were very apparent issues from the start and set the framework for the project. During the project, it was a deliberate decision to use quality assurance in the broad meaning of the term, including in practice all elements of a strong quality culture of a HEI. Internal QA in the context of this report should not be understood merely as specific quality monitoring (such as process descriptions, data collection and analysis) or evaluation processes often carried out by a specific quality unit, but including all activities related to defining, assuring and enhancing the quality of an HEI from strategic planning to staff and curriculum development. For example, the curriculum development process is an essential element for assuring the quality of HE learning and teaching and its importance has been highlighted by the curriculum restructuring carried out in European HEIs in recent years, as part of the Bologna Process. Monitoring and evaluation processes alone, with no link to the curriculum development process, do not guarantee the quality of higher education. Through the choice of understanding quality assurance as quality culture, the project also intended to highlight the importance of a bottom-up approach to the development of genuine quality processes which enhance creativity as much as improve quality. Key success factors for a well-functioning internal quality assurance system identified by EUA’s Quality Culture project were strategic planning, appropriate organisational structures for quality assurance, commitment of the institution’s senior leadership, engagement of the staff and students, involvement of external stakeholders and well organised data collection and analysis (EUA 2006). This list per se demonstrates that QA activities should not be considered as a separate activity carried out by specific person(s), but that a concern for quality should permeate and be embedded in all activities of the institution and be the responsibility of each and everyone. In recent years, the European higher education landscape has witnessed a rise of student involvement in developing education and its quality. Student participation in quality assurance has been one of the key priorities in the European QA discussion (see for example EUA 2007b and EUA 2009) and it has progressed in recent years (ESU 2009: 49). The role of the students is particularly central when discussing creativity and innovation in teaching and learning, which in the end largely depends on the interaction of the teacher and students. As HEIs develop their QA processes and adopt new approaches to teaching, it is good to revisit observations made by the network on teaching and learning of EUA’s Creativity project: “In some settings the teacher will have the traditional role as provider of knowledge organised systematically by the teacher. In other settings the teacher’s role will be that of facilitator, instructor or mediator. In these settings the learner will have the role as researcher and organiser of their own and other’s working process. When entering higher education students are not necessarily sufficiently prepared for these roles and the high degree of participation and responsibility required – depending of their previous educational experiences. Thus, it is crucial that the university provides the right settings which step by step encourage and engage the students and provide the possibility of practising these roles which are essential for developing the feeling of co-ownership.” (Jensen and Christensen 2006: 10)