Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment

Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment 2017-2018

EUR has given the title of ‘Working Together on World-Class Education’ to the preparatory project for the Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment. All our faculties are currently making preparations for this second Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment to be held throughout EUR. This assessment is scheduled this Thursday and Friday (November 30th & December 1st ) and on January 17th until 19th. This newsletter from the department Algemene Bestuurszaken tells you more about the Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment.

Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment:

Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment; what does it mean for us?

The Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) will be carrying out the Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment (ITK) in December and January in order to ascertain whether Erasmus University’s quality assurance system is in order, and whether a sustainable culture of quality exists. The quality assurance system is intended to guarantee that each programme offered at Erasmus University is of a high quality. A sustainable culture of quality exists if all stakeholders, lecturers and students continually discuss their own definitions of high programme quality.

To this end, a panel from the NVAO will pay two visits to Erasmus University: one preliminary visit on 30 November and 1 December, and one visit for further investigations (‘trails’) on 17, 18 and 19 January 2018.

The Executive Board is responsible for organising the ITK.

Proud of our programme quality

The ITK is not compulsory, but if Erasmus University has this accreditation, the quality audit for both new and existing study programmes will be less intensive. The special internationalisation accreditation makes it clear to partners and students that we are an internationally oriented university, and is an important tool for testing whether we are on the right track with our strategic ambitions.

For Erasmus University, participating in the ITK is a logical step to take: we are proud of our university and the quality of the education we provide. Many of our programmes have been awarded a ‘top-quality’ hallmark and attract a great many students from all over the world. At EUR we want to project this image to the outside world as well by demonstrating that we set great store by quality and that our programmes are of a high quality.

Panel members are as follows

The panel members are as follows:
•    Mr W.J. Breebaart is a former Chairman of the Executive Board of The Hague University of Applied Sciences and Chairman of the Association of Inspectors of Universities of Applied Sciences (Chairman of the Panel).
•    Prof. H. Martens is Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Hasselt (Belgium) and honorary rector at the aforesaid University. 
•    Lennart van Doremalen MSc is a PhD student at Utrecht University.
•    Prof. J. Cohen-Schotanus is Professor of Research into Education in Medical Science and Head of the Innovation and Research Centre for Medical Education at the University of Groningen.
•    Mr M. Zaanen is Managing Director at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former Secretary at the University of Amsterdam.

On-site visits on 30 November & 1 December

The first visit is of an exploratory nature and will last for two consecutive days. The NVAO panel members will be interviewing faculty and departmental representatives on 30 November and 1 December. These representatives have been approached in consultation with the faculties.

During the interviews with the panel, we will be explaining how all our faculties are working together to achieve a characteristic educational vision. We have been discussing our educational vision at Erasmus University with student participation councils, lecturers and students during the past two years, and we have also reviewed our educational vision.

The second subject for discussion with the NVAO is how we flesh out our educational vision in our programmes. What is our approach to internationalisation, graduation rates and online learning? We will be using practical examples to explain this to the panel.

Working together to achieve quality

During the interviews on 30 November and 1 December and during their subsequent investigations in January, the panel members will be asking us to give specific examples of how we have set up quality assurance at the faculty and at institutional level. For instance, did you know that:
•    each programme is evaluated once every three years, once internally and once externally?
•    students can systematically share their experiences on each course and each programme by participating in surveys and/or discussions?
•    our Examination Boards supervise the quality of examinations every day and guarantee that they are of high quality?
•    the degree programme committees have assumed their task of actively endorsing major components in the programme this academic year?
•    we have a research programme that is able to investigate whether our education policy affects graduation rates

A dedicated Board

The Executive Board holds bilateral consultations with the faculties every year to discuss the quality of the programmes in detail. These discussions focus on the quality of education, whether all lecturers hold qualifications, and whether the degree programme committees and examination boards function properly. The discussions also examine the way in which programmes work towards internationalisation, online didactics and similar matters. 

What improvements could we make?

There is still room for improvement in spite of all the things that are going well. We could work more systematically and focus more on innovation. To this end, a number of measures have been taken, including the establishing of the Community for Learning and Innovation in 2017. At Erasmus University, faculties have a great deal of freedom. This is known as ‘interactive management philosophy’. We can enhance this by sharing best practices more systematically, not only in the CLI, but also during annual education conferences as a follow-up to our meetings on educational vision in 2016 and 2017.

Trails on 17, 18 & 19 January 2018

The second on-site visit is scheduled for 17, 18 and 19 January 2018, and will consist of trails. A trail is an investigation within a certain faculty, or an investigation as a result of a research question at several faculties. The panel will notify us of the matters they intend to investigate during these trails at the end of their first on-site visit. This means that we will only have a very short time - the month of December and the beginning of January - in which to prepare for the second visit. 

Our educational vision forms the basis

Quality assurance at Erasmus University is based on our educational vision. The core idea behind this vision is as follows: Erasmus University Rotterdam trains students to become connective world citizens who will play an active role in developing academic knowledge for society.

Our educational vision focuses on six themes:

  • A vibrant and enterprising university
  • An international university with a diversity of backgrounds
  • Focus on your graduation rates
  • Challenging and inspiring education
  • Online learning
  • High-quality academic education

We have reviewed our educational vision during the past two years.

We did this through dialogue with lecturers, students and members of student participation councils. For more information, please visit Onze Onderwijsvisie (Dutch).

Quality assurance in practice at EUR

Quality is not static; it is continually in a state of development. We work together to achieve quality by evaluating, learning and improving. A great deal of work on quality assurance is being carried out behind the scenes as well. For example, Erasmus University evaluates its educational quality using a combination of tools that give short, medium and long-term insight into implementation of its policy and into educational quality. These evaluations are carried out at programme, faculty and institutional levels. The panel will be actively discussing this during the interviews later on, and in this connection it is mainly seeking to establish the facts.

The project team responsible for preparing the assessment can be reached at if there are any questions you would like to ask