January 2014


Activities in 2014

Editorial board - AQU Catalunya

Approval for the Agency's Action Plan for 2014 was given on 17 December 2013 by the Board of Management of AQU Catalunya, the drawing up of which was not easy as the current scenario calls for extreme caution when taking on any new activities that imply an associated economic cost. This however did not prevent the Agency from being more daring and innovative in all of the other activities in which resources were freed up or, at the same time, from focusing on matters that provide increasing added value to the Catalan university system.

One thing however that was a clear intention when the Plan was being drawn up was to know how to read and interpret the input received from both within and outside of the Catalan university system, so as to not get over-inflated from our pride regarding past successes, nor to trip over our short-sightedness out of routine.

The new Action Plan, as to being a break with the past, follows on from the previous plan and for this reason is based on the trajectory already established for the Agency by the different management teams of AQU Catalunya, together with new lines of work that will constitute key parts of the Strategic Plan for AQU Catalunya for 2014-2017, which is to be drawn up this year.

The activities are organised into six strategic areas: Programmes of Study, Quality of Teaching Staff, Knowledge Generation, Internationalisation, Strategic Management and Communication and Internal Organisation.

With regard to Programmes of Study, work will continue with the implementation of the Framework for the validation, monitoring, modification and accreditation of recognised university degree programmes (VSMA Framework). This will undoubtedly be the year in which the external site visits begin to take place in preparation for the procedure of programme accreditation. AQU Catalunya and the universities have so far set site visits in the case of around thirty faculties.

Within this same strategic area, the AUDIT programme's certification process is starting in order to minimise to a considerable extent the process of programme validation and modification by faculties that are duly certified, in line with developments set out in the European standards (ESG). While this process is being prepared, a series of measures is to be applied to reduce the intensity of programme validation to enable efforts to be focused on the site visits and programme accreditation at faculty level. Another important difference is that AQU Catalunya is laying the groundwork to establish collaboration agreements with international agencies that issue quality labels for degrees and qualifications in specific fields, in order to fulfil any demands from the universities in this respect. These cases will be integrated into the Agency's standard processes of external visits and accreditation.

With regard to Quality of Teaching Staff, the pre-selection assessment of teaching staff by the universities is to be maintained, as well as the evaluation of merits in research, teaching and management. Of particular note this year is the start of the study on the profiles of tenure-track, senior and professorial staff from the profiles of accredited staff, which should publicly provide guidance to all stakeholders, in particular the academic staff involved.

Knowledge Generation is to be consolidated, as this is a key strategic area that generates added value for Catalan universities. The fifth survey of the labour market outcomes/destinations of graduates is accordingly to be launched, new developments of which are: that it will provide information on Master's programmes; a employers' survey, funded from external sources, which will provide the university system with information on the opinions of employers on the labour market outcomes/destinations of graduates; and the analysis of the outcomes of the student satisfaction survey, which for the first time will be incorporated into programme review through the WINDDAT indicators system.

AQU Catalunya is also to begin the design of a model to be used in the faculty diagnosis of Catalan universities, the objective being to obtain an initial overview of faculty structure and profile in the universities and identify aspects that can or need to be improved and/or enhanced.

In the strategic area of Internationalisation, in addition to continuing to collaborate with agreed projects, an analysis is to be started, together with the universities in Catalonia, of tools and instruments used by AQU Catalunya that can reinforce the position (enhanced "fitness for purpose") of the Catalan university system within the context of both Europe and worldwide, together with a higher level of cooperation.

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All together, one third of the fifty (50) activities envisaged in the Action Plan are new and will require considerable effort to be successfully carried out. In order to comply with this Plan, in addition to the resources allocated by AQU Catalunya, it will also be necessary to collaborate closely with and receive the support of the universities and the Executive Council of the Catalan Government (Govern de la Generalitat de Catalunya).


Generalitat de Catalunya

c/. dels Vergós, 36-42. 08017 Barcelona. Tel.: +34 93 268 89 50

© 2014 AQU Catalunya - Legal number B-21.910-2008