January 2015


The AQU Catalunya Strategic Plan 2015-2018

Editorial Department - AQU Catalunya

In 2001 AQU Catalunya published what was the initial blueprint for a strategic plan for the Agency in its Action Plan for quality enhancement in the university system in Catalonia for the period through until 2007. The objectives were rapidly achieved as the plan was put into effect and the activities developed. This initial experience was the outcome of a recommendation following the Agency's first international external review in accordance with the European standards and guidelines (ESG).

The first actual Strategic Plan (2009-2012) set out the mission, the main areas for the Agency's strategic thrust and the vision for each one, together with its strategic and operational objectives, and was produced by way of a broad participatory process involving both in-house and external input. The majority of the strategic and operational objectives were reasonably and efficiently achieved, and in the case of objectives where this was not possible it was due to new and changed contexts and circumstances, which made adaptation impossible.

Consistent with the need for a new Strategic Plan, in 2014 AQU Catalunya began the work of defining a new plan on the basis of the assessment of the previous Plan's performance, the internal SWOT analysis, and internal work sessions and briefings to define the new objectives for each of the Agency's main strategic areas.

The Strategic Plan was produced in four stages during 2014: the first to plan the project; the second to gather in-house information; the third to draw up the draft for the Strategic Plan and the final stage, which involved an external review by the Catalan government, the university authorities, members of the review panels, AQU advisers and former heads of the Agency.

The Strategic Plan 2015-2018 was endorsed by the AQU Board of Management on 15 December 2014.

Mission and vision

The Agency's mission, as laid out in the Strategic Plan for 2015-2018, is as follows:

The Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya, hereinafter AQU Catalunya) is a public entity with an internationally recognised status. Its mission is to assure the quality of higher education through compliance with international standards of quality and to safeguard the interests of society in the quality of higher education.

The Agency's activities are developed through:

  • External quality assurance procedures involving analysis, review, certification, audit and accreditation
  • International benchmarks and an innovation-based perspective
  • Transparency and public availability
  • The involvement of the educational community and social stakeholders
  • People who are competent, motivated and satisfied with their work and that of AQU Catalunya
  • Respect for established values

An overview of the vision for the Agency is as follows:

AQU Catalunya is an independent agent in the university system in Catalonia that supports higher education institutions with the quality assurance of study programmes, academic staff and faculties, for which institutions themselves are ultimately responsible. The focus of the Agency’s work and activities at both national and international level revolves around knowledge generation as a way to support the universities and university education in a global context.


 AQU Catalunya operates in accordance with the following series of values that was originally defined in 2009, given that they continue to be fully applicable:

  • Integrity and independence: The activities of AQU Catalunya demonstrate its independence, flexibility and equanimity, and judgments and decisions made by the Agency are fundamentally evidence-based.
  • Quality assurance: AQU Catalunya assures the quality of its activities through regular internal and external review and evaluation of its procedures in accordance with international standards.
  • User orientation: AQU Catalunya offers an efficient, personalised and fast service that is sensitive to user requirements, and it enforces the rights of users by providing information on the corresponding mechanisms.
  • Transparency and accountability: AQU Catalunya provides for transparency and has an information system that provides accessible, comprehensible and usable data on its activities and methodologies.
  • Fostering of cooperation: AQU Catalunya jointly promotes actions with higher education institutions, government authorities and other national and international agencies and bodies with similar interests.
  • Respect for diversity and university autonomy: AQU Catalunya is attentive to the pluralistic nature of higher education institutions, their full freedom to organise and run themselves and their capability for self-governance.
  • Proactivity: AQU Catalunya is proactive in developing and carrying out its actions, it anticipates the necessary requirements for its actions and it provides solutions that are in the public interest.
  • Efficacy and efficiency: AQU Catalunya achieves its objectives through the optimisation of its available human and physical resources.

Strategic areas of priority, strategic and operational objectives

In the new Strategic Plan, the Agency's strategic priorities have been simplified into six main groups, compared to eight in the previous plan, which serve as the underlying structure according to which the strategic and operational objectives are distributed:

Strategic Plan 2009-2012 Strategic Plan 2015-2018
Strategic areas Strategic areas No. strategic objectives No. operational objectives
Quality assurance of institutions and programmes Institutional quality 3 6
Quality assurance of teaching Quality of Teaching Staff and Teaching 2 5
Analysis of the higher education system Knowledge generation and transfer 3 6
External relations Internationalisation 2 5
Communication Strategic management 4 8
Direcció i organització Internal organisation 3 9
  TOTAL 17 39

Generalitat de Catalunya

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