January 2017


2017: Ever more challenges!

Josep Joan Moreso - President

Each year, we start out with renewed energy and new ideas and projects that we want to accomplish. These are all set out in the Action Plan endorsed previously by AQU Catalunya's Governing Board and carried out practically in their entirety (our level of implementation of the Action Plan is normally above 90%).

2017 looks set to be a challenging year, with some challenges that we are already aware of and others that are new.

One that stands out because of its importance and transcendence, and that we have been very aware of, is the third external review of the Agency's compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, or ESG, which follows on from two previous reviews in 2007 and 2012. This review, which all European agencies must successfully undergo once every five years in order to continue being a full member of ENQA and registered with EQAR, is key to guaranteeing fulfilment of the desired objectives of the ESG in Europe, which are fully aligned with strengthening the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and promoting mobility within and beyond national borders.

Another challenge that we aware of is completion of the first cycle of programme accreditation across the university system in Catalonia. Since 2014 AQU Catalunya has undertaken external site visits to institutions running approximately 500 study programmes: 10% were given conditional accreditation (with prescriptions), 71% were accredited and 18% were accredited with excellence. The results of the reviews are available on the EUC and EUC Informes websites.

Another challenge is undertaking the sixth survey of the employment outcomes of the graduate population of Catalan universities. Taking in a population of more than 30,000 graduates from all the universities in Catalonia, 31 affiliated faculties and schools and including for the first time a pilot covering institutions that offer higher studies leading to recognised Bachelor degree-equivalent awards in the Visual and Performing Arts, the 2017 survey represents a cornerstone to improving and enhancing programmes of study across the university system in Catalonia.

In tandem with this, with support from the Government of Catalonia/Generalitat de Catalunya and La Caixa Foundation, the Agency will also carry out the second survey of employers' opinions regarding the employability and skills of recent graduates in Catalonia, which will cover more sectors, including Engineering, Biosciences, Legal Services and Humanities, among others. The ultimate objective of this survey is programme improvement and to forge closer links between employers and universities.

New challenges for 2017 that we are looking forward to dealing with firmly but gradually include:

The methodological approach for the institutional accreditation of university faculties and schools. The universities bear the primary responsibility for the quality of programme provision and the aim of AQU Catalunya is to facilitate institutions that are prepared with orientation towards self-accreditation, as set out in the VSMA Framework (2016).

At strategic level a contract-programme needs to be drawn up to establish the framework for relations between the Government of Catalonia/Generalitat de Catalunya's Administration, through the Secretariat for Universities and Research, and AQU Catalunya in order to clarify the commitments of the two parties during the four years of the contract's validity.

2017 will also see the implementation of e-NOTUM, a service for the electronic notification of teaching assessment procedures (calls for applications for different teaching staff categories, 6-year research quality premiums, etc.) with all legal guarantees laid down in prevailing legislation.

 This year we will also be issuing the profiles (categories of pre/non-career grade tenure-track lecturer, senior lecture and professor) of candidates who successfully undergo assessment and review in calls for applications by AQU Catalunya. The aim of these profiles will be to orientate prospective candidates in subsequent assessment and review procedures.

And lastly, in response to the demand for places on the Serra Hunter Programme, a procedure is to be set in place for the assessment of pre/non-career grade tenure-track teaching staff who form part of the tenure-track stabilisation programme.
As you can see, 2017 is going to be a full-on year that calls for lots of intense work, interesting work, that will be fully worthwhile for the positive impact it has on higher education and the university system in Catalonia.


Generalitat de Catalunya

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

© 2017 AQU Catalunya - Legal number B-21.910-2008