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Quality Culture Project - Round I


The network discussions all throughout the project have been rich and useful and participating institutions have demonstrated great enthusiasm and commitment. Networks identified the principles, goals and structures needed for creating a quality culture (e.g., the need to integrate student support services) and gaps in university service units (e.g., for research management and support, , benchmarking, staff development, internationalisation and institutional communication).

Conclusions pointed to the following issues:

  • As a multi-faceted concept, quality is difficult to define and must be contextualised.
  • Success factors for effectively embedding a quality culture include the centrality of institutional governance and leadership (vs. management) and the importance of strategic thinking. This implies that the central leadership must have the capacity to steer the institution in order to ensure consistency of standards and avoid replication of activities and services.
  • A definition of quality as excellence and the aspiration of demonstrating it on an international level are associated with a higher degree of institutional autonomy. Less autonomous institutions have a narrow international perspective that is confined to accreditation and leads to a compliance-driven and less effective internal quality culture.
  • Institutions that demonstrate a more mature and effective internal quality culture (i.e. a less bureaucratic approach, interest in improvement rather than in the mechanistic and controlling aspects of quality monitoring) are those that enjoy a higher degree of autonomy.

Report on the Quality Culture Project, Round I (2002-2003)


Fifty institutions participated in the first round of the Quality Culture Project. They represented 29 countries that covered the geographical span of EUA membership, with a spectrum of institutional size, type, "age", organisational structure and culture. They were grouped into six small networks working on the following themes:

  • Network 1: Research Management
  • Network 2: Teaching and Learning
  • Network 3: Student Support Services
  • Network 4: Implementing Bologn
  • Network 5: Collaborative Arrangements
  • Network 6: Communication Flow and Decision-Making Structures

List of participating institutions.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
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Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

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Tel: +41 22 552 02 96