I've just returned from a few days in Averio, Portugal to meet with other partners in our EU-funded Sharing Practice in Enhancing and Assuring Quality (SPEAQ) project. It was a good time to meet as we are about to enter Phase 2 of the project. We have worked together to develop the quality workshop (for which the files will be made available on the SPEAQ website in the New Year)
and gathered interview data from students and staff in our institutions. In the second phase each project partner will be carryout a quality-related project in their own institution which builds on previous findings. I will be a position to say more about the Southampton project in the New Year, but the overall essence of the project is about enabling teaching staff, students and quality managers to take ownership of quality. One of the consistent findings of the partners (as I alluded to in my thoughts about the EQAF conference in Tallinn) is that quality assurance as understood by quality professionals is very different from that of academic staff and students. This 'separation' persists up to the highest levels of university managers where at the second or third tier of seniority one person will be ultimately responsible for quality assurance and another for Education. It is interesting to see that despite the diversity of quality assurance regimes throughout Europe this dichotomy is the norm rather than the exception.