Bilateral collaborations with national quality assurance and accreditation agencies


An alternative to an accreditation process conducted solely by MusiQuE is for MusiQuE to operate in collaboration with a national quality assurance and accreditation agency through a merged set of standards and procedures. This option is especially attractive for institutions wishing to engage with a subject-specific and internationally-based quality enhancement process but obliged to conform to national requirements not allowing MusiQuE to conduct these processes on its own. The basis of such collaborative accreditation processes is that of a participation of equals. Both MusiQuE and national quality assurance agencies have their own strengths, expertise and accumulated history; it makes obvious sense to combine these in a complementary way.

As part of the preparations for a collaborative process, a comparison is made of the national agency’s standards with those of MusiQuE.  Arising out of this exercise, a merged set of standards is produced ensuring that no aspect found in either of the separate standards is omitted.  Generally, the level of correspondence between standards is found to be high and the comparison process results in enhanced mutual trust and, from time to time, a productive sharing of practice.
 

Objectives

  • To provide the opportunity for higher music education institutions who are obliged to work within their national system (or who find benefits in doing so) to choose to be evaluated through a process which is nevertheless informed in both its design and delivery by those with specialist knowledge and understanding of such institutions
  • To offer a process that, while it may largely follow national patterns, is intrinsically international in its outlook and in the range of countries from which experts are drawn
  • While observing appropriate formality in the proceedings, to stimulate a process of internal reflection on quality issues and to bring fresh ideas and wider perspectives into institutions, encouraging the principle of ‘many correct answers’
  • To deliver a process which, although its primary purpose may be to fulfil a legislative requirement, can be of genuine benefit and enhancement to the institution, its teachers and students, both in the debate and reflection it stimulates and in the changes that it may initiate.
 

Process

  • Following an approach from a higher education institution expressing the wish that it do so, MusiQuE will contact the relevant national evaluation or accreditation agency to explore a possible cooperation for a specific procedure.
  • A feasibility study will usually be undertaken during which the agencies will compare their practices (Can both sets of standards be merged?, What are the requirements set by each agency for the institutional self-evaluation report?, How are reviewers appointed by each agency and what kind of reviewers´ profiles are looked for?, Who is in charge of writing the report in each agency? etc.). 
  • If agreement can be reached on all points, a Cooperation Agreement will then be signed, stating the roles and responsibilities of each agency.
  • The basis on which judgments are made will have been determined in advance as part of the cooperation agreement and will be informed by the national legal system.The process itself will then be implemented according to the procedure that has been agreed.
 

Outcome

  • The precise outcome will depend upon the nature of the cooperation but will always take the form of a report.
  • The report will either be written by international specialists in the relevant musical fields or will receive strong input from them.
  • Although terminology may vary, the report will conclude with a call for accreditation without any recommendations or conditions, accreditation with recommendations only or accreditation subject to certain conditions, whether on their own or in addition to recommendations.
  • The fulfilment of any conditions will usually be subject to the procedures of the national agency.
  • As with MusiQuE’s own processes, there will generally be a possibility that accreditation might be withheld when conditions are not met in the timeframe set, in which case, appropriate remedial steps would be outlined.


Cooperation with National Agencies

MusiQuE has cooperated with the following National Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agencies: