The impact of international trends in doctoral education

Quality assurance in doctoral school
Dr. Thomas Ekman Jørgensen
6 December 2013
ECOOM Colloquium, The use of indicators
for research evaluation purposes
Hasselt University
Doctoral Education in Europe
Doctoral education has expanded significantly over
the last decade
 50%-100% increases in graduations are not uncommon
There has been increasing political attention
 Inclusion in the Bologna Process 2003
 Salzburg Principles 2005 – Salzburg II 2010
 Increased importance for EU research policies
• Innovation Union 2010
• Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training 2011
 National legislation
Universities have responded
Since 2005, we have seen a ’quiet revolution’ in
doctoral education
 Professional management: The Rise of the
doctoral school
• 30 % of universities had a doctoral school in 2007
• 65 % in 2009*
• 85% EUA ERA survey 2013
Reform of doctoral programmes
 Transferable skills
 Mobility components
 Quality Assurance
EUA Council for Doctoral Education – a
response to the changes
EUA – European
University Association
850 universities and
rectors’ conferences in
47 countries
Developing evidencebased policies
Advocating these
Promoting development
of universities as
Council for Doctoral
Education (CDE)
a membership service
focused on doctoral
Development of doctoral
Doctorate-specific policy
223 members in 35
countries (from Faro to
CDE activities
- EU and global
and policy
Membership activities
- Events, Doctoral
Education Bulletin,
networking and projects
Salzburg Principles and recommendations
Salzburg Principles from 2005 – outcomes of an
EUA-led project and a Bologna seminar
 The doctorate is research-based
 Importance of institutional strategies
 Diversity
Salzburg recommendations 2010 – from
consultations with CDE members
 Research as the ’basis and the difference’ from the other two
 Space for individual development
 Autonomy for the institution to choose mission and strategy
and to set up the appropriate structures
Salzburg II on QA
“It is necessary to develop specific systems for quality
assurance [for doctoral education]... there is a strong
link between the assessment of the research of the
institution and the assessment of the research
environments that form the basis of doctoral education.”
Development of systems that combine quality of research,
quality of structures and take into account ”the professional
development of the researcher as well as the
progress of the research project.”
Convergence between doctoral education and
QA has been closely linked to the creation of the EHEA
 Focus on 1st and 2nd cycle
 Establishment of a quality culture (shared values and
structures to enhance quality)
Doctoral Education has been reformed through doctoral
schools as part of the professional management
 Close to the research mission of universities
 Procedures have been established, but not directly labelled as
Common basic elements: Accountability and quality
Quality Culture
We are in a period where quality culture in doctoral
education is moving from a ’professional’ to an ’integrated
Quality culture and indicators
KPIs are good for a quick overview
However, quality only makes sense in a context,
and so do indicators
Indicators should reflect qualitative as well as
quantitative characteristics
Importantly, they need to be part of a feedback
loop for quality enhancement
Two sides of quality in doctoral education
Academic quality
Critical mass of research (Salzburg II):
 ”Europe’s universities have developed diverse
strategies to assure critical mass and diversity,
building their areas of strength through focused
research strategies and engaging in larger research
networks, collaborations or regional clusters”
Indicators could be bibliometrics, external
funding, qualifications of staff (Poland), size of
programmes (Italy), output/impact/environment
Academic quality II
Academic quality needs an inclusive research
 Doctoral candidates need to be part of the
excellent research
 Measured through student satisfaction (to be used
Supervision as the main factor
 Good supervision is central to the quality culture
 Most universities have rules and/or guidelines for
good supervision
 Professional development of supervisors is a
Indicators for academic quality (ARDE Survey)
Procedural quality
Linked to the professional management of
doctoral education
Are the rules transparent and efficient?
 Who gets admitted, how long should it take, how is
the outcome evaluated?
Is there accountability?
 If something does not work, who is responsible?
 How do we fix it?
Indicators could be satisfaction, time to degree
and completion rate
Satisfaction with procedures (ARDE Survey)
What do rules and guidelines for supervision
contain? (ARDE Survey)
What are the sanctions? (ARDE Survey)
The ’life-cycle’ of doctoral education:
Thesis defence
The thesis committee is composed
The thesis committee is established
The supervisor
Members from the
institution of the doctoral
Members from outside
the institution of the
doctoral candidate
Academic body
board/academic council)
a mix of the above
Other (please specify)
Other (please specify)
Indicators for procedural quality (ARDE Survey)
Universities have set up structures to deal with
academic and procedural quality
We do not know much about how these are
connected to quality enhancement
... And do they promote a quality culture?
The road goes ever on...
Upcoming and ongoing activities connected to
doctoral education
Workshop: ”The Outcomes of Doctoral Education”
– Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir Turkey 23-24
January 2014
Conference: ”The Global Doctorate” – University
of Liverpool, UK, 19-20 June 2014
Publication on the European Research Area –
Spring 2014
Thank you for your attention

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