The Evaluation of European Universities

The European University Association recently published Trends 2015: Learning and Teaching in European Universities, a report that presents universities’ observations on the changes in learning and teaching that have occurred in European higher education over the past five years.

Building on Trends 2010, Trends 2015 is based on survey responses from more than 450 higher-education institutions in 46 countries.

The report is divided into five sections: The changed context; European and national policy agendas; Institutional strategies and the changing student population; Learning and teaching in Europe; and Universities in the next decade. Key findings include:

  • The increased importance of internationalisation and the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the development and improvement of learning and teaching.
  • Changing conceptions of teaching: 57% of institutions state that introducing new teaching methods is important. In addition, more than half state that they take into account advances in research and opinions of professors and professional associations when revising their curricula.
  • Staff policies: Almost 60% of institutions confirm a growing recognition of the importance of education. This has resulted in policies focusing on international staff recruitment, academic experience gained at other institutions and the internationalisation of staff through staff mobility.

Changes in the learning environment:

  • The improvement of equipment, libraries and learning centres and the creation of common spaces for students and faculty, as well as learning and teaching centres, seem fairly common according to the opinions of the institutions, although it is difficult to assess the extent of these changes based on the survey.
  • The variety of activities developed by institutions confirms the existence of institutional strategies to support students through academic orientation and advice or through classes designed to bring secondary-school graduates up to the level of introductory course work in higher education.
  • Student participation in governance is prevalent almost everywhere (though more at faculty than at central level) and many institutions provide support for activities led by students and volunteer engagement in the local community.

With 850 members from 47 countries, the European University Association is the largest organisation representing universities in Europe. Currently, there are 17 million students enrolled in EUA member universities.

If you would like to read the entire report, you can download it here.