Agency for the Quality of the Basque University System (Unibasq)

The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the Agency for the Quality of the Basque University System (Unibasq) fulfills the criteria for ENQA membership and thus the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The evaluation is scheduled to finish April 2019.

Background and context

The Agency for Quality of the Basque University System (Unibasq – Agencia de Calidad del Sistema Universitario Vasco/Euskal Unibertsitate Sistemaren Kalitate Agentzia) is a state owned body governed by private law attached to the Basque Government’s department responsible for universities, dedicated to promote the innovation and improvement in the Basque University System (University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Deusto University and Mondragon University), satisfying international quality standards and attending the society interest in higher education.

The object of the agency is the evaluation, accreditation and certification of quality in the Basque University System, taking into consideration its Spanish, European and international dimensions. The agency may also carry out evaluation, accreditation and certification activities at universities and higher education institutions outside the Basque Autonomous Community within the context of the European Higher Education Area, on the basis of prior agreements signed with other agencies, universities or educational authorities outside the Basque Autonomous Community.

The evaluation, accreditation and certification procedures of the agency must be oriented towards their permanent adaptation to social demand, the permanent need for quality at universities and the continuous improvement of higher education.

The agency acts independently and objectively in the performance of its evaluation, accreditation and certification activities. The evaluation committees act fully independently and the result of their assessments cannot be changed by any other body of the agency.

The standards and procedures used, which are established and published by the agency, must be objective and in line with those used internationally.

The agency performs the following functions in order to achieve its purpose in accordance with the competencies entrusted to it by the legislation in force, while at the same time respecting the competencies of the Basque Government and of other evaluation agencies as well as the autonomy of universities:

  1. Evaluation and accreditation of teaching and research staff.
  2. Evaluation of study programmes at universities.
  3. Evaluation of individual research merits of academic staff for the purpose of allocating to them additional remuneration, accrediting them in accordance with the competencies attributed to the agency by law, and assessing the achievement of the research objectives set by the Basque Government.
  4. Institutional evaluation and certification.
  5. Advice on matters regarding the quality of the Basque university system.
  6. Any other matter related to the agency’s purpose and area of activity that may be entrusted to it by the governmental department responsible for universities.

In order to fulfil these functions, the agency signed its first multi-annual programme contract in 2016, in line with its strategic plan 2016-2019, with the department responsible for universities of the Basque Government, in which its funding linked to the fulfilment of certain objectives was established. The agency must provide information on an annual basis about the expenditure incurred and the extent of fulfilment of the aforementioned objectives.

Regarding the international dimension, in addition of being part of ENQA and listed in EQAR, Unibasq is member of INQAAHE and ECA.

Unibasq has been a member of ENQA since 15 September 2014 and is reapplying for renewal of membership.

Unibasq has been registered on EQAR since 29 November 2014 and is applying for renewal of the registration.

Review process

This review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent Unibasq fulfils the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Consequently, the review will provide information to the ENQA Board to aid its consideration of whether membership of Unibasq should be reconfirmed and to EQAR to support Unibasq application to the register.

The review panel is not expected, however, to make any judgments as regards granting membership.

Review panel
The panel is composed of the following members:

  • Teresa Sanchez, Assistant Professor, UPM – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain – Chair, quality assurance profession/academic (ENQA nominee)
  • Pieter-Jan Van de Welde, Independent consultant, Co-director, Trividend (a social impact investment fund), Belgium – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Simona Lache, Professor, PhD Supervisor, Vice-rector for Internationalization and Quality Evaluation, Transilvania University of Brasov, Romanian Agency of Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS), Romania – Quality assurance professional/academic (EUA nominee)
  • Dale Whelehan, PhD candidate in Medical Education, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Ireland – Student (ESU nominee)

Unibasq’s self-assessment report is available here.

This review is being coordinated by Paula Ranne.