Aragon Agency for Quality Assurance and Strategic Foresight in Higher Education (ACPUA)

The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the Aragon Agency for Quality Assurance and Strategic Foresight in Higher Education (ACPUA) 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 in June 2021.

Background and context

ACPUA is a public body that was created in 2005 and started operating in 2006. Since its foundation by Law of the Aragon Parliament, the Agency is the main instrument in the region for the assurance and promotion of quality in higher education. According to the law, the purpose of Agency is double: an evaluation, certification and accreditation mission, as well as the promotion of continuous enhancement, reflection and innovation in the university system. While it main activities focus on Aragon, the Agency is also active at national (Spanish) and international level.

ACPUA performs its functions objectively, impartially and independently, recognised and guaranteed by law. It is governed by its own bylaws, approved in 2006 (Decree 239/2006, of 4 December).

ACPUA mainly develops technical quality assurance activities, such as evaluation, assessment, certification and accreditation. This public service is complemented with strategic foresight and research, as well as with activities to promote a culture of quality in higher education within the region. Consequently, the ACPUA activities can be classified in three main areas:

  • Quality assurance evaluations and reviews: programmes, institutions and research. In the last four years new evaluations tasks have been strongly developed within each of these areas (e.g. programme initial accreditation, since 2107; institutional accreditation, since 2018; certification ODS/Agenda 2030, since 2020).
  • Strategic foresight activities through the production of reports to support higher education policy decisions upon request of the Aragon Government, as well as research and prospective studies.
  • Outreach activities for the promotion of quality culture and internationalization in higher education (notably through seminars, networks and events).

A cross-cutting concern in all ACPUA activities is the development of links between university, institutional decision-making bodies, sustainable productive areas and society. Following recommendations of the ENQA review of ACPUA carried out in 2016, the Agency has increased the stakeholder participation in its work. ACPUA wants to build up its strength. The new Strategic Plan (2019-2022) provides a roadmap to implement collaborative networks (not only with other national and international university systems, but also with other educational levels) and exchanges with stakeholders committed with the future of higher education in Europe.

ACPUA has been a member of ENQA since 2016 and is applying for ENQA renewal of membership.

ACPUA has been registered on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) since 2016 and is applying for renewal of EQAR registration.

Review process

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

Review panel
The panel is composed of the following members:

  • Padraig Walsh, Chief Executive, Quality and Qualifications Ireland – Chair, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Ewa Kolanowska, Freelance consultant, Poland – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Carmen Fenoll, Full Professor of Plant Physiology, Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain – Panel member, academic (EUA nominee)
  • Aleksandar Šušnjar, PhD Student in Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Rijeka, Croatia – Panel member, student (ESU nominee, member of the European Students’ Union Quality Assurance Student Experts Pool)

You can read ACPUA’s self-assessment report on their website here.

This review is being coordinated by Milja Homan.