National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes (ANVUR)
The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes (ANVUR) 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 Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes (ANVUR), established by the Presidential Decree 76/2010, is an independent public body which, among its various tasks, oversees the national public quality assessment system for public and private universities and is responsible for the institutional and programme assessment and accreditation.
The QA system has been introduced in Italy by the Law 240/2010 and the Legislative Decree n. 19/2012. Following this legislation, the Agency has developed its own assessment criteria, methodologies and procedures to fulfill its tasks, in strict adherence to Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
To date, the higher education institutions participating to the system are 97, divided as follows: 61 public universities, 19 private universities, 11 private distance-universities (e-learning programmes only), 6 special tertiary education schools.
The QA system is called AVA (Autovalutazione, Valutazione periodica, Accreditamento – Self-assessment, Periodic Evaluation, Accreditation) and is operational since 2013. AVA provides for the self-assessment by programmes and institutions, concerning their internal procedures and the outcomes of their activities, and an external assessment of the quality assurance systems by ANVUR, based on site visits and document analysis. In its institutional assessment, ANVUR performs inter alia a detailed examination of a sample of Departments and programmes. In each institution the internal Quality Assurance (QA) key actors are the following: the Nucleo di Valutazione (Independent Evaluation Unit), the Commissioni paritetiche docenti-studenti (Joint Teaching-Student Committees), the Presidio di Qualità (Unit responsible for the internal QA system).
Moreover, ANVUR carries out other activities concerning tertiary education programmes and institutions; however, these tasks are assigned by specific pieces of legislation, which do not refer to QA and to the ESG. More specifically, accreditation of PhD Programmes takes place through an analysis of a number of indicators, concerning the research quality of the PhD Board and the overall scientific profile of the project. Accreditation of Post Graduate Medical Schools, on the other hand, it is a complex process, involving different actors, including: the Ministry of Health; its agency, AGENAS, which is in charge of assessing the quality of the medical facilities of the Schools; the Ministry of Education and Research; ANVUR, which is in charge of evaluating the scientific quality of the Schools’ Board. Finally, the Institutional and Programme Accreditation of Arts and Music Institutions is limited to a specific subset of institutions or programmes.
ANVUR has been an affiliate of ENQA since September 2013 and is applying for ENQA membership. ANVUR is also applying for registration on EQAR.
This review, will evaluate the way in which and to what extent ANVUR 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 ANVUR should be reconfirmed and to EQAR to support ANVUR application to the register.
The review panel is not expected, however, to make any judgements as regards granting membership.
The panel is composed of the following members:
- Tue Vinther-Jorgensen, Chief Consultant, The Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Denmark – Chair, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
- Laura Beccari, International Affairs Officer and Project Manager, Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ), Switzerland – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
- Maria del mar Campins Eritja, Associate Professor in Public International Law, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain – academic (EUA nominee)
- Ignas Gaižiūnas, Master’s student in Physics, study programme Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, Vilnius University, Lithuania – Student (ESU nominee)