Coordination Point

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Definition

The Coordination Point:

These tasks are examined in the sections below.

Provision of information

A survey carried out in the framework of the JOQAR project showed that a large proportion of the joint programme coordinators found external quality assurance of joint programmes challenging, and that they struggled to collect all the information required. Until now the coordinators used mainly national information sources when searching for information about external quality assurance requirements for their joint programme. This fact contradicts somehow the otherwise international characteristics of the joint programmes. The agencies too, used mainly national sources of information ( quality assurance agencies, ministries, ENICs/NARICs etc.). On the whole, the information on an overarching / European level was lacking.

A number of innovative online tools articulated in a new comprehensive joint programmes portal on the ECA website provides solutions to this challenge through a range of services: ECApedia, Qrossroads and the ECA Expert Exchange platform.

Transparent information provision regarding joint programmes is the fundamental principle of the information provision implemented by the Coordination Point.

All stakeholders including potential students are informed about all the Erasmus Mundus programmes via the Qrossroads service and the dedicated pages of the Joint programmes portal on ECApedia. The Qrossroads service integrates all programmes and institutional details into an online database with a special search function to find Erasmus_Mundus master and doctoral programmes and to search through portal web pages.

These distinct services - ECApedia, Qrossroads and ECA Expert Exchange platform –are articulated in a comprehensive portal through the ECA website. In this approach the services are simultaneously accessible in one place, share the same visual identity, and offer users a single unified login. Thanks to this common graphic identity the user benefits from the overall visual attractiveness, usability and clarity.

Furthermore, there is the opportunity for stakeholders to ask concrete questions about QA or recognition of joint programmes. The Coordination Point then forwards these questions to the appropriate contact person.

Coordination of single accreditation procedures of joint programmes

The Coordination Point:

  • Provides advice and support to joint programmes and agencies on how to carry out a single accreditation procedure of a joint programme
  • Provides a methodology and
  • Organises an exchange of good practices in this respect.
  • Carries out trainings of experts for single accreditation procedures of joint programmes

The Coordination Point cannot carry out the actual procedures itself, as these are linked to national competencies, but it links programmes and agencies together and assists the process during the three phases of the procedure: Orientation, Assessment and Decision-Making. For graphical representation, please refer to the workflow chart.

Orientation phase

Aim

Provide guidance and coordination to the interested joint programme and the involved agencies in order to establish whether the joint programme should follow the MULTRA recognition route or the single accreditation route. In the latter case – a coordinating QA agency will be found.

Implementation

During the initial stage of the orientation phase the Coordination Point provides general guidance and documentation to joint programmes and interested national quality assurance agencies through the ECAconsortium online services: Qrossroads and ECApedia.

Furthermore, the Coordination point provides specific coordination, guidance and support to joint programmes and interested national quality assurance agencies in determining whether a joint programme should undergo a MULTRA recognition or single accreditation procedure. In case the joint programme is already accredited by a signatory agency of MULTRA, it can follow a simplified procedure - the MULTRA recognition procedure and reach the transposition of the existing accreditation decision into national decisions by other involved signatories of MULTRA according to their respective legislations (please refer to the Decision-Making Phase section below and to the workflow chart).

If the joint programme has not yet been accredited or has been accredited by an agency which has not joined MULTRA yet, then the Coordination Point will assist the interested joint programme and the involved agencies in selecting the coordinating agency for the single accreditation procedure. This can be one of the involved national agencies or even a third agency having a more thorough experience in the assessment of joint programmes.

In addition, the Coordination Point makes available a list of contacts within the agencies who already have experience with the accreditation of joint programmes and who can function as mentors for others.

Means of support

  • Guidance
  • Coordination

Assessment Phase

Aim

Establish an assessment by an international panel as a basis for accreditation decisions.

Implementation

The coordinating agency requests a Self-evaluation report from the joint programme, which has to be submitted within a period of 6 months. The Coordination Point assists the involved agencies with the nomination of the experts and of the observers for the panel according to the rules of the assessment framework. The Coordination Point grants the involved agencies access to its pool of specially trained experts with sound experience of accrediting of joint programmes. The coordinating agency arranges the site visit, which takes place within a 1-2 months period after the submission of the Self-evaluation report| SER. The site visit results in an assessment report by the panel, which is sent to the coordinating agency. The coordination agency takes an official decision and communicates it together with the assessment report to the Coordination Point.

Means of support

Decision-Making Phase

Aim

Publication of the individual decisions by all involved national agencies, according to their respective national legislations

Implementation

The Coordination Point receives the decision of the coordinating agency (or from a MULTRA agency in case of the MULTRA route) and supports its recognition by the involved quality assurance agencies. Each national agency publishes its own decision according to its national legislation. The final decisions are communicated to the joint programme. The Coordination Point will then include the joint programme in the Qrossroads database.
Appeal: In case of disagreement by the joint programme consortium with the decision, it may lodge an appeal to the European Appeals Committee, which reviews the compliance of the procedure with the defined framework. The European Appeals Committee will formulate a recommendation and send it to the Coordination Point, which will supports its recognition by the involved quality assurance agencies.

Means of support

See also