Today, with the effects of globalization and with dramatically expanded access to higher education, the quality of education has become more crucial for national development and competitiveness as well as for individual success. The rise of cross-border education, including branch campuses, student and faculty mobility, and partnerships between universities in different countries, also raises new and complex questions about how to define, measure, and assure quality in higher education. Despite obvious differences in their educational systems, economies, and sociocultural contexts, many predominantly Muslim countries and the United States share a growing concern about quality in higher education.
To explore this important issue from a comparative international perspective, in October 2009 the Hollings Center for International Dialogue convened a three-day colloquium in Istanbul, Turkey, entitled “Quality Assurance in Higher Education: An International Dialogue on Progress and Challenges.” The fourth program in the Hollings Center’s higher education dialogue series, the meeting convened outstanding higher education leaders from 12 Muslim-majority countries and the United States. Twenty-nine university presidents and deans, senior government officials responsible for quality assurance (QA), leading quality assurance experts, and representatives of higher education organizations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States took part in intensive discussions about identifying, measuring, and assuring quality in higher education, as seen from the vantage points of different institutions, nations, and regions.
The colloquium covered the following topics:
- Quality as Seen from University, National, and Global Perspectives
- Whose Standards?
- The Importance of Mission
- Promoting Quality from within the University
- Students and Quality
- Assessing Student Learning
- Assuring Quality through External Means
- How Governments and Primary and Secondary Education Influence Higher Education Quality
- Quality and Cross-Border Education
- Working across Borders to Promote Quality: International Partnerships and Networks
The rich dialogue allowed participants to learn about developments in other countries, reflect on common challenges, and build partnerships to help strengthen higher education across borders and cultures. This report summarizes the discussions and presents the main findings and recommendations.