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Study visit at the Leipzig University within the Erasmus+ project QFORTE

A study visit to the Leipzig University, Germany, hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, within the project “Enhancement of Quality Assurance in Higher Education System in Moldova,” (QFORTE, reference number: 618742-EPP-1-2020-1-MD -EPPKA2-CBHE-SP) was organized during the period of 14-16 of March 2022. This project is implemented with the support from the Erasmus+ Programme and coordinated by Moldova State University. It builds on the experience and the capacities built within the TEMPUS project Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Moldova (QUAEM), coordinated by the Leipzig University.

The virtual study visit aimed at introducing to the project’s partners the German accreditation system and the quality assurance management structures of the Leipzig University, in particular the good practices of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy and of the Faculty of Economics and Management Science. The study visit is meant to contribute to the improvement of the quality management of the Moldovan Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and to the development of appropriate strategies and methodologies for international institutional accreditation of HEI in the Republic of Moldova.

The meetings were held online due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and due to travel difficulties in the context of the aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and the related logistic problems in Eastern Europe.

The study visit was attended by representatives of Moldova State University, Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, Academy of Music, Theatre and Fine Arts , Balti State University, Cahul State University, Comrat State University, University of Political and Economic European Studies, National Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Research of the Republic of Moldova, Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Moldova, University of Montpellier (France), University of Salamanca (Spain), European Policy Development and Research Institute, (Slovenia).

The Moldovan HEI of the Consortiums were represented by Rectors, Vice-rectors for Education and Quality Management and Heads of Quality Management Departments.

The program of the study visit included three working sessions on the quality assurance (QA) system at the Leipzig University and a round table on strategy development in the field of QA. The first session was dedicated to the System Accreditation at the Leipzig University. It included presentations and discussion rounds on the following topics: embedment of QA in Strategy Development at the Leipzig University, QA actors and structures at Leipzig University, evaluation and certification of university degrees. The second session was hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, which presented its own QA system, the processes and QA instruments for development, evaluation and accreditation of its study programmes, its experiences with the evaluation of international study programmes and the specific challenges related to the accreditation of joint degree study programmes based on the European approach. The third working session offered some insights in the process of international accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSSB) at the Faculty of Economics and Management Science.

Participants of the online visit
Participants of the online visit.
Dr. Victoria Reinhardt (Head Project Manager, Deputy Head of the Study Office and Curricular Manager of the Faculty)
Prof. Dr. Matthias Middell (Director of the Global and European Studies Institute (GESI) and project manager)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Hofsäss (Vice-Rector for Education and International Affairs)
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schneider (Dean of Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy)
Denis Keune (Head of the Office for Quality Management in Studies and Teaching)
The accreditation process
QS concept of the faculty

The study visit was opened by Prof. Dr. Thomas Hofsäss, Vice-Rector for Education and International Affairs of the Leipzig University, with a greeting statement.

During the first session Mr. Denis Keune, Head of the Office for Quality Management in Studies and Teaching, presented the managing system accreditation in Saxony highlighting the political mechanics and the strategic framework of quality management (QM). Dr. Christine Taube elaborated on this topic by presenting in detail the QM in teaching and learning at the Leipzig University.

The second session was dedicated to the presentation of the QA concept of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy. The meeting was opened by Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schneider, Dean of Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy and by Prof. Dr. Matthias Middell, Director of the Global and European Studies Institute (GESI) and project manager, with greeting statements and a message of support for the Moldovan HEI. Dr. Victoria Reinhardt, Deputy Head of the Study Office and Curricular Manager of the Faculty, with support of Christin Engel, Referent for quality assurance and international affairs, presented the instruments for the evaluation of study programs and courses and the documentation of the evaluation process. Stephan Kaschner, the coordinator for international study programs at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, exposed a detailed presentation of the international MA Programmes and explained the key mechanisms of Joint QA in a Joint Programme at three levels: local, international (consortium level) and external review and accreditation. Special emphasis was given to aspects of external review and accreditation, such as the specific features of an accreditation process based on the European approach and the role played by the advisory board and the advisory board on employability.

The third session opened with the presentation of the International Accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSSB) based of the current experience of the Faculty of Economics and Management Science. Prof. Dr. Georg Weiss, Dean of Studies, and Philipp Scharner, PhD, have prepared and presented an updated description of the AACSSB accreditation procedure and the practical conditions for its implementation.

The study visit concluded with a round table on strategy development in the field of QA, during which practical aspects concerning the preconditions and possible ways of achieving international institutional accreditation were discussed. At the end of the session Dr. Victoria Reinhardt invited the project partners to participate in the seminar "International institutional accreditation: methodology and procedures", which will take place online at the Leipzig University, on 29-30 March 2022.

Moldova State University expresses on behalf of the QFORTE Consortium its gratitude to the organizers of this study visit for the insightful and inspiring program and for its excellent implementation despite all the current challenges and political tensions in the region.

Special thanks go to the experts of the Leipzig University, which shared their rich expertise and the broad experience of the Leipzig University in the field of QA: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hofsäss, Prof. Dr. Matthias Middell, Prof. Dr. Gregor Weiß, Denis Keune, Dr. Christine Taube, Dr. Victoria Reinhardt, Philipp Scharner, Christin Engel and Stephan Kaschner.