On Wednesday, 9th March 2022, MusiQuE presented its third and last item of its first series of webinars: ‘Balancing internal and external quality assurance – experiences from higher music education institutions’.

MusiQuE’s third webinar introduced concepts related to internal and external quality assurance from theoretical and practical perspectives and challenges encountered when adopting a balanced approach in quality assurance at higher music education institutions. 21 participants from 12 different countries joined the webinar.

The speakers panel was formed by Dr. Oliver Vettori (Dean of Accreditation and Quality Management at Vienna University of Economics and Business), Janneke Ravenhorst (Head of the Quality Culture Office at Royal Conservatoire (KC) The Hague) and Brian Weir (Director of Student Experience at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff). The webinar was moderated by Orla McDonagh (MusiQuE Board member and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at TU Dublin). It also included Jacques Moreau’s (Chair of the MusiQuE Board) contribution during the final discussion.

Oliver Vettori presented fundamental elements in quality assurance. Firstly, he pointed out faced challenges when using traditional quality assurance methods and tools in different contexts. He also indicated the different purposes of internal quality assurance and external quality assurance as well as the practical relevance of each approach. In the second part of his presentation, he introduced future challenges of quality assurance processes such as demographic changes, environmental sustainability, digitalisation and internationalisation.

Janneke Ravenhorst explained how quality assurance at KC The Hague is developed via its specifically-designed approach: the Lemniscate for Continuous Improvement. This approach focuses on the figure of the Critical Friend. She described the characteristics of the Critical Friend and mentioned the benefits that this approach has provided to KC The Hague.

Brian Weir presented his experience as coordinator of a review process conducted at his institution, including practical elements of this process and how the strategic direction of the institution has enriched from its outcome. He remarked some characteristics within quality assurance related to his institution being part of a wider university campus.

The webinar finalised with an informative discussion where members of the panel exchanged views on concepts within quality assurance processes, such as ownership and engagement of students and professors and terminology employed when communicating with stakeholders, and shared practicalities and tools used at higher music education institutions for quality enhancement.

The recording of the webinar as well as presentation materials are available via the following link.

This was the last of MusiQuE’s first series of webinars. More webinars will be planned in the future focusing on points of further discussion deriving from the first series of webinars.