APQN Annual Conference in Moscow!

Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT) participated in the 2017 APQN Annual Conference and AGM on May 26-27 in Moscow, Russia. The conference this year focused on the theme “New Horizons: Dissolving Boundaries for a Quality Region”, which convened 150 representatives of scholars and experts in higher education quality assurance agencies to put forth influential data and analysis to counteract issues revolving this focus. The conference was hosted by National Centre for Public Accreditation (NCPA) and took place in the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA).

Mr. Vladimir Navodnov, Director of NCPA gave the opening remarks to ignite the two-day conference. He mentioned the purpose of this significant event is to foster a dialogue on quality assurance that would contribute to dissolving boundaries not only in the Asia-Pacific quality region but also worldwide. The conference was met with representatives from 30 countries, each and everyone a member of APQN and has taken part in countless cross-border collaboration over the years. Taking part in higher education prominent positions, keynote speakers Prof. Libing Wang, Chief of Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development, UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education and Dr. Judith Eaton, President of Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) shouldered the task of sharing experiences and cases on international quality assurance, harmonization, and challenges—the change and disruption of “the current normal”, stressed by Dr. Eaton, that innovation is imperative when higher education meets internationalization. The final keynote speaker presented Dr. Waldemar Siwinski, Vice President of IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, on the topic “Excellence and Credibility in University Ranking in the Global Era”. The IREG-9 Conference “Rankings and Accreditation Two roads to the same goal” will be held on May 23-25 2018 in Brussels. Having invited numerous leading experts, APQN undeniably has access to incredible sources of knowledge and positive change.

HEEACT delegated four staff members. Executive Director Prof. Angela Yung Chi Hou, also the Vice President of APQN and Professor of Educational Leadership and Development in Fu Jen Catholic University, chaired and commented the panel discussion “Quality Assurance and Cross-border Education” and presented at the workshop parallel session on APQN Consultant Database, a platform for members to seek consultation on higher education. Dean of Office of Quality Assurance Prof. Shaw-Ren Lin, also Professor of Arts and Humanities Education in National Taipei University of the Arts and Associate Research Fellow, Dr. Chun-Chi Chih shared the conduct of HEEACT institutional accreditation, “The Innovation of Institutional Accreditation in Taiwan”. Adjunct Research Fellow Prof. Sheng Ju Chan, also Professor of Higher Education in National Chung Cheng University, shared his interest and insights on “Undergraduate Learning Assessment: University Policy and Disciplinary Culture in Taiwan”.

In addition, the delegation presented a published 2013-2014 APQN conferences proceeding, “Higher Education Quality Assurance in a Changing World: Envisioning the Future of Asia Pacific”. One of our main goals was to connect with other QAAs and seek opportunities for further innovative collaboration beyond the conference hall. We approached NIAD-QE President Mr. Fukuda Hideki and his delegation on our Staff Exchange in October, where our colleagues will be visiting NIAD-QE headquarter in Tokyo to learn more about their accreditation works. We also approached scholars and experts from other QAAs, including MQA Malaysia and ONESQA Thailand, who we have invited to the 2017 Global Summit on Sept. 21-22 in Taipei. With this norm embedded since establishment, HEEACT earned the APQN Quality Award of International Cooperation in QA, demonstrating a good practice that has potential of adaptation among APQN members. Seemingly microscopic, but a simple gesture of acknowledgement can trigger a plan into action, a foreseeable motivated collaboration for the long run.

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