Shifting perceptions and channelling commitment in higher education communities: How to grow a Quality Culture outside the lab

  • Anca Greere Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, RomaniaQuality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), UK
  • Catherine Riley University of Trento, Italy
Keywords: quality assurance and enhancement, higher education quality culture, approaches to quality in higher education, empowerment and ownership in higher education, practical insights towards achieving quality cultures, quality actions and actors


Drawing on the data collected via a European funded project with eleven higher education partners, the article proposes a five-stage working model which can be adopted in and adapted to different institutional contexts so as to shift perceptions, strengthen engagement and channel commitment with a view to developing the desired quality culture. The project explored ways in which quality in higher education was viewed and practised by three main stakeholder groups: students, academics and quality managers, referred to as three ‘quality circles’. It adopted a reflective approach to issues of quality based on grassroots discussion and cooperation between key, but in some cases disengaged, stakeholders in the quality process. The project designed, tried and tested a series of activities which demonstrated lasting impact. The analysis of the project data revealed a patterning, which, if organised sequentially, carries the potential to crystalise into an action model which may be replicated by individual higher education institutions in support of advancing towards the quality culture they might be striving for. This article highlights the building blocks of the model and explains practices which can underpin their successful implementation.

Received: 3 August 2023
Accepted: 9 April 2024


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Author Biographies

Anca Greere, Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, RomaniaQuality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), UK

International quality assurance expert with broad ranging experience of collaborating with governments, agencies and institutions to design and successfully implement quality assurance approaches which support a positive educational experience for all stakeholders and contribute to quality cultures across educational sectors. She is Professor of English Linguistics and Translation Studies at the Babeș-Bolyai University, formerly the Director of the European Master’s Programme in Translation Studies and Terminology and an active member of the European Master’s in Translation Network. Professor Greere also acts as Senior Advisor (External) for the British Accreditation Council, is deputy of the Institutional Accreditation Review Committee of the University Council of Jamaica and has collaborated intensely with quality assurance agencies in Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Romania and Saudi Arabia. Previously, Professor Greere held senior appointments with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in the United Kingdom and represented the United Kingdom in WG2 of the Bologna Follow-Up Group. She has also worked extensively with the European Commission on implementing projects with relevance for the European Higher Education Area. Most recently, Professor Greere chaired the ENQA Working Group on the Quality Assurance of Micro‑credentials, on behalf of the British Accreditation Council.

Catherine Riley, University of Trento, Italy

She teaches at the University of Trento Postgraduate School of International Studies where she is head of Foreign Languages. A member of the Language Centre Board since 2005, she was responsible for all English language teaching at Trento for 10 years until 2015 when she was appointed a member of the University Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee. Since 2018 she has been a member of the Steering Committee of the University’s nascent learning and teaching innovation centre, Formid (Formazione e innovazione della Didattica). She is the promotor and facilitator of a Community of Practice for Challenge Based Learning and MicroModules within the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), where she is also active in competence development. Since 2017 she has conducted teacher training workshops at Higher Education Institutions around Italy on Course Design and Planning and Assessment. She has taken part in several EU projects, including two projects specifically on Quality Enhancement (Lanqua and Speaq); ColLab, (Collaborative Platform for Teaching Innovation in Higher Education – 2019 - 2022) and is active within the ECIU. She is the author of the volume About English: An Introduction to the English Language (Carocci, 2004), now in its 5th reprint and edited the volume Practices in Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning (Cambridge Academic, 2017).


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How to Cite
Greere, Anca, and Catherine Riley. 2024. “Shifting Perceptions and Channelling Commitment in Higher Education Communities: How to Grow a Quality Culture Outside the Lab”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 11 (2), 29-63.