The SPEAQ project includes 11 partners across Europe:
The LLAS Centre for languages, linguistics and area studies (lead partner)
Alison Dickens (project director) is a modern linguist who has worked in education for 23 years in a range of language teaching, academic development and project management roles. She currently directs the LLAS academic development programme, develops and delivers training in a number of areas including e-learning, language teaching and internationalisation.
Laurence Georgin (project manager) finished her MA in English language at the University of Nancy, France, in 2002. She has worked in a variety of environments including customer relations, project management and Higher Education management. She currently coordinates LLAS development which includes marketing, project management and customer relations.
He is an experienced academic developer with particular interests in area studies, pedagogic research and interdisciplinarity.
Sue Nash (project administrator) started work at the University of Southampton in 1993. She has worked on several funded projects since then and joined LLAS as an administrator in 2000. She is currently the senior administrator for LLAS and responsible for supervising and coordinating the work of the admin team including personal assistant support for the Director of LLAS.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the LLAS website.
At the University of Southampton, LLAS implemented a project based on the feedback collected from staff and students in the first year of SPEAQ. The main outcome of the project is a website which promotes the concept of good feedback (relevant, timely, meaningful and constructive) in order to inspire staff and students to view feedback as a dialogue. The site includes interviews with Southampton staff on how they see feedback, a series of animated films which raise issues about feedback and a card activity for use in a professional development setting. Find out more at http://blog.soton.ac.uk/gmoof/
Dr. Anca Greere is Associate Professor/Reader with the Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Applied Modern Languages. She has been involved in Translator Training since 1996. Her main fields of research are: Specialized Translations/Language for Specific Purposes, English Language Teaching Methodology to Translator Trainees, Curriculum Planning and Materials Development, Interculturality in Translations. Ms. Greere has held a number of visiting appointments with European universities (University of Southern Denmark, Aston University) and she has contributed presentations in a number of international conferences.
Dr. Iulia Bobăilă is Teaching Assistant with the Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Applied Modern Languages. Her main fields of research are language and culture, Scientific and Technical Translations, Translator and Interpreter Training. Drawing on the conclusions of the first year of the SPEAQ project, Iulia’s role within the UBB institutional project was to guide the peer-to-peer mentoring programme, to analyse the student feedback, and to assess the programme’s potential to expand to other departments/faculties of the university.
The Babes-Bolyai University implemented a pilot project aimed to set up a peer-to-peer student mentoring programme. It involved second year undergraduate students as mentors and first year students as mentees. The project was designed with input from teachers and administrative staff to ensure that the information conveyed was in line with university regulations. Visit the project’s blog.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the Babes-Bolyai University website.
Copenhagen Business School
Ole Helmersen, Associate Professor. Previously (until 2 years ago) dean of Faculty of Modern Languages. Research interests in cultural (area) studies, university and corporate sector language policy issues; comprehensive teaching experience in English translation, English composition, British and American Studies taught in English, etc. Been a participant in Thematic Network Projects in the Area of Languages (coordinated from Freie Universität Berlin, for upwards of ten years – TNP1, TNP2, TNP3 and TNP3-D.
Copenhagen Business School has operated comprehensive quality assurance systems for several years. Even so, the SPEAQ project has been a valuable input to these systems and to organizational reflection through its explicit focus on the interaction of the stakeholders in the quality circle.
The SPEAQ project run at CBS focused on the course-evaluation procedures (student evaluations) already taking place at CBS with a view to inform a change process that was underway. The SPEAQ-project added valuable methodologies. The project did not result in a concrete, new product in the form of a new evaluation procedure, but pushed renewal of the existing system towards breaking a tendency towards evaluation-fatique among stakeholders.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the Copenhagen Business School website.
Dr. Mariluz Suárez Castiñeira is Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures. She has a long experience in teaching foreign languages (English and French) as well as their literatures and cultures. She is now in charge of the Institute of Modern Languages. Her main fields of research are in language and culture, comparative literature and intercultural studies. She has supervised a number of doctoral dissertations both on language and literature aspects and is participating in a number of projects (ENLU, TNP) concerned with the promotion of language learning as well as teaching content through a foreign language.
Dr Asier Altuna collaborated in all dissemination activities (including at meetings with Tuning Russia and Tuning India partners), participated actively in the focus group activities and interviews with students, teachers and quality managers, helped design the institutional project, analyse various in-depth questionnaires and write the final report..
In Deusto we have implemented a project based on the participation of students in enhancing the quality of their own Bologna degree. We analyzed the interaction between the three quality circles, students, teachers and quality managers, and looked into thee various quality dimensions emerging from the various stakeholders’ feedback questionnaires. We have learnt that quality development implies more than the formal quality assurance processes already in place and that the meaningful interaction between the three quality circles concerned is necessary not only at the level of learning and teaching but also at the level of programme review
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the Deusto University website.
The European Students’ Union
Natalia Tarachiu is ESIB’s Project Officer. She has an extensive work experience of more than 12 years in managing EU projects. Natalia contributed successfully to the implementation of all the projects she was involved, having a very good knowledge of the project cycle management. She has also experience in organising various international events.
Mrs Stela Stancheva has been a project officer at ESU since October 2013. She has a Master’s degree in electrical engineering from Ruse University, Bulgaria, and more than 15 years’ experience in EU funding and project management for NGOs and universities in Bulgaria, Italy, Poland and Belgium. Stela has been trained in CE marking and QM by DG ENTER PRISE, EOMMEX-Greece and INFORMEST- Italy. Mrs Stancheva has very good knowledge and permanent follow up of the EU policies in the field of:
- innovation and LLL,
- small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),
- secure, clean and efficient energy,
- sustainable regional development,
- information and Communication Technologies;
- open access to scientific knowledge.
Besides her native Bulgarian, Stela speaks English, Italian and Russian.
Allan Päll has been the Vice-Chairperson of the ESIB since 2009. Allan is the main coordinator of the ESIB’s permanent Secretariat in Brussels, being also the main responsible for the administration of the organisation. In ESIB, he is also responsible for coordinating the student quality assurance experts’ pool and ensuring student involvement in European level quality assurance processes. He contributed to several studies developed by ESIB or by other partner organisations, such as: Bologna with Students Eyes 2009, Bologna at the Finish Line, Student Centred Learning Toolkit.
In order to achieve the SPEAQ project’s objective to seed new ideas on how to improve quality assurance practice within an institution by bringing together stakeholders in the quality process, ESU organized focus groups and facilitated discussions in the 9 SPEAQ partner institutions. During this process, the participating students became familiar with the nature and purpose of quality assurance and its relationship to quality enhancement (who it is for, who is responsible and why it matters). They were also introduced to the LanQua Toolkit Quality Model. In addition, a questionnaire was developed with three series of questions about Quality Assurance (What quality means to you? What is the quality culture at your institution? How the quality can be improved?). The collected ideas, answers and suggestions from 114 students across the 9 partner universities were presented in a public report. The main outcome was that students, together with the academic staff and quality managers, are the internal drivers for quality assurance at institutional level. A better communication and interaction between the stakeholders is needed in order to achieve improvements in HE quality on institutional level.
In early December 2012, ESU organized a workshop on students’ involvement in the QA process as part of the QUEST Conference in Malta. Natalia Tarachiu from ESU and Christine Lechner from the University of Innsbruck also shared SPEAQ experience in connecting the three key quality circles – teacher, student and quality – during a workshop that took place in Innsbruck.The students’ view on QA is a valuable contribution towards improving the quality process in the involved universities and sharing identified good practices.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the ESU website.
Christine Lechner has many years of experience as a secondary school teacher with degrees in French, German, English and History. (BA, Magister, Doctorate). She specialised in CLIL (English – History) from the early 1990’s. For the past fifteen years she has been working in initial teacher education and CPD (Action Research/ CLIL). She has co-ordinated a COMENIUS III Network and an Accompanying Measures project and participated in numerous EU projects as well as contributing to the implementation of the ERASMUS programme at the Pädagogische Hochschule Tirol.
At the University of Innsbruck we carried out a project to enhance quality through professional collaboration bringing together the three quality circles, students, teachers and quality managers. The project included two strands:
- A transparent framework for assessment at the institute for languages didactics within the School of Education
- Laying down a framework for co-operations in CLIL between language & natural science didactics
We have learnt that the structures already in place for quality assurance provide excellent support, which need to be tapped into. There was great interest in this type of collaboration, the only problem being time constraints.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the University of Innsbruck website.
Fiona Crozier (project evaluator) is currently one of the two Vice-Presidents of the ENQA Board, serving since 2008; she also serves on the ENQA Review Committee. Fiona is an Assistant Director, Development and Enhancement Group of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA, UK) which operates in Gloucester, United Kingdom.
Klára Szabó is the head of the Department of English. She was involved in the TNP 2 and TNP3 and TNP3-D networks. She is the head of the institution’s Foreign Relations Committee. She has published several articles on language teaching and teacher training. She is the author of several textbooks and other language teaching materials.
In Szeged Klára has developed and implemented a quality module in the program of communication students. Students individually and also as a team went through all the stages of the quality process including team building, putting a questionnaire together, interviewing teachers and quality managers, writing quality reports and formulating recommendations.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the Szeged University website.
University of Aveiro
Gillian Moreira is Assistant Professor of the University of Aveiro. She teaches in the areas of English Studies and (Inter)cultural Studies at the Department of Languages and Cultures. Her research interests are in the field of language education and language policies, specifically in the European context. She has been involved in several European and international projects, most recently: LanQua, Hook Up! language learning gateway, ALFA GUIA (Gestión Universitaria Integral del Abandono). She has been active in university administration, and is currently Pro rector with responsibilities for the evaluation and accreditation of degree programmes.
The activities carried out in the first year of the Speaq project – sensitisation workshop and interviews with students, teachers and QMs – drew our attention to a series of quality issues which seemed to be important in our institution. In particular, a perceived mismatch between quality checking mechanisms (indicators, surveys, evaluation schedules,…) and quality enhancement factors (innovation, creativity, dialogue, …) seemed to contribute to a feeling that the institution was uninterested in the realities of teachers and students in classrooms.
It was with this in mind that we launched the Forum Speaq@UA project, which aimed to provide a space for the sharing and discussion of quality practices in teaching and learning among those involved. Our experience in this project confirmed that teachers and students are the main actors in quality processes and that listening to and acting on their voices can have a strong impact on the enhancement of quality practices.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the University of Aveiro website.
University of Jyväskylä
Anne Räsänen has been responsible for setting up JyU’s support system for English-medium instruction and for coordinating and evaluating such instruction. She is also involved in both national and international networks related to researching in and training for teaching and learning through a foreign language at the higher education level. Her expertise is in staff development and in designing and tailoring learner development programmes and learning tasks that promote learner autonomy, and in the pedagogical use of new language learning environments created both by student and staff mobility and ICT. She has been involved in all TNP projects and also in the DIALANG project section related to learning skills.
Anne’s first task in the SPEAQ project was to design the workshop pack for the interactive quality workshop together with the colleague from Deusto. During the first year the other tasks included running the workshop, interviewing our Quality Manager and course team and student focus groups, and documenting the outcomes. All this was followed in the second year by an institutional project (TACE) aiming to enhance the quality of English-medium teaching and learning in international Master’s programmes through interdisciplinary and intercultural sharing of, and reflection on good practices. As for the TACE participants, by far the greatest personal benefit of participation in the SPEAQ project has been the sharing of experiences and tools as well as learning about critical quality issues at the partner universities.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the University of Jyväskylä website.
University of Trento
Catherine Riley, tenured researcher at the university of Trento since January 2005, has 20 years’ teaching experience at all levels of the education system from kindergarten to post-graduate courses. A member of ALA, her other research interests include TBLT, CLIL, learner autonomy, blended learning, testing and corpora. Responsible for non-specialist English language teaching and testing at the university, she directs all English language projects at the language centre and coordinates a project intended to enhance the link between high school and university language teachers/teaching. She is language consultant to the ITC/IRST, Italy’s foremost research institution for speech recognition technology and is member of the Campus Europae Language Teaching Experts Group.
The Trento project focused on giving students a voice in the Quality Cycle by both listening to their feedback regarding their current Master’s and more importantly acting upon their proposals to enhance some aspects of their educational experience. A secondary objective was to get the different stakeholders not only talking but also putting their proposals into practice. Given the comments from participants, whether students, administrative or teaching staff, we were successful in both bringing them together and more importantly in creating what one student referred to as a “spirit of a community which gets together to discuss the best prospect [for the programme]”. On a more practical level, many of the students’ proposals are currently being implemented with the assistance of tutors, administrators and technicians. The project though officially over, will continue well into the future.
On a personal level, Catherine has learnt very much from the project, not least that by engaging and involving stakeholders in dialogue in semi-formal settings, much can be achieved. Driving change successfully comes more from making concrete proposals rather than simply providing feedback for others (in officialdom) to act upon.
“The most important impact the project left was the echo of change” – Comment from a student at the University of Trento.
Find out more about the SPEAQ project on the University of Trento website.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.