Excellence and Quality in Western Balkans Higher Education (NORGLOBAL post.doc project) (completed)

The aim of this NORGLOBAL post.doc project is to identify various institutional initiatives and practices that further can enhance the quality of the higher education sector in the region.

About the project

Quality assurance (QA) is often seen in higher education studies as a policy instrument of governments, and as a management tool with higher education institutions. However, in higher education systems with their professional ‘production technology’ (both when it comes to teaching and to research) quality and excellence are actually ‘made’ by the ‘professionals’ on the work floor, i.e. the academic staff members (Westerheijden, Hulpiau & Waeytens, 2007). Academics’ cooperation in quality improvement to strive for excellence is therefore crucial. Hence, governmental, managerial and collegial features of QA co-exist.

European developments in higher education are seen to have a transformative character in general and during the last 10 years several steps in relation to quality initiatives and excellence have been made within higher education institutions in Western Balkans. However, research and publications regarding quality practices and excellence in higher education is still sparse. Best practices need to travel.

Research questions:

  1. What quality policies and practices could one observe in Western Balkans’ universities? Do differences exist between private and public universities?
  2. What accreditation procedures do private and public universities follow?
  3. Are there any differences in perceptions of excellence for the leaders, and quality assurance administrators between private and public universities?
  4. What are the design criteria and key indicators that will position WBCs’ universities to address future challenges and opportunities?
  5. Do universities and stakeholders take into consideration data and indicators for policy development and if so, what type of data and indicators are collected for this purpose?

This comparative post doc project will apply a multiple, mixed methods research design and will use several data-gathering techniques, including document analysis (policy documents, Tempus data etc.), surveys, and interviews with a variety of stakeholders. Concepts from neo-institutional theory along with organizational characteristics, and policymaking processes (design, formulation, implementation, and evaluation) help us agnize today’s Western Balkans higher education at national and institutional levels.


Published Oct. 18, 2012 6:23 PM - Last modified Nov. 19, 2014 4:14 PM


Antigoni Papdimitriou