The Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) is an independent membership service of the European University Association (EUA) that has been designed to ensure that higher education institutions gain maximum benefit from a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a team of experienced European higher education leaders.
Consistent with institutional autonomy, the mission of IEP is to support higher education institutions and systems in developing their strategic leadership and capacity to manage change through a process of voluntary institutional evaluations.
IEP evaluates higher education institutions in the context of their specific goals and objectives with the aim of improving quality. The Programme applies a context–driven approach to its evaluations, emphasises an inclusive self-evaluation process and institutional self-knowledge as a contribution to improved strategic leadership accompanied by efficient internal governance and management, as well as for external accountability purposes.
Therefore, IEP evaluations focus on the effectiveness of quality culture and the degree to which the outcomes of the internal quality processes are used in decision-making and strategic management, as well as on identifying any gaps in these internal mechanisms. The IEP evaluations have a formative orientation, i.e., they are aimed at contributing to the development and enhancement of the institutions. IEP is not geared towards passing judgments, accrediting, ranking or comparing institutions.
The IEP evaluation team consists of rectors or vice-rectors (active or former), a student and a senior higher education professional acting as team coordinator. Team members provide an international and European perspective; they all come from different countries, and none of them comes from the country of the institution being evaluated. Team members (other than the team coordinator) are not paid for their IEP work; they are motivated to serve by a commitment to the Programme’s nature and purposes and by a desire to contribute to the development of the institution being evaluated.
During the first visit, the evaluation team becomes acquainted with the institution and its environment. In the second visit, generally two months later, the focus is on finding out whether, how, and how effectively, the institution’s strategic policies and quality procedures are implemented.
It should be emphasised that the main preoccupation of the team is to be helpful and constructive. Team members will come prepared to lead discussions with carefully prepared questions. Sessions are intended to be interactive. No formal presentations should be made.
The evaluation team’s conclusions and recommendations are collected in a report that will be presented to the institution and subsequently published on the IEP website.
Since 1994, nearly 400 evaluations and follow-up evaluations in 45 countries (mostly in Europe but also in Latin America, Asia and Africa) have been conducted by IEP. These have included all types and sizes of higher education institutions: public and private universities and polytechnics, comprehensive and specialised institutions, including art and music schools.