INQAAHE Talks on May 8, 2023


May 08 2023


14:00 - 15:30
Home INQAAHE Talks on May 8, 2023
Building a Global Culture of Quality: the Role of Students in QA
May 8, 2023 (Monday)
14:00 – 15:30 CEST/UTC+2
8:00 – 9:30 EST/UTC-4
Online (via Zoom)

The recognition that student voices are critical in shaping higher education is gaining momentum and is rippling around the world. The active engagement of students in higher education quality assurance is attributed to promoting dialogue between institutions and students; underpinning the validity and reliability of the quality assurance review process and proving fundamental to improving education. Hence, quality assurance agencies and educational leaders are incorporating more opportunities for students to have their say in what and how education is provided.

In partnership with the Global Student Forum, INQAAHE is proud to present this INQAAHE Talks session ‘Building a Global Culture of Quality: The Role of Students in QA”. The session provided a theoretical and practical discussion of student engagement activities in both internal and external quality assurance. Derfel Owen at the University College London in the UK reviewed historical foundations leading up to current practices engaging students in QA activities. Ellen Dixon of the Global Student Forum provided insight into regions developing and enhancing student engagement activities in external quality assurance, highlighting the value of participation from all voices. Horia Onita of the European Student Union showcased the activities of the region as a leader in student engagement in external QA practices. We then heard from Jovan Groen, of Western University in Ontario, Canada, who provided examples of student engagement within institutional QA processes.

The session was moderated by Mary Catharine Lennon, INQAAHE Board Director.

The recording of this session is available on INQAAHE’s YouTube channel.

The following speakers joined us in this session:

Ellen Dixon

Check her presentation.

Ellen Dixon is a Steering Committee Member at the Global Student Forum overseeing the Quality Education Cluster, and is the National President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations. Ellen has been the New Zealand Vice Chancellors’ appointee to the Committee of University Academic Programmes and the Academic Quality Agency Board. She is currently working to redefine quality with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, and has contributed to regional conversations with the Australian Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency and the Pacific Regional Education Framework. Ellen was the interim representative on the Education2030 High-Level Steering Committee Sherpa Group, where she contributed to the UNESCO Taskforce on SDG4 to the HLPF, and has worked with the GEM Report. Ellen is a Massey Scholar and a Doctoral Scholar, with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Massey University, a Master of International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Canterbury, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in International Relations.


Horia Onita

Check his presentation.

Horia is the Vice President of the European Students Union. He has been active in the student movement for over eight years serving as the National Alliance of Student Organisations in Romania (ANOSR) Vice President for Educational Policies, coordinating portfolios such as Quality Assurance and Bologna Process Implementation. Horia was also elected president of ANOSR for two years before his involvement in ESU. Some of Horia’s background accomplishments include adopting a national School Student Rights Charter in Romania and expanding investment in social infrastructure in universities.

Horia works at ESU on Quality Assurance of Higher Education in Europe, represents ESU as co-chair of the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) Working Group on Social Dimension, and follows EU developments on education funding and monitoring through National Recovery and Resilience Plans and the European Semester. He holds a Bachelor of Law and a Master of Public Procurement degree from the University of Bucharest.


Derfel Owen

Check his presentation.

Derfel Owen’s career has been spent in student facing roles. Following a period as a member of the National Executive Committee of the National Union of Students, he joined Goldsmiths, University of London as Student Support and Development Manager to lead initiatives to improve personal and professional development opportunities for students and to oversee the development of effective governance and representation structures. In 2007, Derfel joined the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), where he led efforts to improve student engagement and participation in the agency’s work, but also to raise the profile of student views and expectations in shaping and developing activities, a highlight being the introduction of student members of Audit and Review teams throughout the UK.

In 2011 Derfel moved to work at the University of Exeter and in 2014 joined UCL where he is responsible for the governance structures of the University, leading the development of academic policies, complaints and appeals, student engagement, quality assurance and enhancement and student data. In 2019, Derfel established the Student Experience Transformation programme at UCL which led a shift in focus of organisational culture to focus more directly on the student journey and to bring student voice more directly into university decision making. The programme led to a number of definitive improvements in student experience. Derfel led UCL’s student experience response to the Covid Pandemic, ensuring swift and rapid pivoting to online delivery of education and student services, ensuring throughout that student priorities and needs were at the for of decision making.

Derfel is recognised as a leading authority on student engagement and quality assurance, he has spoken at numerous international conferences and recently co-edited ‘The Student Engagement Handbook: Practice in Higher Education’.


Jovan Groen

Check his presentation.

Jovan Groen serves as the Director of Academic Quality and Enhancement at Western University. He also maintains an affiliation with the University of Ottawa as an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Education, where he continues to advise graduate students and collaborate on research and evaluation initiatives. Stemming from his work in educational development and quality assurance, Jovan’s nationally and provincially funded research are centered on the effectiveness of pedagogical practices and program development in postsecondary settings.

The panel was chaired by:

Mary Catharine Lennon

Mary Catharine Lennon, PhD, has an academic and professional background in international and comparative higher education research and policy development in areas including system design, accountability, quality assurance, and evaluation. She is the Head of Research and Special Projects at the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board of Ontario (PEQAB), a Board Director of the International Network of Quality Assurance in Higher Education (INQAAHE) and also chairs the Marjorie Lenn Peace Centre for Education and Capacity Building in Quality Assurance. Dr. Lennon holds degrees from Queen’s University, Simon Fraser University and OISE/University of Toronto.

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: May 08 2023
  • Time: 08:00 - 09:30
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