EFMD Global Focus Magazine

Going from EPAS to EQUIS and AACSB … and from AACSB to EPAS

Anne-Joelle Philippart

Anne-Joëlle Philippart is Accreditation and Quality
Manager at HEC-Liège.

Latest posts by Anne-Joelle Philippart (see all)

Anne-Joëlle Philippart explains how the mix of EFMD and AACSB accreditation models helped achieve a rapid improvement of the quality assurance system at HEC-Liège.

HEC-Liège, the management school of the University of Liege, Belgium, is the result of the 2005 merger of two Liege business schools.The city of Liege has undergone profound industrial change focused on a shift from traditional heavy industries to innovative businesses and specialised technological industries. HEC-Liege has also rapidly developed as a proactive partner in regional economic development, launching a number of pioneering initiatives, encouraging entrepreneurship and enhancing the international dimension of the activities of its staff and students.

GF14 3 HECL logoIn 2009, the school launched a very proactive strategy to further increase its visibility, reputation and internationalism. One of the main pillars of this strategy was to obtain several international accreditations. The HEC-Liege Board of Directors also launched an international search that led to the recruitment of a new Dean, Thomas Froehlicher. It also decided to appoint a full-time Quality Manager.

The objective was to obtain a programme accreditation under EFMD’s EPAS standards as a start to a school accreditation under the AACSB and EQUIS (also EFMD) standards. Both EFMD and AACSB proposed very complementary models. The first step was to involve our stakeholders, both internal and external. The involvement of internal stakeholders ensures an institutional ownership of the process and implementation of a quality culture, oriented to continuous improvement. The involvement of external stakeholders helps the school to connect with market needs.

epasThe EPAS accreditation model is built around programme design, programme delivery and programme outcome. It is backed by a Quality Assurance System and framed by the institutional context. This model helped us to structure our activities. The main achievements were the writing of a quality manual and the setting up of a programme management system around the intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

The writing of the quality manual started with an analysis of our organisation. This has allowed us to rationalise and disseminate our processes and procedures. The ILO process started with a broad programme review relating to, on one hand, our main research fields and, on the other, our corporate dimension and the market’s needs.

Wide-ranging consultations were carried out with faculty, staff, alumni, students and employers. These meetings have created a team spirit and a sense of belonging to the school.

As regards programmes, we defined a graduate profile documented by about 15 measurable ILOs. Each professor was asked to determine which programme ILOs were addressed by her or his lectures. They also had to determine which pedagogical methods and which assessment methods they were using and then list them in pedagogic commitments published on the school web site.

A clear definition of programme ILOs has many advantages and serves students, programme directors, faculty and recruiters. Each one better understands the others’ expectations, favouring mutual adjustments and resulting in good teamwork between faculty members.

Every year the Quality Department carries out an analysis of each programme, checking …

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