Principles and methodology

An institutional analysis focusing on governance and the management of missions

The DECT’s institutional approach is consistent with the growing trend towards the autonomy and empowerment of institutions. It takes account of the 2015 revision of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) for higher education, which make institutions responsible for the management of their own missions.

The main focus of the evaluation concerns the analysis that the lead establishment in the cluster is able to provide, in its self-evaluation, of the progress it has made in each of the missions and activities of the cluster, by comparing its positioning at the beginning and end of the evaluation period.

Specific analyses of the quality policy implemented by the governance system and of the quality of its self-evaluation are also incorporated into the evaluative analysis.

The evaluations are carried out by peers on a collegial basis and in compliance with the Hcéres Evaluation Charter. They do not aim to compare clusters or rank them. They aim to encourage them to enhance their quality policies while developing their self-evaluation practices, in order to provide evidence of the quality of their management and therefore demonstrate that they are fulfilling their responsibilities.

The institution in charge of the cluster is responsible, in its self-evaluation report, for providing evidence of its achievements during the period being evaluated, and of its ability to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of its actions.

Evaluations that are adapted to the specifics of each cluster

Clusters are highly diverse organisations and their landscapes are constantly changing. Evaluations must therefore be adapted to this diversity and be responsive to the changes observed in the field. However, this adaptation does not call into question the ex-post nature of the evaluation, which takes a retrospective look at the cluster in order to prepare it to implement its development plan under the best possible conditions.

The type of missions and activities being evaluated, the number of experts and the choice of profiles of members of the panel of expert peers, the duration of the visit of the lead institution in the cluster, and the choice of interviewees met during this visit, are all factors which are adapted to the context of each evaluated entity.