The next member of the of study tour team is Sheila Adamson from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Over to you Shelia...
I have worked in higher education since 1997. I am based at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, where I specialise in the quality assurance of collaborative partnerships. I have a broad range of experience in quality, policy development, programme management and research degree support. I have recently become a Branch Advocate.
I have been to Poland four times and have always very much enjoyed my time in the country. As well as trips to Warsaw and Gdansk (both of which I recommend), I have visited Krakow, where I took the opportunity to tour the Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University, a wonderful old college designed something like Hogwarts.
My work role brings me into contact with different higher education systems around the world and I am always fascinated by the commonalities and differences between them. One thing we always have to be aware of as professionals is that just because we do things a certain way in the UK, it doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative, better ways of doing things elsewhere. I look forward to learning from colleagues in Poland and using their input to reflect on practice here. I am also keen to understand other perspectives on higher education and quality to help me in my work with European partners.
Poland has a long and distinguished history of education and research but – in common with many European countries – the higher education landscape is changing rapidly. The development of a large number of private institutes in competition with the older public universities is an opportunity for the country but also a potential source of tension. There are parallels with the UK, where new private colleges are jostling for attention and funding, raising questions of how quality assurance and funding systems should adapt. The implications of this for quality assurance would be of particular interest to me.
I look forward to reporting back on all of the above.