Business School Netherlands embraces new accreditation body set up in Vienna – and calls for other business schools to follow their example.

A new association for higher education accreditation was established in Vienna, Austria in May 2015 and is currently accepting new members. The Association for Transnational Higher Education Accreditation (ATHEA) is a non-profit, membership-based association that seeks to advance quality in higher education through institutional accreditation based on the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG), which is required for eventual recognition by the European Quality Assurance Register in Higher Education (EQAR).

“We are excited to launch this important initiative providing outcome-based accreditation primarily to higher education institutions,’ reported Günther Singer, Executive Director of ATHEA. Singer went on to say that institutional membership is open to institutions meeting membership requirements residing both inside and outside the European region.

Business School Netherlands embraced and co-instigated the founding of ATHEA. Marcel van der Ham, International Director of Business School Netherlands and a board member of ATHEA said, “European accreditation boards are becoming increasingly demanding in terms of academic criteria and research requirements, protecting their own research universities and academic systems. Being a private University of Applied Sciences, offering mostly professional degrees in more than one European country and a number of countries outside the EU, future national accreditation can become a problem. I am convinced that ATHEA offers the best answer. I genuinely hope that other private business schools and universities will join ATHEA in the near future.”

ATHEA aspires to be the preeminent resource for institutions of higher education striving to achieve excellence in fulfilling their missions. ATHEA intends, through voluntary assessment and adherence to high standards for student learning outcomes and operational behaviour, to assure higher education’s public that its accredited institutions are fulfilling their stated purposes and addressing the public’s expectations. ATHEA is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that is dedicated to quality assurance and improvement through accreditation via peer evaluation. Accreditation by a Board of Commissioners instils public confidence in the institutional mission, goals, performance, and resources through its rigorous accreditation standards and their enforcement of those standards.

The first annual conference of ATHEA is scheduled for 21 October 2015 in Brussels, Belgium. At this meeting, the association will finalise its bylaws and formalise its candidacy and accreditation processes.

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