14 September 2023

AUN-QA International Conference Made its Grand Return at Bangkok, Back and Bigger than Ever

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

Just last week on 6 - 7 September, the AUN-QA team brought back one of its most anticipated events of the year, the AUN-QA International Conference! Following this were also two internal AUN-QA meetings, the Assessors’ General Assembly on the afternoon of 7 September, and the Chief Quality Officers’ Meeting on 8 September. Needless to say, after a near 4 year hiatus from the pandemic, the AUN-QA IC had to come back in a big way, boasting over 400 participants with a list of dialogue speakers that is truly and internationally diverse!

Let’s dive right in! The International Conference was conducted over two days, having a full day on 6 September and the morning of 7 September. Overall, participants and speakers took part in a total of 8 agendas, each having its own topic and set of speakers to share their best practices and insightful experiences. 

Starting from the first day, we have the first agenda “Quality Assurance in the Globalized World of Higher Education”, where we had speakers share their experiences with QA in the context of their region. It was a time of reflection on the cases experienced, practices utilized, and challenges that were overcome throughout the years of ensuring quality for higher education institutions. Of course, to have a discussion about QA in the globalized world of higher education, there must absolutely be a well rounded selection of international speakers, which were the following:

  1. Dr. Michael Gaebel, Representative from European University Association (EUA)
  2. Prof. Dr. Abdelrahim A. Hunaiti, Assistant Secretary General of Association of Arab Universities (AArU)
  3. Prof. Dunrong Bie, China Association of Higher Education (CAHE)
  4. Dr. (Mrs.) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi (AIU)

The first agenda was also facilitated by:

  1. Prof. Dr. Wyona C. Patalinghug, Special Advisor to AUN Executive Director, and Former Director, Quality Assurance Office, De La Salle University
  2. Dr. Arnel Onesimo O. Uy, Vice Chancellor for Administration, De La Salle University

Day 1 Agenda 1-min.jpg

Following up was the second agenda “How then will universities stand?”, solely led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Kay Chuan, AUN-QA Technical Expert, and Chief of Quality Officer to the AUN-QA, National University of Singapore. Here Dr. Tan Kay Chuan provided a comprehensive explanation of the AUN-QA Institutional Assessment Version 3.0 ensuring all participants understood the various ins and outs of the updated features, framework, and assessment criteria in the latest version. Without a doubt, participants had a deeper understanding of its purpose and significance in evaluating institutional quality.

Day 1 Agenda 2 TKC-min.jpg

Up next, was the third agenda “Quality Assurance & World Class Curriculum Delivery: Unleashing the Synergy”, being where the conference explored the crucial role of QA beyond just assessments, which would be promoting student mobility and facilitating the globalization of academic standards in the ASEAN region. The project of highlight for this agenda was CALOHEA, short for Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Asia, a collaborative effort between Tuning Academy of Groningen University, Deusto University, and AUN-QA. Here, our speakers discussed the role of the CALOHEA project and driving internationalization and academic excellence, along with the products of CALOHEA, also referred to as the 3 Recognition Mechanisms. Speaking of, well, speakers, we had the subject area group (SAG) coordinators of the CALOHEA project:

  1. Prof. Dato’ Dr. Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah, School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia (Civil Engineering)
  2. Richard R. Jugar, PhD, Dean of School of Education, University of San Carlos (Teacher Education)
  3. Muhamad Saiful Bahri Yusoff, PhD, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (Medicine)

With careful moderation from Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ornsiri Cheunsuang, AUN-QA Lead Assessor, Chulalongkorn University, making sure we are all here to drive higher education to the greatest level of excellence!

Day 1 Agenda 3-min.jpg

For the fourth agenda “The Catalyst of Success: Leadership at the Core of Quality Assurance Enhancement in Universities”, we explored how leadership is paramount to driving university excellence in quality assurance. It is certainly not a one man job and any team needs an effective leader to achieve success. This agenda was arranged in a talk show format where we had 4 panelist on point to discuss this topic, with moderation from Prof. Wan Ahmad Kamil Mahmood, PhD, Special Advisor to the AUN Executive Director. As for the panelists, introducing:

  1. Dr. Yu Un Oppusunggu, PhD, AUN-QA Council Member,
  2. Prof. Eddy Chong Siong Choy, PhD, AUN-QA Council Member,
  3. Dr. Maria Resurreccion P. Alejo, PhD, AUN-QA Council Member
  4. Prof. Dr. Didi Sukyadi, M.A., Vice Rector for Education and Student Affairs of Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia

Day 1 Agenda 4 crop-min.jpg

The fifth and last agenda of the first day was “How Not to Do QA: When Best Practices Turn Sour”. Systems are rarely perfect and are always open to improvement, QA systems are no different and it is important to critically examine the shortcomings of QA practices and share insights on how to avoid pitfalls and ensure effective QA implementation. With moderation from Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director of ASEAN University Network, this agenda had:

  1. Dr. Susanna Karakhanyan, Immediate Past President, The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE)
  2. Dr. Robyn Philips, Director of XBorder Project, Australia

Day 1 Agenda 5 crop-min.jpg

Moving on now to the second day, taking place in the morning of 7 September, 3 more agendas were ready to go. For the first one, “AUN-QA IQA Design and Development: Recent Successes and Ways Forward”, we had our speakers discuss the current state of internal quality assurance systems and the way forward. Together, they shared their experiences, insights, and key takeaways contributing to the redesign of an effective IQA for ASEAN HEIs from the recent AUN Internal Quality Assurance System (AUN-IQAS) Development Workshop in Viet Nam. With Prof. Dr. Satria Bijaksana, Deputy Chairperson of AUN-QA Council, Institut Teknologi Bandung at the helm as moderator, we had the following speakers:

  1. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Kay Chuan, AUN-QA Technical Expert, and Chief of Quality Officer to the AUN-QA, National University of Singapore
  2. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamolwan Lueprasert, Special Advisor to AUN Executive Director
  3. Tran Bich Hue, MSc, Head of the Quality Management Division at the Vietnam Quality Assurance Department, Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam
  4. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Tuan, Director, Quality Assurance Department, University of Danang

Day 2 Agenda 1-min.jpg

Second agenda of the second day was “Cultivating QA Human Resources and Institutional Capacities in Universities: Challenges and Good Practices”. Here there was discussion on how to improve the capabilities of staff in universities, including English skills and developing the competency of human resources. Our speakers shared their experience with this mission from recent capacity building programmes in QA conducted in Southeast Asia by the AUN Secretariat, AUN Member and Associate Member Universities, and AUN partner organizations. Our two speakers for this agenda were:

  1. Ms. Peetra Lechte, Communications Manager, NEAS Australia
  2. Mr. Johnson Ong Chee Bin, Founder and Principal Consultant, Education Quality International

Moderated by Dr. Michael Fay, Director, ASEAN Focus Group

Day 2 Agenda 2-min.jpg

For the final agenda of AUN-QA IC 2023, we had a special panel discussion “Beyond the Measuring of Quality” with the aim to thoroughly explore the concept of “quality” itself, especially in the higher education space. The session addressed the reason for standardization within education in the first place and how education also drives humanity towards innovation and the betterment of society. For this, we had our speakers share their insights and expertise to come unwrap this concept of “quality”. With moderation from Asst. Prof. Dr. Supachai Chuenjitwongsa, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Educational Innovation and Program Quality Assurance, Chulalongkorn University, the speakers for this agenda were:

  1. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bundit Thipakorn, Chair of Sub-Committee on Higher Education Standards Accreditation, the Commission on Higher Education Standards, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI), Thailand
  2. Dr. Lilian A. De Las Llagas, Chairperson of the Internationalization of Higher Education Panel of Eminent Experts (iHOPE), the Philippines
  3. Mr. Jamaluddin Ibrahim, President of Malaysian Higher Education Institutions Quality Assurance Network (MyQAN), Malaysia

Day 2 Agenda 3-min.jpg

However, that is still not all! As is tradition with past AUN-QA ICs, following right after are internal meetings between AUN-QA members. The first being the Assessors’ General Assembly, where assessors of AUN-QA gathered once more to discuss and criticize current practices of assessment in order to refine the process. The second is the Chief Quality Officers’ Meeting where stakeholders of AUN-QA come to review the thematic network as a whole and plan the way forward for years ahead.



So, that will be an overview of the agendas from the AUN-QA IC for now. However, stay tuned to AUN Secretariat news as in the coming weeks, we will be exploring the details of each agenda!