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Guest talk

Dr. Don Westerheijden

(University of Twente, The Netherlands)

Between Transparency and Trust

Autonomy, accountability and institutional accreditation in Europe

Does institutional accreditation reduce bureaucracy while increasing chances for quality enhancement? Will it make quality assurance acceptable to academic teachers and researchers, and to students? These questions will be discussed in my address to the colloquium.

Quality assurance has featured in higher education in Europe since the late 1980s, and was boosted by the Bologna Process. The European context has influenced quality assurance in many countries – Bologna is more than just degrees! – yet some fundamental debates endure about the balance between quality control and quality enhancement, as well as about methods of assessing quality, i.e. the balance between peer review and performance indicators on the operational level, and the balance between programme assessment and institutional accreditation at the systemic level. Arguments that feed into the debates include academic freedom and institutional autonomy: can we trust academics and universities to care for the benefit of students and society? Or does society have a right (an obligation?) to demand transparency from public institutions about their performances? These questions will be illustrated with examples from policies in European countries, to place the debate about German higher education developments in a broader context. In particular the trend towards institutional accreditation, visible in Germany and many but not all countries in Europe, will be treated from these perspectives.

Don Westerheijden is senior research associate at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) of the University of Twente, the Netherlands. Don studies quality assurance and accreditation in higher education in the Netherlands and Europe, its impacts, as well as university rankings. Policy evaluation is another of his research interests. He is a member of the team that develops and publishes U-Multirank, the online, multidimensional worldwide university ranking. Don is a member of the editorial board of the journals Quality in Higher Education and Qualität in der Wissenschaft, besides serving on international boards of quality assurance agencies in Portugal (A3ES) and Hong Kong (UGC-QAC), and on the Advisory Board of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019, 4.00–5.30 p.m. | Vogelpothsweg 78 (CDI building), room 114
Center for Higher Education (zhb)
Professorship of Higher Education

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.


TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".


The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.


The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.


Interactive map

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Campus Lageplan Zum Lageplan