ABOUT HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM EXPERTS (HEREs)

Terms of Reference


1. Objectives and mission of the HEREs
The purpose of the National Teams of Higher Education Reform Experts is to
provide a pool of expertise in order to promote reforms and enhance progress in
Higher Education in the countries concerned and therefore participate in the
development of policies and reforms in Higher Education in their respective
country.

The mission of the HEREs is threefold:

- support policy development in their respective countries by supporting
modernisation reform processes and strategies in Higher Education, in close
contact with the local authorities concerned and in particular as regards for
instance curriculum development, modernisation of governance, management and
functioning of higher education systems and institutions, strengthening
relations between the higher education sector and the wider societal and
economic environment, etc.
- support policy dialogue with the EU in the field of Higher
Education possibly in synergy and coordination with the various policy platforms
established under the Erasmus+ programme or other potential initiatives
established by, and under the guidance of, the European Commission.

- support Erasmus+ and former EU programmes projects by disseminating their
results and outcomes, notably best practices and innovative initiatives and
exploiting them for modernisation and development purposes.


2. Geographical scope
HERE teams will be established in some of the Partner Countries eligible for
participation in the Higher Education Capacity Building actions, in particular
in the neighbouring area (Eastern Europe and Southern Mediterranean), the
Western Balkans and Central Asia and Russia.


3. Profile of the HEREs
The HERE scheme is a “peer-to-peer” exercise. Although HEREs do not replace the
work done by Ministries, Rectors Conferences, Quality Assurance Agencies,
academic recognition centres, National Erasmus+ Offices (NEOs), etc., they
should be well embedded in the national higher education environment and
cooperate closely with national authorities.
Members of the national team of HEREs should hold (or have held)
one of the following positions (or a combination thereof):
(Vice-)Rectors,
Deans and Heads of Department,
Senior Academics,
Directors of Study,
Responsible of administrative services (such as International Relations Offices, Quality Assurance departments, Career orientation services, etc.)
Ministry officials dealing with higher education
Other Higher Education experts and researchers
Students
Whatever their status or functions, HEREs must be highly motivated and concerned
by their overall mission, available to attend and actively participate in the
proposed events, willing to report widely about the results and to initiate
activities locally.

Further to their appointment, HEREs will have to sign a Code of Conduct stating
their responsibilities and duties in relation to their activities as HEREs. In
particular, the absence of conflict of interests and the experts' availability
to participate in the activities abroad and the coordination meetings in his/her
home country will be essential.


4. Size and composition of the HERE teams
As a group, each national team of HEREs must have the necessary knowledge and
expertise to provide counselling to institutions and peers on the different
areas covered under their mandate. In this context, the composition of the team
must provide a suitable balance between the various profiles
(academic/administrative/Student representatives) and fields of competences. The
inclusion of at least one student within the team should be ensured.

In order to ensure that each members of the team has the knowledge and
competences required to fulfil the tasks assigned, training will be provided
through international training events suchs as conferences, seminars and study
visits.
The size of each national team of HEREs will vary in accordance
with the size of the country and the number of higher education institutions,
with an estimated number of 5 to 15 members per team.

A Chair will have to be identified by each national team of HEREs with the
responsibility of coordinating the activities of the group and being the
privileged contact person for external stakeholders.


5. Activities
In order to fulfil their mission national teams of HEREs will perform activities
at national and international level, targeting primarily:
all Erasmus+ and on-going Tempus beneficiaries as well as potential Erasmus+
beneficiaries in the country (i.e. higher education institutions and
individuals; civil society; non-governmental organisations; enterprises,
professional organisations, research institutions, vocational training
institutions; etc.) and any other stakeholder in the field of higher education.
National authorities in charge of higher education and their affiliate bodies.
5.a Activities at international level
Activities at international level will be organised by an external
service provider, under the supervision of the European Commission and the
Executive Agency, and will correspond to the following types:
Thematic seminars designed to meet specific needs common in
various Partner Countries. The aim of the thematic seminars is to provide new
knowledge and practical experience. They may include field visits at higher
education institutions or other relevant stakeholders. They will also provide a
platform for questions, discussion and exchange of practices on specific topics
and processes.
Study visits that will take place in prominent EU or Partner Country
universities, focusing on specific topics and fields of interest, common to
various Partner Countries. Such visits will provide an opportunity to meet with
academic and non-academic staff directly responsible for the introduction and
the implementation of specific reforms or policies in the field of Higher
Education. The visits will include meetings with several types of stakeholders
as well as presentations, question & answer sessions and debates.
International large-scale conferences including key note speeches by
prominent experts and specific workshops dedicated to the attention of the HERE
teams of all Partner Countries. Such conferences will deal with themes and
topics connected to the core issues of the modernisation of the higher education
sector in fields such as governance, management, funding, curriculum development
and lifelong learning.
Technical assistance missions. Specific technical expertise and advice by EU
or Partner Country experts will be provided locally to HERE teams to carry out
training and consultancy activities in the Partner Countries, targeted at a wide
audience of university staff, officials and other higher education stakeholders.
The service provider will identify relevant experts, who can be entrusted with
such short term missions. These technical assistance activities will be
organised upon specific request from the HERE teams, channelled by the NEOs.
Surveys / publications: HEREs may be involved in the preparation of surveys
or publications commissioned by the European Commission or EACEA in relation to
the Higher Education sector, its institutions, policies, reforms and
modernisation process.
Virtual expert community and material: HEREs will be provided
with a web platform to communicate, liaise and exchange. This includes the
provision of information materials, brochures and case studies.
The support services required for the preparation, implementation
and monitoring of the international HERE activities will be provided by the
European Commission and EACEA with the support of an external provider.
5.b Activities at national level
In addition to the international activities referred to under 5.a
above, HERE teams will have to perform counselling and advisory activities at
national level and more concretely:
At institutional level, HEREs' work will consist in counselling, advising and
providing assistance to higher education institutions with regards to the
introduction and implementation of reforms.

Higher Education Reform Experts should be actively involved in all kinds of
promotional and awareness-raising activities about HE reforms in general and EU
higher education programmes and initiatives in particular. Experts with
specialist knowledge and experience may be recruited for the development and
delivery of training activities for HEREs in those areas.
At national level, HEREs will support national authorities in designing,
implementing and monitoring policy reforms in the field of HE. Overall, this
could include the following types of activities:
Advice and expertise;
Involvement in policy making process, preparation of national reports, codes,
draft laws & decrees;
Organising or participating in seminars, workshops, roundtables (teaching,
training, informing, disseminating);
Lecturing, participation in panel discussions and debates;
Interviews (radio, TV, newspaper, specialized press), public appearances;
Drafting of reports, analysis, studies;
Publication of papers on the HE reform processes in the Partner Country.


6. Appointment of the HEREs
HERE teams will be designated (/renewed or reconfirmed) for a period of 3 years
(renewable) starting as from 01 January 2015.

HERE candidates (new or already in place) will be proposed by the NEOs and the
national authorities in the Partner Countries. This proposal will have to be
endorsed by the respective EU Delegation and confirmed by the EACEA in line with
the criteria defined by the European Commission.


7. Management of the HERE teams
The setting up of the HEREs' initiative together with the preparation,
implementation and evaluation of the HEREs' activities in support to the higher
education modernisation and reform processes in the Partner Countries is based
on joint responsibilities shared between the European and Partner Country
responsible bodies.
The European Commission is responsible for the general steering of
the HEREs' initiative according to its political priorities. In particular, the
Commission will give guidance related to the themes to be considered for
training and events. This includes also steering of the content, priority
setting, overall monitoring of the activities and budget of the action,
definition of the selection criteria and profiles of the HEREs. It also includes
regular review and approval of the HEREs overall objectives and results achieved
based on ex-ante & ex-post information, reports and presentations submitted by
the EACEA.

The EACEA is responsible for validating the selection of the individual HEREs in
accordance with the criteria and profiles defined by the European Commission.
The EACEA is also responsible for approving and monitoring the HEREs' activity
plan and budget included in the NEO grant agreement, ensuring a coherent and
coordinated approach for all involved countries. Finally, it is also responsible
for managing the service contract with the external provider that will support
the organisation of HEREs' activities at international level.

The EU Delegations in the Partner Countries are closely associated in all HERE
activities. They endorse the appointment of the HEREs in the Partner Country.

The National Authorities propose the appointment of the national
teams of HEREs, in liaison with the NEOs. They will set strategic goals and
targets for the work of the HEREs, in the light of the state of progress of
higher education reforms at national and institutional level.

The National Erasmus+ Offices (NEOs) provide administrative, logistical and
financial support to the National Teams of HEREs, supporting and coordinating
their activities, following the strategic goals and targets set by the national
authorities. They act as intermediaries between the EU (/EACEA) and the HERE
teams, as well as between the Erasmus+ Capacity Building projects (/on-going
Tempus projects) and the HERE teams. In close cooperation with the National
Authorities, NEOs participate in the process of appointment of the Higher
Education Reform Experts.

From a management point of view, NEOs must
implement the budget allocated to the HEREs as part of their grant agreement (see section "8. Funding" below);
monitor the activities of the HEREs;
prepare and submit to the EACEA annual reports and a final report about the
activities implemented by the HERE team;
keep the national authorities informed on the implementation of the HEREs'
work programmes.
8. Funding of the HERE activities
The travel and subsistence costs incurred by the HEREs for their participation
in international events, as well as the direct costs related to local
initiatives involving the HEREs, will be covered by the specific budget
dedicated to the HEREs in the NEO grant agreement. No remuneration is foreseen
for the HEREs, but a limited part of this budget could be used to compensate
certain specific tasks carried out by the HEREs, subject to prior approval by
the EACEA.

The organisation of the international HERE activities will be financed through a
service contract with an external service provider.