The Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade underwent an institutional quality enhancement review MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement, European independent accreditation and external evaluation body for music, affiliate of European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education – ENQA and registered on the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR), dedicated to the continuous improvement of the quality of higher music education across Europe and beyond. As a result, the Faculty of Music in Belgrade has become the only higher education institution in country and region reviewed positively by MusiQuE, confirming in such a way high level of alignment with European standards of higher music education.
The Institutional review of the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade, concludes an important part of activities in project work package 1 – Preparation and Analysis (WP 1.1) which sets the foundation for further project activities by conducting both internal and external assessment of the existing programmes at national HMEIs and to develop new modernised curricula by putting the greater focus on digital media and entrepreneurship. In addition to its value within DEMUSIS project, MusiQuE evaluation is highly significant for the Faculty of Music and the University of Arts, both as an important vehicle for quality enhancement and positioning within the higher music education international network, as well as valuable support and encouragement for further development of the Faculty of Music, above all, in campaign for new the campus.
The international Review Team was composed of Gustav Djupsjobacka, Sibelius Academy, Finland (Review Team Chair); Lies Colman, The Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, Belgium; Ana Čorić, University of Zagreb, Croatia; Ondřej Daněk, Academy of Performing Arts, Brno, Czech Republic; Ingrid Maria Hanken, Norwegian Academy of Music, Norway (Review Team Secretary).
The review followed a three-stage process:
1. The Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade wrote a self-evaluation report (SER) based on, and structured according to, the MusiQuE Standards for Institutional Review .
2. An international Review Team studied the self-evaluation report and conducted a site-visit at the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade from 27 to 30 October 2019. This comprised of meetings with the Senior management, institutional/departmental/ programme leaders, members of the relevant board/academic council, representatives of the profession and former students, students and artistic and academic staff members as well as several music performances.
3. The Review Team produced a report, structured following the MusiQuE Standards for Institutional Review. The Institutional Review Report is publicly available in the Completed reports section of the MusiQuE website.
The Quality Enhancement Review was conducted following well-established MusiQuE procedures and standards, including evaluation of Faculty’s mission and vision, educational processes and study programs, teaching and non-teaching staff, facilities and financial resources, quality control procedures, and public interaction. It highlights the institution’s strong points, and provides advice and suggestions or recommendations for change. The first draft of the report of the Review Team was scrutinized by the MusiQuE Board on 31 January 2020 to ensure its consistency with, and relevance to MusiQuE Standards. After that the report has been sent to the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade for factual comments. The final version of the report was approved by the MusiQuE Board on April 2nd, 2020.
In Institutional Review Report of the Faculty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade, the evaluation team highlights the Faculty of Music extensive study programme portfolio, well-structured curricula in line with intended learning outcomes. Furthermore, teaching processes and methods of delivery, “an impressive research output”, qualifications of teaching and support staff, along with wide variety opportunities offered to students to take part in educational and artistic activities within and outside the institution were also highly commended. The Review Team finds the Faculty of Music “well integrated into wider cultural, artistic and educational contexts in Serbia, with a strong commitment to contribute in different ways to the cultural and educational sectors. There is also a strong quality culture within the institution with a commitment to support students and address any concerns or needs for change in curriculum or procedures.”
In particular, the ensuing Report draws attention to the role of DEMUSIS project in future endeavors of the Faculty of Music, its students and staff. Among other, the project’s contribution to the development of Faculty’s infrastructure and facilities is marked upon. It especially emphasizes project’s capacity to act as agent of keeping up with a rapidly changing environment of music profession. DEMUSIS project is also seen as “yet another step in the development of the portfolio of the Faculty of Music. The focus is on entrepreneurship and digital competences, resulting in the establishment of elective subjects, curriculum changes within existing subjects, and master programmes.” The importance of these skills and knowledge for future careers of academic musicians and the necessity of their introduction in modern curricula was further underlined by representatives of profession, former students and stakeholders. Accordingly, MusiQuE Review Team concludes that “DEMUSIS project will further enhance the students’ opportunities for interaction with the music profession and thus prepare them for a future career”.