PHExcel – Testing the Feasibility of a Quality Label for Professional Higher Education Excellence

logo_blueAbout the Project

PHExcel aims to support professional higher education (PHE) institutions across Europe to improve their PHE performance. It plans to achieve this by providing them with a Quality Framework that defines best practice in the professional (as compared to academic) elements of their processes.


The proposal derives from the strategic consultations held within EURASHE and its membership, which identify that there is no instrument for measuring, benchmarking or assessing the PHE performance, depriving the sector of a critical method for conducting self-improvement. The project also addresses the need to:

  • Extend (not replace) current QA approaches, to serve the particular aims and objectives of PHE
  • Provide for a structured methodology for peer feedback and review
  • Develop a firm root concept of PHE Excellence
  • Address these, without overt increases in administration or replication

In short, the project envisages to:

  • Define the concept of ‘PHE Excellence’, in terms of a set of quality characteristics of PHE processes, expressed by descriptors and measured by indicators
  • Create a methodology for quality review, validate it by live testing and improve it through extensive public consultation
  • Identify the best way to sustainably deploy a Quality Framework for PHE excellence by analysing the feasibility of providing the Quality Framework in the form of a label.

It is anticipated that HEIs deploying the Quality Framework, will be able to more effectively iterate and innovate their professionally oriented processes by identifying avenues for improvement through best practice sharing by means of peer review and setting of measurable performance benchmarks with respect to their professional processes. This will bring them ever-closer to true PHE Excellence.


The project is a successor to the initiative on Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe (HAPHE). The initiative proposed a definition and set of defining characteristics for Professional Higher Education which are being used as the starting point for the PHExcel Quality Framework.

More Information:

HAPHE Project – website about the predecessor project

PHEXCEL Project – website about the project

KIC’s Role in the Project

The Centre has supported the following activities within this project:

  • authoring of the operational guide for quality assurance reviews (based upon consultancy given on quality label design to the UNIQUe and ECBCheck e-learning labels, and to the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency)
  • designing the communication strategy of the consortium, and supporting all web-based communications
  • assisting in the design of the exploitation and sustainability strategy for the project, using its expertise in knowledge transfer activities.

Services Provided: