AEC and U-Multirank

Exploring possibilities of finding field-based indicators for Higher Music Education

AEC keeps a close eye on developments taking place across European and international education and tries, where appropriate, to participate in and influence them. This includes even sensitive areas such as that of ranking, which so far have focused on universities research performance and reputation and have been of limited interest for Higher Music Education (HME).

The establishment of the U-Multirank, funded by the EU Commission, represents a new approach with a wider scope. After some years of developmental work, the first survey was published in 2014, and it includes now more than 1200 universities in 83 countries with the contribution of 85000 students. As units within major universities, an increasing number of AEC institutions have already got involved in the U-Multirank.

U-Multirank looks at five dimensions: teaching & learning, research, knowledge transfer, international orientation and regional engagement. It combines institutional ranking (comparing whole institutions) and field-based rankings, based on individual disciplines. As opposed to other rankings, U-Multirank is user-driven: it leaves the decision on the relevance of individual indicators to users, and abstains from calculating a composite overall score.

With this in mind, AEC has taken up a dialogue with the U-Multirank developers during the last years in order to explore whether it might be practicable, and in the interests of the discipline, to develop a set of field-based indicators for music. The ambition is to secure relevance, reliability and validity of dimensions and indicators, which in a transparent way can contribute to visibility of our institutions and to further quality enhancement in our field.

Following discussions on ranking at the AEC Congress in Palermo in 2013 and in Budapest 2014, the AEC Council was mandated to follow up cautious discussions with the U-Multirank team on whether music might be among the next group of disciplines scheduled for the development of field-based indicators.

The AEC formed a working group (WG) with the aim to study whether it is possible to find adequate indicators, which could apply to the field of higher music education (HME). The results of this study were open and subject to the decision of the AEC membership.

During the General Assembly 2015, the AEC members decided the U-Multirank WG should progress to the phase 2 of the project and test the proposal presented through a pilot project with volunteer AEC institutions. After a year of intense discussions and revisions, the WG is happy to present the AEC membership a revised U – Multirank system adapted proposal for the field of HME.

In addition, The WG has produced a final report where the AEC members can find all the details of the work develped during the first and the pilot phase of the project.