E-STAR Accreditation rewards Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) for their commitment to using the Entrepreneurial mindset as the catalyst for achieving higher quality in 4 Accreditation Standards:
Student education and career planning,
Transfer of knowledge to business,
Academic innovation and development, and
Regional impact (economic, social & cultural).
E-STAR accreditation meets a real need for greater recognition of HEIs around the world who use the entrepreneurial mindset to create value for their stakeholders, including students, business and society.
E-STAR takes an entrepreneurial approach to the process of accreditation, and, therefore, is able to reduce bureaucracy, provide better value for money, reduce the time from application to award and maintain high standards.
It provides an opportunity to celebrate and promote entrepreneurial achievements in Higher Education and is a robust platform for continuous improvement.
Picture Credit Pixabay and the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network
1 Increased recognition for use of the entrepreneurial mindset
There is a real need to grow the level of recognition, at an international level, for HEIs that are using the entrepreneurial mindset to create value for their stakeholders.
E-STAR accreditation embraces the rich diversity of HEIs across the world, acknowledging and respecting their distinctive locations, missions, stakeholders, cultures, resources and national regulatory systems.
The Accreditation Standards have been designed to be relevant to all academic disciplines (including the humanities, art and cultural studies, scientific disciplines and the social sciences) and to recognise their distinct approaches to entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.
Each of the 4 Accreditation Standards has 3 detailed Evaluation Criteria, making 12 in total. The criteria articulate realistic expectations for the integration of the entrepreneurial mindset into core HE activities and do not attempt to describe an idealised HEI.
The E-STAR awarding body is the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network, a community of practice with members in 105 countries.
2 An entrepreneurial approach to the process of accreditation
Firstly, the 4 Accreditation Standards have been designed to focus on the needs of stakeholders. This requires HEIs to review and enhance their provision of key information to stakeholders and in turn enables HEIs to strengthen their connections to prospective students, local business and society.
Secondly, by recognising the autonomy of HEIs within their regulatory environments, there is no need to evaluate every organisational function or to request information that is confidential or commercially sensitive. This enables an accreditation which has a strict and distinctive focus on the entrepreneurial mindset.
Thirdly, a decision has been taken to undertake the review of an HEI, against the 4 Accreditation Standards, by only using evidence that is in the public domain and, therefore, is readily available to stakeholders. This removes the need for an HEI to produce a self-assessment report and allows the review to be conducted online without a visit. These factors combine to reduce costs, shorten timescales and to increase the transparency of the accreditation process and its outcomes.
Finally, the E-STAR process has been informed by consideration of the key elements of recognised accreditation codes of practice.
3 A focus on creating added value for stakeholders
E-STAR Accreditation requires an HEI to meet 4 Accreditation Standards that evaluate the quality of the information it provides to stakeholders.
In order to prepare a submission for accreditation, an HEI will need to self-assess itself against the E-STAR Accreditation Standards. This analysis will no doubt lead the HEI to identify improvements that it will need to implement in preparation for accreditation.
Therefore, the preparatory phase of the accreditation process is not a bureaucratic exercise but a process that can create value for a diverse range of stakeholders.
E-STAR accreditation is an opportunity for an HEI to ensure that it is presenting its academic offer, services and achievements in the best possible light. Improving the quality of this information will strengthen connections with stakeholders and support the delivery of key administrative processes e.g. marketing, student recruitment, quality assurance, governance and human resource management.
4 Stimulation of continuous improvement through Peer Review
A team of HE experts, undertakes a Peer Review of the information provided on the HEI’s website against the 4 Accreditation Standards. The Peer Reviewers will judge if the information is a) easy and quick to locate b) detailed and informative and c) tailored to the needs of the stakeholder.
As the 4 Accreditation Standards are evaluated against information in the public domain, the possibility of subjective judgements by the Peer Reviewers is reduced, and the HEI can more easily verify the outcomes of the accreditation.
The Peer Reviewers submit their draft evaluations and recommendations to the Director of the Entrepreneurial Mindset who validates the information and checks to ensure that there has been due process.
The Peer Review process is designed to offer an HEI an endorsement of good practice and access to recommendations from HE experts about steps towards continuous improvement. The final outcome is the ability to showcase the achievements of the HEI on the international stage.
5 Recognition of excellence
The outcome of the accreditation will be presented to the HEI in an online Feedback Meeting, during which the Peer Reviewers will share their evaluations of the HEI's website against the Accreditation Standards and their recommendations for continuous improvement. This is a valuable opportunity for peer-to-peer discussion between the HEI and the Reviewers. Afterwards, a brief report of the accreditation outcome will be sent to the HEI.
An HEI will be considered for the following levels of E-STAR accreditation:
The levels of accreditation recognise the diversity of HEIs. To be accredited it is not necessary for an HEI to have provision that matches to all 12 evaluation criteria, but for those HEIs that do there is the additional opportunity for progression (Bronze, Silver and Gold).
6 Membership of a vibrant, community of practice for accredited HEIs
HEIs that have gained E-STAR accreditation will be inducted into the international E-STAR Academy.
The aims of the E-STAR Academy are:
In order to achieve these aims the E-STAR Academy will:
Accreditation Standards and Procedures
The Accreditation Standards have been designed to:
In maintaining and developing the Accreditation Procedures, the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network, as the awarding body, will:
Student education and career planning
Peer reviewers will examine the HEI’s website and identify examples of page(s) on the website which would enable a potential student to find answers to the following questions:
S1 What are my options for gaining a qualification which has a focus on creativity, innovation or entrepreneurship?
S2 What are the opportunities for me to take an active role in extra-curricula activities that support my creativity, innovation or entrepreneurship?
S3 How will you help me to manage my career options including preparation for employment or entrepreneurship?
Transfer of knowledge to business
Peer reviewers will examine the HEI’s website and identify examples of page(s) on the website which would enable a person who aspires to start or grow a business to find answers to the following questions:
T1 What training and resources do you offer that would help me to start a new business or enterprise?
T2 What training and resources do you offer that would help me to improve my existing company or organisation?
T3 How can your research (activities, people and resources) help me or my organisation or my sector/industry?
Academic innovation and development
Peer reviewers will examine the HEI’s website and identify examples of page(s) on the website which would enable an employee at the HEI to find answers to following questions:
A1 What is my organisation’s strategic commitment to innovation in Higher Education?
A2 How is responsibility for innovation represented within the governance and leadership structures of my organisation?
A3 How does my organisation support equality and diversity?
Regional impact (economic, social and cultural)
Peer reviewers will examine the HEI’s website and identify examples of page(s) on the website which would enable alumni and members of the public to find answers to following questions:
R1 How do you support me as a member of the alumni?
R2 How can I find out about on-campus activities or online events that are open to me as a member of the general public?
R3 How are staff and students engaged in the local community in ways that generate benefits for citizens?
Step 1: Registration
The first step in the E-STAR accreditation is for the HEI to complete a short registration form. The Form must be completed by a person with the authority to act on behalf of the HEI and approve the payment of the Registration Fee of 500€. The HEI then chooses the date/time for a 45 minute online Briefing. The agenda for the Briefing will include:
Step 2: Peer Review
When an HEI is satisfied that its website is ready for evaluation, it requests a Peer Review. It must declare that all the information it places in the public domain is accurate and pay the Peer Review Fee of 2000€, which includes:
Step 3: Join the E-STAR Academy
Accredited HEIs will be invited to join the exclusive E-STAR Academy. There is an annual membership fee of 500€ which includes 1) promotion of the accreditation of the HEI, 2) support for continuous improvement and 3) stimulation of opportunities for collaboration.
1) To support the promotion of the accreditation of the HEI, the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network will:
2) To support continuous improvement, the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network will:
Note: The annual development meeting, which will be up to 45 minutes duration, is designed to be a discussion which will support the HEI in its continuous improvement of its website and, at the right time, its preparation for re-accreditation.
3) To stimulate opportunities for collaboration, the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network will invite accredited HEIs:
Summary of Fees
The cost of gaining E-STAR Accreditation is 3000€ in total. This includes the Registration Fee 500€, the Peer Review Fee 2000€ and the E-STAR Academy Membership Fee 500€.
E-STAR accreditation is valid for a period of 5 years, provided that an HEI maintains its membership of the E-STAR Academy.
Therefore, the total costs in a 5 year period are 5000€. This includes 3000€ for E-STAR Accreditation and 2000€ for membership of the E-STAR Academy.
Payment is by credit card or bank transfer. No VAT is payable. The above Fees are valid in 2023.
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