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The National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Publication date: 21/12/2021

20 ANIVERSARIO ANECA

“Support, modernisation, transparency, equity, momentum, and quality” are “the essential elements of ANECA’s new stage guiding our work”, stated the director of ANECA, Mercedes Siles Molina, at the Agency’s 20th Anniversary celebration on the 21st December in Madrid.

In her speech, she attributed the Agency’s achievements to the result of teamwork, stating that “when we build, we never do it from scratch; it is always a joint effort from everyone involved. Our life takes place in an environment, in a context, made possible by those who have preceded us and those who have accompanied us.” “Memory is the soul of people, of institutions, and it must be preserved. It has to be said. Looking back is the best exercise to look forward. With eyes opened, yearning to know more, to learn about the past, produces a clear vision of the future,” she added.

Whilst reviewing the main achievements during her almost two-year reign as head of the Agency, Mercedes Siles Molina insisted that “it wouldn’t have been possible without her team of eighty proud and dedicated professionals. And the more than two thousand five hundred individuals and experts, who make up our committees and commissions each year, who have all been fundamental”.
The event was attended by Joan Subirats, Minister of Universities, who reviewed the Agency’s main activities in the past two decades in his first public act after taking office. “ANECA plays a key role in the Spanish university system as it evaluates and analyses teaching staff, institutions, centres and university degrees”.
Subirats attributed the modernisation of processes and procedures, the commitment to transparency, the promotion of equity and the entire process of internationalisation and proximity to institutions to the director of the Agency, Mercedes Siles Molina. “Let’s hope, she said, that in another 20 years, ANECA will continue to be the important Agency that it is”.
The 20th anniversary commemoration event is a tribute to all the staff who work at ANECA and to all those that have contributed to its development over these past twenty years as part of its committees, commissions or management teams.
The celebration commemorates the publication in the Boletin Oficial del Estado (Official State Gazette) on the 21st December 2001, of the Organic Law of Universities 6/2001, of the 21st December, which includes the creation of ANECA as a foundation attached to the Ministry of Education, to guarantee the quality of Spanish universities at national and international levels, mentioned in V title on evaluation and accreditation. The following year, in 2002, the Council of Ministers authorised the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports to set up the State Foundation National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation with the aim of measuring the performance of universities’ public service and promoting an improved quality of education and international competitiveness.
The event, presented by Iñaki Gabilondo, reviewed the Agency’s milestones over the past two decades featuring Colin Tück, Director of EQAR; Douglas Blackstock, President of ENQA; and José Carlos Gómez Villamandos, President of CRUE Spanish Universities, who emphasised the collaboration with ANECA to “the objective of putting universities at the service of society”. In addition to congratulating the Agency for the work it carried out over the last 20 years, he stressed the importance of the collaboration involved; “team work and institutional loyalty,” he said, “not only strengthens our respective institutions but also helps our universities and its teachers to be better every day”. “I will never get tired of reminding people – and all of us who are here today – that a university has just one important goal, which is to promote social progress”, he added.
José Saturnino Martínez García, coordinator of REACU, also spoke, stating that “ANECA's work over these decades has been decisive in contributing to improving the responsibility that universities hold towards Spanish citizens. An autonomy whose purpose is to offer the best possible education. The agencies work with them to improve their self-knowledge and offer them strategies for improvement. Although many insist that our public universities are not of the greatest excellence, we forget that they are among the most efficient, given the budget they have. As a country, we are among the top ten in the world according to the overall quality of the university system".
ANECA's managerial team were present including: Zulima Fernández Rodríguez (2009), Rafael Van Grieken (2012), Miguel Ángel Galindo Martín (2015) and José Arnáez Vadillo (2017). Ismael Crespo (2002), Francisco Marcellán (2004) and Gemma Rauret (2006), excused their absence due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic.

ANECA Helice Award for Academic Excellence

During the celebration of the 20th Anniversary, the first set of the annual ANECA Hélice Awards for Academic Excellence was granted, acknowledging teaching staff at Spanish universities and other higher education institutions that have stood out for their commitments to academia and excellent public service in accordance with the agency's quality-driven principles and values. Whilst 60 candidates were put forth, Pilar Flores Cubos, Professor of Psychology at the University of Almería (UAL), and Emilio Sanz, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of La Laguna (ULL) received the award.