The breakout session, which was moderated by the director of the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), featured presentations by TEFCE experts Ninoslav Šćukanec Schmidt and Thomas Farnell (Institute for the Development of Education, Croatia). The presentations argued that there is both a need to prioritise community engagement in European higher education and a need to develop a European framework for community engagement that does fall into the trap of ranking and benchmarking performance of universities, but rather empowers universities and their communities to develop stronger partnerships. The TEFCE Toolbox for community engagement in higher education was presented as such a framework, which could function as on optional framework for internal quality assurance at universities that recognise the value of community engagement.
The session followed with a discussion with audience members, whose main conclusions were that the Toolbox provides a valuable and innovative framework. The question that remained open was whether community engagement should or could be linked to external quality assurance in higher education, with some respondents claiming this would 'bureaucratise' community engagement, and other respondents claiming that external quality assurance can also take more flexible, open and participative forms that could support community engagement.