The Riva Institute

The Riva Institute

A Global Conversation on Assessment, Evaluation, and Quality in Higher Education

At its first meeting in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, in June of 2012, participants at the Riva Institute came together to discuss pressing assessment interests and concerns and their relationship to teaching, learning, and educational quality within and across national borders.   Led by the Office of Assessment and Evaluation at Virginia Tech (United States) and what is now the Center for Engineering Education at Lund University (Sweden), the premise was that accountability and quality assurance standards were growing demands of educational systems on both sides of the Atlantic.  In addition, challenges of globalization, massification, and mobility were also linked to a shifting focus from teaching to learning.  Besides Lund and Virginia Tech, faculty and staff also came from University of Technology (Sydney, Australia) and Central European University (Budapest, Hungary).

In June of 2013, the Riva Institute reconvened again in Switzerland to follow up on previous collaborative efforts and to propose new initiatives that would inform pedagogy and assessment at participating institutions.  As before, the leaders were Lund and Virginia Tech,  with representatives from Central European University (Budapest, Hungary), James Madison University (United States), and Nanyang University (Singapore).

The Riva Institute was held at Lund University, in Lund, Sweden, in June 2014, again organized and led by the Virginia Tech and Lund collaborators.  In addition, faculty also participated the University of British Columbia (Canada) and University of Bergen (Norway).  At this meeting, discussion focused on translating our central tenet – that teaching, learning, and assessment are inextricably linked, with assessment focused primarily on improvement rather than accountability – into a framework that would guide our future work and collaborations.

Though no meeting was held in 2015, collaborative work still continued through efforts at grant writing, conference presentations, and publications.  Now, in June 2016, the Riva Institute is hosted at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Tech and Lund collaborators will examine ways to sustain the long-term sustainability of the institute and our collaborative efforts.

Host Universities

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 215 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 30,000 students and manages a research portfolio of nearly $400 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Through a combination of its three missions of learning, discovery, and engagement, Virginia Tech continually strives to be fully engaged with communities and society to address local and global needs. For more information, please visit our website:

Lund University has a long and vibrant history covering almost 350 years of teaching. It has evolved from just a few hundred students and professors being paid with meat and grain into its present form, with around 47,000 students and a position of excellence in international teaching and research.

In the late 19th century, the Faculty of Philosophy was divided into a Faculty of Humanities and a Faculty of Science. In 1964 the social sciences were broken off from the humanities. In 1969 the Lund Institute of Technology (LTH) became the Faculty of Engineering. At the end of the 20th century the University had developed into its current structure, with eight core faculties and a range of surrounding institutes.

Ad utrumque, (prepared for both), is Lund University’s motto, referring to the book and the sword in the University’s seal from the 17th century. Today the expression can be applied to a number of the dual values for which the University stands, such as tradition and innovation or breadth and depth. For more information please visit our website: