The VAP was defined by the following concepts:

  • If possible, participants, visiting members and host-institution administrators, will have first participated in a symposium on higher education in Salzburg. Doing so has multiple benefits: discussions in Salzburg inform the following visit to the university (often providing the issues to be discussed during the team's visit); it increases the synergy between the two parts of the program; and occasionally team members and members of the host university administration have already met in Salzburg and so by meeting at the university a relationship begun in Salzburg is continued and strengthened.
  • Visiting teams come at the invitation of the university and the issues to be discussed are defined by the university.
  • Host institutions undertake a rigorous institutional self-evaluation prior to the team's arrival. This serves two important functions: it provides the team with valuable and necessary information to increase the effectiveness of their visit; and the institution often benefits enormously from undertaking the required self-evaluation.
  • Suggestions and observations by the visiting team, presented in a final report to the rector, are not binding or prescriptive but are offered in the spirit of collegiality. The rector and his administrative team are free to implement the recommendations or not as they wish.

(VAP Proposal Carnegie Corporation, 2005-2007)