Another eight education programmes evaluated

During spring, another eight of the University’s education programmes were evaluated within the framework of the University’s system for quality assurance and evaluation. The purpose is to develop both the programmes and the system itself. Of this year’s evaluated programmes, two are assessed as approved quality, one programme as approved quality with reservations and four programmes as quality under review. One of the programmes was resubmitted.

“The students’ commitment and knowledge are crucial to developing the quality of the University’s education programmes.”

Malin Hallén, chair, Research and Education Board

Every year a number of education programmes are evaluated as part of the University’s quality assurance system according to a six-year cycle. Halmstad University uses the same assessment levels as those used by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ).

“Prior to this year’s evaluation, we have clarified the instructions and simplified the approach, both for the Schools and for the external experts. The evaluations serve as support in our internal quality assurance work and the structure helps us see what efforts and reinforcements are needed to make our educations even better”, says Malin Hallén, chair of the Research and Education Board, FUN, and points out how important students are for the evaluation process:

“The students’ commitment and knowledge are crucial to developing the quality of the University’s education programmes. The students stand for concreteness and contribute with their experiences of how to work practically with, for example, student influence and course evaluations and take advantage of results – as well as what needs to be improved.

Reviews in the 2021 evaluation

Approved quality

  • Construction Engineer
  • Sustainable Energy Engineer

Approved quality with reservations

  • Professional Sports Career and Working Life

Quality under review

  • Computer Engineering
  • Language, Text Editing and Digital Communication
  • Master’s Programme in Electronics Design
  • Master’s Programme in Mechanical Engineering
The University logo on black sheet metal with a wall of windows in the background. Photo.

The evaluation of the Electrical Engineer programme, which was also part of this year’s evaluation, has been resubmitted to the external experts and a decision on the programme’s assessment will be made when additional documentation has been received. The committee that has evaluated the Electrical Engineer programme finds it difficult to assess the quality of the programme without supplementary reasoning from the evaluation’s external experts.

Development work already underway

Development work has already begun at the Schools based on the assessments. For all educations, regardless of assessment level, development areas are handled within the framework of the annual follow-up. For educations that were assessed as approved quality with reservations, they must report to FUN no later than the Board’s first meeting in 2023 how shortcomings have been handled. For educations that were assessed as quality under review, the School concerned must – within three months and based on the evaluation report – have analysed and suggested whether the education should be developed or discontinued.

“The evaluation is a very important tool for constantly developing and improving our education programmes. The process of analysing and improving the programmes based on what the external reviewers point out is already underway at the School, and both teachers and students are involved in that work”, says Magnus Clarin, Dean at the School of Information Technology.

Extensive work with great commitment

This is the third evaluation that the University has carried out on its own, extensive work which, in addition to evaluating the programmes, helps the University develop its system for quality assurance and evaluation. The entire process begins with the programme faculty making self-assessments, which are the main basis for the assessment.

“We are in the middle of UKÄ’s review of our quality assurance work, and these programme evaluations are an important piece of the puzzle in the University’s overall quality assurance system. The purpose of the evaluations is to identify good examples and development areas. We will now look into how we – on an overall University level – can work with the parts that the evaluations point out”, says Pernilla Nilsson, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Advisory Board for Quality Assurance.

In addition to the Schools’ work in developing the education programmes and dealing with any shortcomings, the evaluation of the evaluation process itself continues to further develop the routines based on experiences from this year’s round. All experiences from both this and last year’s round are used in the continued development work for next year’s evaluation.

“We now have a well-functioning process where feedback and views from all parties involved immediately make an impression in the development work. For example, before the next evaluation round, we will work a little extra with the onsite visits and review how these can be developed to become even more rewarding. During 2020 and 2021, the format has been digital, which of course has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it has been easier to coordinate the onsite visits with external experts, alumni and working life representatives. The disadvantage is that we cannot in a good way show our nice study and lab environments to the external experts”, says Malin Hallén and takes the opportunity to direct a big thank you to everyone who has been involved in the evaluation work.

Text: Lena Lundén
Photo: Dan Bergmark

About the evaluations

Each education has been evaluated by an internal committee, one for each programme, which has assessed the education based on an assessment matrix and a report from external experts attached to the committees, two per committee. The external experts have specific knowledge of each area and type of training that was evaluated by the committee to which they were attached. The experts have a special task to assess the area of ​​knowledge, goal fulfillment and research connection and they have made digital onsite visits and talked to students in the programme, teachers and working life representatives.

Each committee was chaired by a member of the Research and Education Board. The Schools have nominated members to the committees, one per programme, and all committees have also consisted of a student representative, an administrator and two external experts.

The programme evaluations now carried out are part of the University’s quality assurance system. Every six years, educations must be evaluated according to an evaluation cycle and guidelines.