University quality assurance system approved by the Swedish Higher Education Authority
After a year of evaluation, Halmstad University has received the rating ”approved” in the Swedish Higher Education Authority's (UKÄ) review of the University's quality assurance system for education. This means that the University meets all of the assessment areas that UKÄ has evaluated.
”It feels absolutely fantastic that we have received such a nice review from UKÄ's assessment group. I have read many assessments over the years and this is the most positive I have read. The assessor group has looked thoroughly into our quality system, which I am particularly pleased about. I would like to commend all the employees at our schools and the University administrative support who are part of our quality system. Without the commitment of the administrative support staff, we would not have received such good ratings”, says Pernilla Nilsson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor with specific responsibility for education and quality.
”Satisfactory in all areas of assessment”
The review of quality assurance processes focuses on how well the University's quality system and quality work contribute to securing and developing the quality of the education. It covers six areas of assessment: governance and organisation; preconditions; design, implementation and outcomes; equality; student and doctoral perspectives as well as working life and collaboration. The overall review shows that all areas of assessment are satisfactory. UKÄ's assessment group states that ”the higher education institution has organised and built a quality system that is comprehensive, both at an overall and at a detailed level. The quality system is purposive with a division of responsibilities that is clearly defined and is therefore satisfactory”.
”We are incredibly happy about this positive outcome. It is the result of purposeful work to build a quality system and quality processes that ensures that our courses can offer high quality to our students. UKÄ has really done a thorough review of our quality assurance work. We are also pleased that UKÄ has paid special attention to how we have purposefully linked our operational planning and organisational development with the quality work”, says Stephen Hwang, Vice-Chancellor of the University.
Strong commitment to quality work
Among the strengths, the employees' knowledge of, and participation and commitment to, quality work is mentioned. Overall, the assessment group sees a strength and great ambition in the University's quality system and the work that is done within its framework. The assessment group would like to emphasise in particular the strength of all the different recurring dialogues that appear to be central to the University's quality work. The assessment group also highlights as a strength that key areas and issues that are central to the University's quality system and quality work are repeatedly treated and developed over time, suggesting that the results and conclusions generated in the quality system are really used to analyse and develop the education.
Another strength is the University's work with gender mainstreaming. The assessment group believes that the work done at the University, and the development in the field of gender equality that the University has initiated and carried out in recent years, is a very good example of how a higher education institution can work with the area of gender equality within the framework of, and integrated into, the systematic quality work.
”The assessment group also draws attention to the strength in our Higher Education Centre (HPC) being represented in the quality work, which is confirmed both by the written documentation that the assessment group has received and by the interviews with representatives at the University. Given the solid work that HPC has done during the pandemic, they really deserve to get this appreciation”, says Pernilla Nilsson.
Results must be made more available externally
The only basis for assessment that was not considered fulfilled concerns the communication of the results in the quality system and how different results and documentation are made available externally, so that students in particular have better access to them. The University's puzzle pyramid is described as a good tool for the University's communication about quality work, but in addition to the news, decisions and reviews published, the assessment group recommends the University to review what other documentation is made available, such as course evaluations, key figures or follow-up reports.
The University's communication policy states that one of the goals for the University's communication is that internal communication should promote dialogue, efficiency and cooperation, as well as build pride and participation among employees and students.
”The evaluation has been important to us, since it has given information on how well our quality system works. The fact that we now receive such a positive review is thanks to the hard work and commitment of all employees.”
Pernilla Nilsson, Pro Vice-Chancellor