Linnaeus University's quality work is characterized by participation, communication, development and systematics. It aims to support and develop the university's education and research activities in accordance with the applicable regulations and the vision of Linnaeus University.
Governing and supporting documents pertaining to Linnaeus University’s quality assurance are:
- Linnaeus University Quality Policy: Linnaeus University’s quality policy is established by the vice-chancellor and establishes a common ground from which all quality assurance within the different areas of activity originate. The policy outlines the university’s values and work procedures regarding the systematic quality assurance that stems from established goals and procedures. Furthermore, the policy describes the ways in which our quality assurance is connected to the university’s vision through the process of operational planning and monitoring.
- Framework for the Linnaeus University’s quality assurance: The purpose of the systematic actions for quality assurance on basic, advanced and research levels is to support the development of both general quality and operations, as well as to monitor the quality of the educations. As a starting-point for the work regarding the assurance and development of educational quality, the vice-chancellor has decided on a general, university-wide framework. This framework is meant to serve as guidance and support in the work concerning quality of educations on all levels.
The university board and the vice-chancellor have general responsibility for quality, while each respective faculty board and the board for teacher education are responsible for the quality assurance on a level more closely related to all the different educations, as well as business development within education and research.
The Council for Education and Learning and the Research Council shall, by order of the vice-chancellor, coordinate the university-wide efforts pertaining to quality assurance and assist the faculties in their efforts. The Council for Education and Learning has two advisory committees, the Researcher Education Committee and the Quality Assurance Council.
Criteria for Quality and Subcriteria for Education
As a starting point for the work regarding educational quality there are a plethora of quality criteria divided between three areas: governance and organization, conditions, and completion and results of education.
The criteria are applied in order to gauge the quality of the education and its modus operandi. Furthermore, they serve as important variables to consider when deciding on possible actions and their subsequent reviewal in accordance with the Linnaeus University’s internal quality assurance processes. The criteria are, in essence, identical for basic, advanced and research levels, and are consistent with the Swedish Higher Education Authority’s assessment criteria used when auditing each university’s quality assurance work regarding the contents of their educations. The criteria are revised when necessary.
In order to clarify the different aspects of the criteria they are divided into subcriteria.
Compiled List of Quality Criteria and Subcriteria
Criteria and subcriteria are compiled in a quality matrix, which can be used to support the systematic work with quality assurance. It contains, among other things, suggestions on how to show when certain criteria have been met, when and how you should conduct a follow-up, as well as how the internal division of responsibility is structured.
Internal Follow-Up Processes
The internal follow-up processes are conducted within certain time intervals with the purpose of supporting a quality driven business development. The follow-up of the annual and triennial cycles is meant to identify, prioritize and support quality-enhancing actions, as well as spreading and making use of good examples in order to support quality assurance work carried out by the faculties on an operational level. The six-year cycle’s evaluations are external audits, for more information see External Audits.
Once every semester, the so-called education dialogues are conducted. At these meetings the presidents of the Council for Education and Learning, the Quality Assurance Committee and FUU meet with representatives of the boards of each faculty and the Board of Teacher Education (BTE) respectively. The purpose of the dialogues is to support and monitor the work with quality assurance and the courses offered. The education dialogues form a forum for exchanging information and experiences where the needs of the operations are communicated, and implemented actions are followed up.
The dialogues in autumn focus on operational planning and range of education, while the dialogues in spring focuses on follow-up measures within the operations and specific, education related quality measures, so-called prioritized follow-up areas. Any deals and commitments made during the dialogues are documented and act as a basis for plans and follow-ups on both a university wide level as well as within each faculty/BTE.
For students to be given the possibility to share their opinions on a course (through course evaluations and other follow-ups) and be able to take part of the results is regulated by the Higher Education Ordinance, 1st Ch. 14 §. As part of an effort made to improve the course evaluation process at the Linnaeus University, a pilot project was launched during 2018-2019 with the purpose of increasing the teaching staff’s commitment and to better utilize the course evaluations in quality assurance activities.
Using this project as a basis, the requirements concerning mandatory questions and the use of electronic survey systems have been removed. The local rules regarding course have been revised (by order of the vice-chancellor) and the faculties/BTE have been tasked with modifying their course evaluation processes according to these. The revised local rules state, among other things, that the results of the course evaluations shall be used to improve upon the course content, and that each faculty/BTE must develop policy documents that clarifies the allocation of responsibility and general procedures. The Council of Education and Learning initiates a follow-up on how the faculties/BTE ensure that HEO 1st Ch. §14 is being complied with during autumn, 2020.
In order to support the faculties/BTE in their work with the course evaluation process, a guidance document has been developed. The guidance document asks questions that stem from relevant quality criteria and connects them to their respective local rules for course evaluations. The questions are meant to be used as points of reflection when instructions for conducting course evaluations are being constructed.
To validate and further develop the quality of the educational catalogue, external audits are performed in every course on basic and advanced level through the "Treklöversamarbete" (trefoil audits).
Beyond the trefoil audits, external audits regarding the quality of the educations are performed by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (SHEA) through education evaluations.
For systematic quality assurance, it is important that the results from the external quality audits are taken care of and are properly followed up in the internal work. To support this, process descriptions have been made readily available.
Integrating External Audits
Integration of the Trefoil Evaluations with the Internal Systematic Quality Work
This process means, in short, that the assessor report’s “Must”-recommendations are pointed out and, after consultation between the faculty and university-wide levels (the Council for Education and Learning, CEL) elevated to prioritized follow-up areas. Measures and results are then followed up by the CEL at a (spring) education dialogue within three years of a completed audit. See here for more information on the internal process.
Integration of Education-Related SWHE-Audits within the Internal Systematic Quality Work
The Council for Education and Learning are continuously informed of current education-related SWHE-audits. In connection with SWHE’s assessment of eventual shortcomings that must be remedied and reported back to the SWHE, these shortcomings are elevated to prioritized follow-up areas. Any eventual actions taken, and their subsequent results, are later followed up by the CEL at a (spring) education dialogue within three years of a completed audit. See here for more information on the internal process.
The Council for Education and Learning strive to further concretize, describe, and implement parts of the systematic quality work in relation to the quality policy and overall frameworks for education quality. See below for examples of ongoing development work.
Description of the Faculties’ Education-Bound Quality Work
To further clarify the division of responsibilities and how the quality work is organized and conducted, the vice-chancellor has tasked each faculty and the Board of Teacher Education (BTE) with describing their education-related quality work stemming from the quality policy and the framework for education quality. The descriptions of the education-related quality work shall be finished in spring, 2021. Current vice-chancellor decision.
To support the work with describing the education-related quality work, the Council for Education and Learning has put together a summary of the things that regulates and influences the education-related quality work. This document clarifies how the division or responsibilities is structured between the university-wide and the education-bound levels and is called the Mini-framework: for Development – with Student Learning in Focus. The Council has also put forward the Headline Suggestions for Education-bound descriptions of Quality Work, as well as listed relevant central governing documents. The headline suggestions are based on the different phases of the education process, from deciding on and planning educations, admission, completion of education and examination, to evaluation and possible closure. Furthermore, aspects such as teacher competence, student influence, workplace connections and equality integration are stated within this document.
Audit Review – Testing the Model for Three-year Follow-ups
During 2020, a test is conducted regarding the three-year model the Council for Teaching and Education/Quality Assurance Council has proposed for following up the education-centered quality work focused on the completion of an education. The model should contribute to the quality assurance of the Linnaeus University’s educations, ensure that the university is systematically working on improvements, and that the Linnaeus University is well prepared to deal with external reviews. It is based on the condition that representatives from each faculty examines each other’s work with quality through so-called audits. The overall purpose of the model is to be supportive and to focus on quality development by, for example, enabling an exchange of experience between the faculties.
In this test, the reviewing is limited to only the specified faculty. The test is carried out differently depending on the faculty/BTE but is based on the supporting material provided to the executives of the faculties and the BTE. The support material provides a general approach for evaluation, wherein at least three quality criteria shall be reviewed by those responsible for the education catalogue (course- or program executives or examinators). The chosen quality criteria are reviewed with quality assurance of a course in mind and the reviewer shall, in accordance with the data provided, identify areas in need of improvement/good examples, suggest a possible course of action, and give further recommendations regarding quality assurance and the further development of quality within an education.
Depending on the experiences of the faculties/BTE upon the completion of the test, the Council for Education and Learning shall by the end of 2020 discuss whether the follow-up model is appropriate, as well as which principles should be considered guiding. During the autumn of 2020, the faculties/BTE will communicate any request for support in order to improve the model. For more information on the test, see here.
Decision-making Processes etc.
The process of producing support materials for decision-making processes that can be used to follow up on the organizing and maneuvering of quality assurance efforts and to support our quality culture is currently in the works. The university-wide operating aid is working on finding a way to follow up on aspects regarding infrastructure, student support and teaching resources. Furthermore, they are working on ways to better assist the faculties/BTE through supporting activities regarding skill development within the teaching staff, as well as ensuring that the recruitment process is transparent and legally secure.
In the preparatory work in lieu of the SWHE-led legal supervision of the university in 2021, areas in need of improvements are currently being listed. For example, references to and procedures for appeals will be clarified and local rules for programs revised.
For more information, see the corresponding page in Swedish, Kvalitetsarbete.