Ensuring high standards of quality together
The individual degree program serves as our point of reference for central processes in teaching and studying:
- Establishing, developing and terminating degree programs
- Creating and amending examination regulations
- Accrediting qualifications, course and examination achievements on the basis of skills-oriented learning targets
- Quality assurance as part of our internal accreditation process ‘Siegelerhalt an der FAU’.
Degree program development
Important information, guidelines, schedules and application templates for establishing, developing and terminating degree programs are available on the internal website of the Degree Program Development department at L1.
The quality of our degree programs is ensured by means of coordinated processes:
Establishing degree programs
The process for establishing degree programs followed at FAU ensures the involvement of all relevant status groups and committees. The process is divided into two stages. The initial decentralized process incorporates the relevant committees, areas of responsibility and points of contact in the faculties and schools. The Deans of Studies and Q coordinators at the faculties and schools are responsible for structuring each decentralized stage of the process. In keeping with the principle of the participative and communicative approach to QM, L1 provides its support with drafting the documents from the outset. The subsequent centralized stage of the process, which applies to the entire University, begins when the documents created in the decentralized process stage are sent to L1 who then forwards them to Uni-LuSt for further processing of the degree program. L1 has a range of documents that includes templates and explanations for this purpose. The requirements for establishing degree programs, a guideline on structuring degree programs and a check of all submitted documents performed by L1 ensures that the planned degree programs comply with the internal and external requirements for new degree programs.
Degree program development
At FAU, degree program development is a decentralized process that is initiated in the context of the degree program or faculty QM. The degree program matrix of each faculty serves as a tool for the ongoing development of degree programs and represents the quality control loop on the degree program level. Starting from the aims of the degree program, the matrix depicts the concept, how it is implemented and monitored, and follow up measures.
L1 provides advice on how the planned changes to the degree program can be made while complying with external and internal criteria during the ongoing development of degree programs. This process serves to determine whether the plans for developing the degree program require changes to be made to the examination regulations or whether they will lead to fundamental changes to the structure of a degree program. L1 provides legal and formal advice which ensures that degree programs continue to comply with internal and external requirements included in the key issue paper for structuring modular degree programs at FAU even if changes are made to the degree program over time.
Terminating degree programs
Degree programs are terminated at FAU according to a standard process. After the decision has been made by the relevant Faculty Council to terminate the degree program, this process ensures that the remaining students who are enrolled on the degree program can complete their studies as planned. This is also ensured as part of the internal accreditation process with an agreed procedure for terminated degree programs.
Accreditation of qualifications, course and examination achievements
The legal framework for the accreditation of qualifications, course and examination achievements at FAU is provided by the implementation of the Lisbon Convention – a ‘ Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region’ (Federal Law Gazette 2007, Part II, No. 15, pp. 712-732) – signed by the Federal Government. The country-specific clause of the Lisbon Convention applicable to FAU is implemented in Section 63 of the Bavarian Higher Education Act (BayHSchG) – ‘Accreditation of Skills’. At FAU, the degree program and examination regulations and general doctoral regulations of the faculties govern the contents of the framework specified by Section 63 BayHSchG and in particular the procedure used and the responsibilities for accrediting skills and qualifications. To provide general guidance, L1 has produced Guidelines on accreditation of course and examination achievements at FAU in conjunction with all relevant stakeholders at the faculties and with student representatives.
Internal degree program accreditation – ‘Siegelerhalt an der FAU’
As part of the internal quality assurance of all degree programs at FAU, we follow a two-step procedure. Firstly, this involves a legal assessment of all degree programs and secondly, monitoring of degree program development. Degree programs run in collaboration with other universities, double degree programs and teaching degree programs leading to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree are also accredited according to this procedure. The results of both steps of the procedure, which are carried out every five years for each degree program, are presented to the Accreditation Review Committee, which then uses them to make a decision about the degree programs. The degree program may either retain its accreditation or, if some of the criteria have not been fulfilled, lose its accreditation from the Accreditation Council.
The legal assessment ensures that all the requirements of the KMK, HRK, the Accreditation Council and the Bavarian Higher Education Act are met. The external requirements are operationalized and referenced at FAU in three reference documents: the ‘Key issue paper for structuring modular degree programs at FAU’, ‘Checklist for the legal assessment’, and a ‘Template for examination regulations’.
The legal assessment carried out by L1 involves examining the degree program and examination regulations (including degree program structure), the module handbook, the diploma supplement and the transcript of records (sample).
The results of the legal assessment are recorded in an inspection report that is submitted to the Accreditation Review Committee to carry out the internal accreditation of the degree program and sent to the degree program manager for information.
Monitoring degree program development
The aim of degree program monitoring is to develop the individual degree programs and ensure they are well integrated in their faculties. It is carried out by decentralized quality management at each faculty. As part of this monitoring process, each degree program is assessed once every five years in order to evaluate the goals it has set, how they are being implemented and the resulting measures using a list of criteria valid for the entire University.
The Office of the Dean of Studies asks the degree program manager for the documents required for the monitoring process (degree program matrix, meeting minutes or equivalent, positioning of the faculty’s degree program), and goes through them in detail. Proof that all criteria are met is provided on the basis of the submitted documents.
The results of the monitoring process are documented in the monitoring report that is submitted to the Accreditation Review Committee during the internal accreditation process for the degree program.
Regular evaluation and accreditation
The Accreditation Review Committee reviews the degree programs and makes a decision about accreditation. The Committee bases its decision on accreditation on its evaluation of the inspection report and the monitoring report, which give information on the legal assessment and the monitoring of degree programs respectively. If any action is required, the Committee decides which measures must be taken and sets the deadlines for completing these measures (quality control loop). The Accreditation Review Committee follows the recommendations given in the preceding steps of the process. The Executive Board subsequently approves the decisions made by the Accreditation Review Committee and decides that the degree program may retain its accreditation from the Accreditation Council.
If a quality control loop is required, the faculties and L1 are responsible for checking whether the relevant criteria have been met. After the deadline has passed (usually after one year) or if all criteria have been met after completion of the quality control loop, the Accreditation Review Committee grants the accreditation or escalates the issue to the next level. The Executive Board subsequently approves the decisions made by the Accreditation Review Committee and decides that the degree program may retain its accreditation from the Accreditation Council.
Accreditation of newly-established degree programs
Newly-established degree programs undergo a setup process during which all criteria for receiving the accreditation seal from the Accreditation Council are checked. The degree programs therefore receive the seal of the Accreditation Council when they are established and are evaluated by the Accreditation Review Committee at the latest during the fourth semester after being established.
Accreditation of terminated degree programs
The process for receiving accreditation for terminated degree programs focuses on proper completion of the degree program, especially ensuring that all remaining students can complete their studies.
The monitoring process is streamlined and focuses on the aspects related to studying. Monitoring ends at the latest after two semesters (Bachelor’s degree program) or one semester (Master’s degree program) after the end of the standard duration of study of the last students enrolled on the program.
A complete legal assessment is usually no longer required, as the degree programs are to be terminated at the earliest possible date and the continuation of the course of study for the remaining students is ensured by the previous legal assessment.
Accreditation of Bachelor’s and Master's degree programs related to teaching degrees
At FAU, students studying a the teaching degree program (Lehramt) can gain a Bachelor’s degree related to their teaching degree in addition to the State Examination. Students studying secondary education at Gymnasium (Lehramt Gymnasium) can also gain a Master’s degree related to their teaching degree. The QM system is applied with its own specifications to the six Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs related to teaching degrees (B.Ed. Primary education at Grundschule (Lehramt Grundschule), B.Ed. Secondary education at Mittelschule (Lehramt Mittelschule), B.Ed. Secondary education at Realschule (Lehramt Realschule), B.A. Secondary education at Gymnasium (Lehramt Gymnasium), B.Sc. Secondary education at Gymnasium (Lehramt Gymnasium), M.Ed. Secondary education at Gymnasium (lehramtsbezogener Master Gymnasium).
Accreditation status of degree programs at FAU
All modularized degree programs at FAU regularly undergo evaluations as part of the internal accreditation system and carry the seal of the Accreditation Council. After completion of the internal procedure, the results of the internal accreditation are published in the quality report of the Accreditation Council database.