Ensuring high standards of quality together
The individual degree programme serves as our point of reference for central processes in teaching and studying:
- Establishing, developing and discontinuing degree programmes
- 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 programme development
Important information, guidelines, schedules and application templates for establishing, developing and terminating degree programmes are available on the internal website of the Degree Programme Development department at L1.
The quality of our degree programmes is ensured by means of coordinated processes:
The process for establishing degree programmes followed at FAU ensures the involvement of all relevant status groups and committees. The process is divided into two stages. The initial decentralised 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 decentralised 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 centralised stage of the process, which applies to the entire University, begins when the documents created in the decentralised process stage are sent to L1 who then forwards them to Uni-LuSt for further processing of the degree programme. L1 has a range of documents that includes templates and explanations for this purpose. The requirements for establishing degree programmes, a guideline on structuring degree programmes and a check of all submitted documents performed by L1 ensures that the planned degree programmes comply with the internal and external requirements for new degree programmes.
At FAU, degree programme development is a decentralised process that is initiated in the context of the degree programme or faculty QM. The degree programme matrix of each faculty serves as a tool for the ongoing development of degree programmes and represents the quality control loop on the degree programme level. Starting from the aims of the degree programme, 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 programme can be made while complying with external and internal criteria during the ongoing development of degree programmes. This process serves to determine whether the plans for developing the degree programme require changes to be made to the examination regulations or whether they will lead to fundamental changes to the structure of a degree programme. L1 provides legal and formal advice which ensures that degree programmes continue to comply with internal and external requirements included in the key issue paper for structuring modular degree programmes at FAU even if changes are made to the degree programme over time.
Degree programmes are terminated at FAU according to a standard process. After the decision has been made by the relevant Faculty Council to terminate the degree programme, this process ensures that the remaining students who are enrolled on the degree programme can complete their studies as planned. This is also ensured as part of the internal accreditation process with an agreed procedure for terminated degree programmes.
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 programme 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 programme accreditation – ‘Siegelerhalt an der FAU’
As part of the internal quality assurance of all degree programmes at FAU, we follow a two-step procedure. Firstly, this involves a legal assessment of all degree programmes and secondly, monitoring of degree programme development. Degree programmes run in collaboration with other universities, double degree programmes and teaching degree programmes 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 programme, are presented to the Accreditation Review Committee, which then uses them to make a decision about the degree programmes. The degree programme 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 operationalised and referenced at FAU in three reference documents: the ‘Key issue paper for structuring modular degree programmes at FAU’, ‘Checklist for the legal assessment’, and a ‘Template for examination regulations’.
The legal assessment carried out by L1 involves examining the degree programme and examination regulations (including degree programme 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 programme and sent to the degree programme manager for information.
The aim of degree programme monitoring is to develop the individual degree programmes and ensure they are well integrated in their faculties. It is carried out by decentralised quality management at each faculty. As part of this monitoring process, each degree programme 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 programme manager for the documents required for the monitoring process (degree programme matrix, meeting minutes or equivalent, positioning of the faculty’s degree programme), 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 programme.
The Accreditation Review Committee reviews the degree programmes 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 programmes 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 programme 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 programme may retain its accreditation from the Accreditation Council.
Newly-established degree programmes undergo a setup process during which all criteria for receiving the accreditation seal from the Accreditation Council are checked. The degree programmes 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.
The process for receiving accreditation for terminated degree programmes focuses on proper completion of the degree programme, 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 programme) or one semester (Master’s degree programme) after the end of the standard duration of study of the last students enrolled on the programme.
A complete legal assessment is usually no longer required, as the degree programmes 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.
At FAU, students studying a the teaching degree programme (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 programmes 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).
All modularised degree programmes 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.