Quality of study programmes

The quality assurance system will facilitate and ensure regular assessments and the improvement of programme quality. It is intended to promote the exchange of experience and good practice and ensure the documentation of and feedback on results and measures.

Establish, coordinate and discontinue study programmes

In conjunction with the establishment and coordination of a programme of study, the dean shall ensure the appropriate participation and that the process and content meet the Regulations relating to studies and examinations at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. The quality assurance manual contains process descriptions intended to ensure good information flow, and to ensure that requirements are met in terms of establishing program description committees, approval of new programme descriptions, and the establishment of programmes of study.

Should the University consider closing or discontinuing a programme of study at one of the institutions in conjunction with a review of a programme portfolio or suspicion of poor quality, the Dean shall ensure participation from the academic environment, as well as from the community and professional life. The University Board shall make decisions on whether to discontinue a programme of study in accordance with the Regulations relating to studies and examinations at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Conduct periodic evaluations

“Institutions shall conduct periodic evaluations of their programmes of study. Representatives from the work life or the community, students and external experts who are relevant to the offered studies shall participate in the evaluation. Evaluation results shall be made public”, cf. Section 2-1 (2) of the Regulations relating to quality assurance and quality development in higher education and tertiary vocational education (Quality of studies regulations).

HVL shall conduct periodic evaluations of the programmes of study at least every five years. Evaluations may also be conducted across programmes of study related to selected topics. Periodic programme evaluations of bachelor’s programmes will also include accompanying one-year programmes. The Education Committee will discuss a long-term plan for periodic evaluations each year, following feedback from the faculties. If necessary, the University Board, Education Committee or deans may request periodic evaluations beyond that which is established in the long-term plans.

Periodic evaluations of the programme of study shall include a studies-specific component with current status, a self-evaluation and an administrative assessment of whether the provisions of the Regulations on the supervision and control of the quality of Norwegian higher education, Chapter 2, and Section 3 in the Regulations related to requirements for master’s degrees have been met. Furthermore, there must be an evaluation meeting and supplementary evaluation activities to provide additional information for evaluation and to identify necessary measures. The evaluation meeting and supplementary evaluation activities may be conducted across programmes of study.

The evaluation must be carried out in accordance with process descriptions stated in the Quality manual, and be processed by the programme councils and education committees for faculties and faculty councils before the Education Committee at the institutional level holds its annual meeting to summarise findings and experiences from the periodic evaluations.

Conduct yearly activities and processes for the improvement and development of the programme of study

All programmes of study at the bachelor’s and master’s level must be linked to a programme council. Representatives at the programme council shall include students, lecturers, administrative personnel and external actors. External actors may include representative(s) from the community and work life and/or other universities and university colleges . The programme council will normally be chaired by a programme coordinator. Several programmes of study may belong to the same programme council, if the faculty believes this is appropriate. The dean will appoint the chair of the programme council. Minutes from the programme council meetings shall be sent to the faculty administration.

All course plans and programme descriptions must be in accordance with the Regulations relating to studies and examinations at HVL at the Western Norway University of Applied Science (HVL) and approved by the dean.

Students, employees and representatives from the field of practice/work life must be heard and involved when revising programme descriptions. The programme coordinator is responsible for participation. This should take place via the Programme Council.

The programme coordinator shall ensure that the students elect a class representative and deputy representatives for all classes/academic year groups. If a programme of study is offered at several campuses, one class representative should be elected per class or academic year group at each campus.

When necessary, programme coordinators may summon student representatives, course coordinators and possibly other lecturers to a dialogue meeting. This type of meeting can supplement discussions in the programme council or raise relevant issues related to quality assurance work for the programme of study.

For programmes of study offered on multiple campuses, the dean shall ensure a contact person for students and staff at all campuses.

A gathering for students may be held at the beginning of a programme of study, to clarify expectations, and for training in the quality assurance system, with activities to help students become acquainted with one another and with the lecturers and programme management.

Each academic year, the programme coordinator shall present a case to the programme council, for a discussion on how to follow up the programme of study and course. This case shall include the following assessments:

  • Choice of follow-up method at the programme and course level
  • Long-term plans for anonymous surveys
  • Long-term plans for external assessment
  • For studies with supervised professional training: Requirements for preparation, agreements, assessment and supervised professional training follow-up
  • An assessment of the potential need for special follow-up in certain areas, based on results and feedback from students, staff and work life/field of practice.

Student and candidate surveys

Feedback via student surveys is essential for obtaining information on student welfare and their experiences of learning outcome. A high response rate is necessary in order to benefit from the obtained knowledge.

The Study Barometer (for students in their 2nd and 5th academic years) and SHOT survey (every fourth year) are national surveys. HVL also conducts surveys aimed at all applicants and new students. A student survey is conducted during the final semester of all bachelor’s studies. There is also a candidate survey every other year (in cooperation with the Student Welfare Organisation at University of Bergen and the Norwegian School of Economics). Anonymous surveys at the course and academic year group level will also be conducted, in accordance with the long-term plans. It may also be relevant to conduct supplementary surveys in conjunction with exchange stays or periodic evaluations.

Follow-up of data and documentation

Throughout the year, the programme coordinator, institute management and faculty management have access to various forms of documentation and data related to different parts of the learning pathway for students at the programme of study: 

  • Documentation of the quality assurance system work at the course and programme level, including results from student and candidate surveys, course reports, minutes from dialogue meetings with course coordinators, and periodic evaluations
  • Data base, assessments and management related to: 
    - Recruitment, admission and the start of the semester
    - Experienced quality
    - Results and throughput of students
    - Internationalisation
    - Academic environment
    - Supervised professional training
    - Learning environment
    - Relevance

The programme coordinator is responsible for following up documentation from quality assurance system work and data at the programme level, by:

  • presenting cases to the programme council and other relevant forums for discussions on the need for measures and the effect of these,
  • implement relevant measures at the programme level,
  • conduct self-evaluations and participate in evaluation meetings associated with periodic evaluations,
  • participate in meetings with institute and faculty management for assessing the quality of the programme of study,
  • present proposals for changes to the course plans and programme descriptions and assess whether these should be viewed as significant changes with respect to the basis for accreditation.

Feedback on results and measures

The programme coordinator is responsible for adding relevant documentation from quality assurance work to the learning platform and storing this in the chosen system for storage and communication of documentation. The coordinator can also choose whether to conduct year group sessions to communicate and discuss feedback, measures and results with the students.