Quality of study programmes

The quality assurance system will facilitate and ensure regular assessments and the improvement of programme quality. This 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. 

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

Conduct periodic evaluations

Section 2-1 of the Regulations relating to quality assurance and quality development in higher education and tertiary vocational education stipulates requirements for periodic evaluations of study offerings, with contributions from relevant representatives from the local community and business community, and where the results are made public.

An evaluation will generally be performed five years following the accreditation of the study programme, and no later than seven years after accreditation of bachelor’s and integrated master’s programmes. Evaluations may also be conducted across study programmes related to selected topics. Periodic programme evaluations of bachelor’s programmes will also include accompanying one-year programmes.

The Education Committee at HVL will discuss a long-term plan for periodic evaluations, following feedback from the faculties. If necessary, the University Board, Education Committee, central PhD Committee or Dean may request periodic evaluations beyond that which is established in the longterm plans.

Evaluations will be conducted in accordance with current process descriptions and templates established by the Education Committee. The Education Committee at the institution level will be given yearly assignments with a summary of findings and experiences from the periodic evaluations. The central PhD committee shall also receive the equivalent cases for PhD programmes that have been evaluated.

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

All study programmes at the bachelor’s and master’s level must be linked to a programme council.

Representatives at the study programme council shall include students, lecturers, administrative personnel and external actors. External actors may include representative(s) from public agencies and the business community, and/or other universities and university colleges.

The study programme council will normally be chaired by a study programme coordinator. Several study programmes may belong to the same programme council if the faculty finds this appropriate. The Dean will appoint the chair of the study programme council. Minutes from the study programme council shall be sent to faculty management.

All course plans and programme descriptions must be in accordance with adopted templates 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 study programme council.

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

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

For study programmes offered across campuses, the Dean shall ensure a focal point for students and staff at all campuses.

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

Each academic year, the study programme coordinator shall present a case to the study programme council for a discussion on how to follow up the study programme and courses. 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.

PhD programmes

Each PhD programme shall have a programme committee that holds discussions and offers recommendations upon request by the Dean. The PhD programme committee will initiate measures for quality assurance and the development of PhD programmes at the course and study programme levels and approves changes to the study plan within the framework of accreditation. PhD candidates must be represented in the programme committee.

In addition to evaluations of single courses, the systematic follow-up of each individual PhD candidate is a key element of quality assurance work. This is ensured through progress reports and midway evaluations. Cases are prepared for the programme committee and central PhD committee that show the status and that highlights challenges at an overarching level. Details on this point have been mentioned in HVL’s quality assurance system for PhD programmes.

Student and candidate surveys at the bachelor’s and master’s levels

Feedback from student surveys is essential for obtaining information on the students’ learning environment and their experienced learning outcome. A high response rate is necessary in order to benefit from the obtained knowledge. At HVL, we regularly receive data from student surveys from bachelor’s and master’s programmes.

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 new students, as well as surveys or focus interviews with students in their 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 course evaluations are also conducted in accordance with the long-term plans.  It may also be relevant to conduct supplementary surveys in conjunction with practical training, 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.

PhD programmes

The PhD academic administrator and faculty management have access to different data from the PhD programme at both the individual and course level. These have been followed up through reports to relevant committees. This is specified in HVL’s quality assurance system for PhD programmes.

Feedback on results and measures

The programme coordinator and academic administrator for the PhD programme are responsible for ensuring that relevant documentation from quality assurance work is stored and communicated appropriately. The coordinator can also choose whether to conduct meetings/gatherings to communicate and discuss feedback, measures and results with the students or PhD candidates.