Evaluation of faculties and centres

The faculties and centres of the University of Vienna are evaluated on a regular basis, at least every seven years, according to the Quality Assurance part of the Statutes.

The evaluations are carried out comprehensively, in other words, the areas of research, teaching and administration are examined jointly. The goals of the evaluation are:

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses;
  • providing support for the identification of goals and strategies;
  • generating measures for quality optimisation and assurance.

The evaluations are performed in accordance with the informed peer review model and are carried out in several stages.

 

1. Preparation

2. Self-evaluation

3. Peer evaluation

4. Implementation

Discussion about

focus topics, time schedule

 

Selection of peers

Discussion of the focus topics within the faculty

 

SWOT analysis

 

Quantitative data

Site visit from the peers: conversations with the (vice-)deans of the faculty, researchers, early stage researchers, students

Implementation discussion

Evaluation concept

Self-evaluation report, students’ report

Peer report, statement

Implementation agreement

 

1.      Preparation

In a coordinated process together with the head(s) of the faculty or centre, the Rectorate and the Unit for Quality Assurance identify the specifics of the evaluation process. The Rectorate and the head(s) of the faculty or centre agree on focus topics, which play a special role in the evaluation, in a meeting.

An agreement on the criteria for the selection of peers is also reached after having collected proposals and consulted the evaluated unit and the Rectorate. If necessary and based on a discipline’s opportunities, specific measures are agreed on, e.g. a bibliometric analysis or group discussions. The resulting evaluation concept specifies the cornerstones of the upcoming evaluation process.

 

2.      Self-evaluation

Members should be involved in the self-evaluation process as comprehensively and transparently as possible. The kick-off consists of a joint presentation by the Unit for Quality Assurance and the head(s) of the faculty or centre of the contents, especially focus topics, and organisational issues (e.g. dates, responsibilities, peers) specified in the concept.

The Unit for Quality Assurance offers a self-evaluation guide and a guideline for the self-evaluation report. In addition, it supports the faculty or centre by providing statistical data. After coordinating with the institution, specific surveys or publication analyses (in cooperation with the Scientometrics Working Group may be performed.

The head(s) of the faculty or centre are responsible for the self-evaluation process and the preparation of the self-evaluation report. The faculty’s or centre’s scientific advisory board should also be involved in the self-evaluation process (usually giving advice on drafting the self-evaluation report, if need be, also identifying focus topics).

The resulting self-evaluation report, including annexes (data report, excerpt from the Development Plan, the last evaluation’s peer report) serves as a basis for the evaluation.

Involvement of students: Students are also involved in the self-evaluation. Students’ representatives and interested students are explicitly invited to the kick-off presentation (see above). Faculties and centres are urged to involve students in the self-evaluation process. The students’ representatives are asked to prepare an independent report. This students’ report, together with the faculty’s or centre’s self-evaluation report, is forwarded to the peers and serves as the basis for their site visit.

The Unit for Quality Assurance informs the students’ representatives of the faculties and centres that are evaluated in the respective year and invites them to an information event about the evaluation.

 

3.      Peer evaluation

The peers (external, international experts in the relevant discipline) make a three-day site visit. They will already have read the institution’s self-evaluation report and the students’ report. They also get the opportunity to ask for additional documents if needed. On-site the peers meet, among others, with the Rectorate, the head(s) of the faculty and the directorates of studies, professors, early stage researchers and students. By the end of their site visit, the peers give a first oral feedback on their impressions (debriefing).

About four weeks after the visit, the peers present a written evaluation report. The faculty or centre makes a statement on this report. This statement should also serve as a basis for implementing the evaluation results. After receipt of the peers’ evaluation report, it has to be forwarded to the students’ representatives, who may also make a statement.

The peers’ report and the institution's statement are published in aggregated form after the end of the evaluation process, i.e. after the implementation agreement has been signed.

 

4.      Implementation

On the basis of the peers’ evaluation report and the statement of the evaluated institution there is an implementation discussion between the Rector and the head(s) of the faculty or centre. The measures derived from the evaluation are specified in an implementation agreement. Monitoring activities are laid out in target agreements between the Rectorate and the head(s) of the faculty or centre.

 

Confidentiality and Data Protection

The Unit for Quality Assurance warrants that during the whole evaluation process all data and information provided by the evaluated organizational unit is treated with confidentiality.

Contact

Mag. Dr. Michael Hofer

T: +43-1-4277-18010
michael.hofer@univie.ac.at