1.3 The evaluation and enhancement of education

Auditeringsgruppens bedömning

The student feedback system and self-assessments are key to ensuring the quality of education

The UL has systematic procedures in place for the collection, analysis, and use of both feedback and evaluation data for the enhancement of its educational provision. Both students and teachers are required to complete evaluation surveys at the UL. Students complete surveys after each course. All students get an invitation to complete the survey when enrolling for the exam. Although completing the survey is optional for the students, they provide the university with rich data for enhancement activities and for monitoring trends and serve as a fundamental tool for enhancing individual courses and overall programme quality. The teaching staff must also report received feedback to the dean of faculty or academy. The UL used to conduct graduate surveys, but since 2020 the graduate surveys are conducted by the Ministry of higher education, science and innovation. HEIs can access overview data at programme and institutional levels. The use of the graduate tracking data was little discussed during the audit visit, suggesting that national survey data could perhaps be better utilised. There are many external stakeholders in the UL’s quality loop to evaluate and to improve study programmes and other educational activities.

According to the self-assessment report, providing appropriate feedback on student feedback is an area for enhancement at the UL. Changes introduced based on student feedback are discussed at different bodies, such as faculty and academy senates, in which students are also members. Based on the audit visit, some students also receive feedback-on-feedback from their teachers, but there was variation in this. All faculties would benefit from such an approach. It motivates students to give feedback to see the effects of their feedback. Such an approach would also enhance the overall feedback culture at the university.

According to the audit visit, the student voice is recognised effectively in habilitation processes. Students (student councils) write summaries of feedback and the summaries are considered in the habilitation processes. Collaboration between the University Student Council, faculty councils, and individual faculties is constructive. Faculty student councils play a crucial role but could benefit from improved infrastructure support, such as dedicated rooms with necessary technology. Acknowledging the efforts of council members could enhance motivation and overall effectiveness.

Based on the audit visit, the university encourages evaluation and self-reflection among teachers. Study programmes compile self-assessments each year or every two years. In the self-assessments, programme administrators, students and external stakeholders describe the programme and highlight its strengths and weaknesses. A plan for improvements is included and is followed up in the subsequent evaluation cycle. The faculty-level self-assessments and improvements are communicated to the highest level at the university. The implementation of changes is discussed by various bodies and senates where students also participate as members.

According to the audit visit, the quality assessment processes are functional, but the effectiveness of the processes could be further enhanced. In addition to surveys, a deeper understanding could be gained by also collecting more in-depth data. For instance, conducting in-depth interviews or focus group discussions with students and teachers could provide a deeper insight into the challenges related to the quality of the educational provision. The periodical monitoring measures to assess the educational provision at the UL and at faculties allows for reactive actions. This could be improved by employing predictive analyses and learning analytics for a more proactive approach. The audit team recommends that the UL reviews its procedures for the evaluation of study programmes to ensure that important university-wide quality issues, such as dropouts, are discussed and improvement measures are taken and followed up (see also Chapter 3.3.). It would also be pivotal for the university to increasingly facilitate the sharing of its best practices in relation to the quality assurance and enhancement of educational provision across its faculties and academies.

The university is working proactively to meet the evolving competence needs

The UL proactively considers the evolving needs of society and the demands of working life when enhancing its study programmes. This is achieved through regular curriculum reviews, industry partnerships, research, and innovation centres. The UL’s intention is to provide more interdisciplinary courses related to societal challenges is highly recommended. It would also be important to actively encourage students to participate in interdisciplinary courses and that credits are aligned. Increasing the number of interdisciplinary courses to address the evolving needs of society would be advantageous (see also discussion in Chapter 2.3). This step would prepare students to navigate complex, multifaceted challenges and contribute more effectively to their fields.

The UL also ensures that the teaching is based on the latest research findings. The UL encourages its academic staff to keep up to date on the newest research in their domains by providing opportunities for continuing professional development. This will help guarantee that teaching is in line with the results of the current research.

Support services at the UL integrate staff needs through collaborative efforts, involving feedback mechanisms, surveys, and open communication channels. According to the audit visit, the UL seeks to foster a positive work environment. Regular assessments and adjustments based on student and staff feedback contribute to the continuous improvement of support services. The support services enhance their activities through a student-centred approach, counselling, and career services as well as orientation programmes.

Opportunities for continuous learning are on the university’s strategic agenda. Such opportunities will be introduced through the micro-credentials system shortly as discussed above. These will be a valuable addition to the existing provision which will presumably also benefit the university’s degree students.

Through the use of assessments, evaluations, and feedback systems, the UL evaluates how well programmes achieve the specified learning goals. This analysis provides important insights into areas of success and areas for development, which supports continuous progress in programme delivery. Through consistent evaluation of the fit between goals and achievements, the UL maintains a high bar for educational excellence and works to provide high-level education.