Quality Management System
Processes to determine quality
The processes that determine the quality of teaching and learning procedures at HFU are divided into the following categories:
- Central management and leadership processes
- Core teaching and learning processes
- Supporting processes
These processes are documented in the corresponding process descriptions. Process documentation at HFU has developed over the years and its format has been continuously adapted to current requirements.
Committee work and resolutions
Many processes relating to development, change and monitoring are handled by committees at HFU, in compliance with the State Higher Education Act. As quality is so important, HFU has created the following additional committees to ensure that the promotion and safeguarding of academic quality is anchored firmly in HFU's academic infrastructure and to establish a process of continuous improvement:
- Central Board of Examiners
- QM Board
- Deans' Council
Quality control cycles at all levels
The many influences on the quality of teaching are often very complex and subject to change at short notice. The resulting challenges must be met with more than just standard responses. Indeed, routine methods do not lead to the continuous improvement that HFU has set as a goal for itself.
For this reason, the university stipulated control cycles (in principle) in its 2004 Quality Charter. Those quality control cycles have now been established at all levels of the university. The control cycles in teaching and learning are found at the following levels:
- Degree programme
- Board of Executives
At the control cycles individual levels, optimal use is made of the specific strengths and skills of each person in charge of quality, and those persons are encouraged to accept personal responsibility.
Work within the quality control cycles is determined by the phases of the quality management cycle (definition of objectives; implementation; monitoring of results; development of measures in the event of differences between objectives defined and achieved; documentation).
Dovetailing to form an overall control system
Well-defined information and communication components ensure that all levels dovetail effectively to form an overall control cycle system.
An important component allowing communication between all levels in the overall control cycle is the annual quality report for each degree programme. Another quality assurance procedure closely related to the quality reports is the evaluation of teaching of degree programmes, which is the responsibility of each faculty. Each semester, a specific number of courses in a degree programme are evaluated. The data from the course evaluations is combined to produce an aggregate analysis and improvements are introduced where necessary.
The aim of the overall system of control cycles is a process of continuous improvement, an aim which is shared by all members of the university in their pursuit of a culture of quality. Lecturers, students, academic staff, administrative staff, graduates and industry representatives regularly have the opportunity to take part in this development process, thereby guaranteeing communication and participation for all parties involved.
External quality assurance measures and procedures
At regular intervals, HFU ensures that external quality assurance measures and procedures are used to give an outside perspective on the adequate development of the university's quality system. Such procedures and measures include programme accreditation for HFU degree programmes, audits of institutional quality assurance conducted by the evalag Evaluation Agency Baden-Württemberg, and system accreditation conducted by the ACQUIN Accreditation, Certification, and Quality Assurance Institute.
HFU's quality management concept envisages that the quality management system will be expanded to become a university-wide control-cycle system. This will involve control cycles at all levels and the participation of all stakeholders and interested parties, including partner universities abroad, students, companies and schools in the region.
All process descriptions, routines and related documents are outlined in detail in German in the FINDO (Furtwangen Information and Documentation System) portal.