Quality Management

With the entry into force of the new Higher Education Quality Assurance Act (HS-QSG) in March 2012, external quality assurance in Austria was reorganised. In order to maintain institutional accreditation in the long term, universities are now certified every seven years in the form of audits. Such a peer procedure focuses on the university as a whole (or on individual performance areas) and assesses the functionality of the institutional quality management system for certain core and key processes. 

According to § 22 para. 1 HS-QSG, audits are planned for the following areas:

  • Quality strategy and its integration into the university's management instruments 
  • structures and procedures for quality assurance in the fields of study and teaching, research or development and appreciation of the arts or applied research and development, organisation and administration and personnel 
  • Integration of internationalisation and social objectives into the quality management system 
  • Information systems and stakeholder participation 
  • Quality assurance structures and procedures for continuing education courses 

[Translate to English:]

MMag. Eva Bstieler
Leitung

+43 5 90500 7020
e.bstielerfh-kaerntenat

Accreditation

The Carinthia University of Applied Sciences was granted an unlimited accreditation by the AQ (Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria) on 9 May 2012 in accordance with § 23 of the University Quality Assurance Act, Federal Law Gazette I No. 74/2011.

Here you will find the publications of the accreditation procedures of CUAS from May 2012:

Quality Management System

At the beginning of March 2016, the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences received the certification document for its quality management system.

The quality management system (QMS) was examined by the evaluation agency evalag (Baden-Württemberg) in the context of a comprehensive audit procedure in 2015. Five experts from the higher education sector in Austria, Germany and Denmark convinced themselves during a two-day on-site visit of the efficiency of CUAS with regard to its strategy and development plan, quality assurance for studies & teaching, research & development, internationalisation, personnel and further education as well as of the information systems necessary for quality development. The excellent support provided by the service-oriented administration and the distinctive quality culture at the university were also rated positively.

For the further development of the QMS, the team of experts made valuable recommendations which will be incorporated into the continuous development of the university and the QMS in the coming years.

The certification is valid for the next seven years.

Download audit report

f.l.: Marianne Frick (Head of quality management & organisational development) und Susanne Dungs (Project responsibility) are happy about the successful certification.

f.l.: Rektor Peter Granig,Project group Claudia Palank, Marianne Frick, Eva Bstieler, Susanne Dungs, Franz Riemelmoser, Executive Director Siegfried Spanz (not on the picture: Christina Staubman, Kai Brauer, Thomas Walter).

  • Participation and communication: The quality strategy of CUAS is based on the understanding of a quality culture that considers participation and communication as essential principles of quality development.
  • Design of free spaces: As a learning organisation that is supported by the know-how of its members, the UAS Carinthia wants to create sufficient free spaces for creativity and innovation in its management to enable development. 
  • Structures for shaping a critical discourse: Quality management serves to stimulate and control a critical discourse and to provide a framework for it.
  • Process orientation and transparency: The framework established by the quality management system provides orientation and guarantees the transparency of processes in the sense of an agreed knowledge of the procedures.
  • Goal-oriented control: At the same time, the control of continuous quality development in the individual service areas is systematised.

The higher education development plan with the quality objectives set out therein, the organisational structure and the effectiveness of the quality culture shall form the basis for planning and the resulting implementation measures. Process and project management methods support the implementation. 

The definition of what is meant by good quality is carried out in the individual performance and cross-sectional areas. Appropriate evaluation procedures are used to collect and analyse systematic and well-founded information on improvement, further development and renewal in order to continuously develop the university. Evaluation procedures have been established for each area of performance (study and teaching, research and development, university continuing education) as well as for the cross-sectional areas of internationalisation and human resources.

The respective responsible committees and functional areas of the university develop improvement measures based on the quality results. The quality cycle takes place at all levels (university level, level of the study areas or study programs and the service areas) of the university as well as in interaction between the areas. The quality culture also involves working groups and staff in the principle of goal-oriented quality development. Quality is created within the sphere of action of each member of the university.

Guidelines and processes provide orientation. Support processes as well as the infrastructure support the university in its value creation. They are continuously updated and improved.

Rankings

Rankings of universities are an instrument of external quality assurance in the tertiary education sector that is the subject of controversial international discussion. They can fulfil different functions for each target group: 

  • Input for the organisational development of the institution, 
  • Transparency for those interested in higher education, 
  • External presentation of the institution, 
  • Information contribution for a state control of education policy. 

Parallel to the discussion on how to deal with rankings, the public debate also includes a scientific debate on the methodological foundations of the individual procedures. Depending on the inclusion of different evaluation criteria and their respective weighting, the quality of the university is reflected in different facets. There is a fundamental risk that the data included and the methodological approach used will paint a one-sided and incomplete picture. 

Taking into account the current state of knowledge about university rankings, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences has decided to actively participate in recognised rankings (e.g. CHE-RankingU-Multirank) and to use the results for organisational development.

Questions

Survey of graduates
As part of its internal quality assurance, the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences conducts graduate surveys at regular intervals. All graduates are invited twice to take part in the survey. The first survey takes place approximately one year after graduation, the second four years after graduation.

While the initial survey serves mainly to improve the quality of the study conditions against the background of the phase of career entry, the repeat survey offers valuable insights regarding the preparation of the students of our university for the professional requirements.


Objective and method
The aim of the graduate survey is to provide a retrospective assessment of the curriculum from the graduates' perspective. The results are incorporated into the annual reflection on the continuous development of the study programs.

The following topics are surveyed:

  • Retrospective evaluation of the general conditions as well as the competence acquisition of the study program in general
  • Professional situation and retrospective assessment of competence acquisition in the specific context of the profession
  • Further training and assessment of the usefulness of the acquired qualification
  • Qualitative information on strengths and weaknesses of the study program or university

Details of the survey
The aim of the graduate survey is to provide a retrospective assessment of the curriculum from the perspective of the graduates. The results are incorporated into the annual reflection on the continuous development of the study programs.

The survey is designed in two waves. The first wave takes place one year after graduation. The survey of the final year 2014 was conducted online from 27.04.2016 to 31.05.2016. The response rate was 24%.

The following topics were surveyed:

  • Retrospective evaluation of the general conditions as well as the competence acquisition of the study program in general
  • Professional situation and retrospective assessment of competence acquisition in the specific context of the profession
  • Further training and assessment of the usefulness of the acquired qualification
  • Qualitative information on strengths and weaknesses of the study program or university
  • We would like to thank all participants and attendees!

Results
In retrospect, 82% of the graduates rated their studies positively. 28% were very satisfied, 54% were satisfied with the completed studies. Compared to previous years, the proportion of satisfied graduates has increased slightly.

Evaluation of the studies
With regard to the general conditions, the retrospective satisfaction with the library, the ICT services, the student workplaces on campus and the support provided by teachers and student administration was surveyed. As in previous years, the ICT services as well as the support provided by teachers and student administration were rated very positively. Potential for improvement was reported with regard to the library and the student workplaces on campus. With regard to teaching, the up-to-dateness of the teaching content was particularly emphasised. In retrospect, the graduates were somewhat less satisfied with the theory/practice transfer and the teaching of scientific skills. The overall satisfaction of the graduates with the acquired knowledge was 85 %.

In order to evaluate the choice of study program, it was asked whether the study program would be chosen again or recommended to others. About 85 % of the graduates would study again. 73 % would choose their course of study again. 78 % would choose the university again. In the qualitative feedback, the criteria "curriculum/study programme", "FH structure", "teaching staff", "career opportunities" and "place of study" were given as reasons for the re-election. Reasons against a re-election were also mainly "job opportunities", "curriculum/study programme" and "teaching staff".

Career entry and admission to further studies
The average time between graduation and the start of employment was four months. 70% of the graduates with a job have a permanent position. Across all fields of study, 92% of the graduates remain in Austria. 76 % of the persons working in Austria work in Carinthia.

For about 51% of the graduates, the acquired degree was a prerequisite for the current professional position. 41% of the currently employed graduates stated that their professional activity had a strong connection to their studies. Overall, 68% of the graduates were satisfied or very satisfied with the knowledge they had acquired with regard to their professional activities.

Two thirds of the bachelor's graduates took up further studies after graduation, usually a master's degree course. Most of the graduates found the degree they had acquired to be useful for their further studies.
 

Details of the survey
All graduates of the FH Carinthia who completed their studies in the 2012/13 academic year were invited to take part in the first survey. The main purpose of the survey was to improve the quality of study conditions against the background of the career entry phase.

The survey was conducted online in German and English from 16.2.2015 to 23.3.2015. The link to the survey was sent by e-mail to the alumni addresses. The response rate was 34 %.

The following topics were surveyed:

  • Retrospective evaluation of the general conditions as well as the competence acquisition of the study program in general
  • Professional situation and retrospective assessment of competence acquisition in the specific context of the profession
  • Further training and assessment of the usefulness of the acquired qualification
  • Qualitative information on strengths and weaknesses of the study program or university
  • We would like to thank all participants and attendees!

Results
78 % of the graduates rate their studies positively in retrospect, 20 % are very satisfied, 58 % are satisfied with the studies they completed. Critical feedback on their studies was mainly related to the availability of necessary literature in the library and student jobs. The IT services, the support by teachers and the topicality of the teaching content were rated well.

More than 90 % of the graduates would study again. About 75% would choose or recommend their course of study again, 71% would choose the university again. In the qualitative feedback, the main reasons for choosing a degree program or university were the criteria of the place of study, the curriculum, the competence of the teaching staff, the organisation of the degree program and the acceptance of the degree on the labour market. 80 % of the graduates were satisfied with the knowledge they had acquired.

The average time between graduation and taking up employment is four months. The majority of the graduates took up employment in the Carinthian region. The degree was of varying relevance for taking up employment, but as a rule there was a general or strong connection between the professional position and the completed degree. With regard to their professional activity, 77% of the graduates were satisfied with the content they had acquired during their studies.

About 44% of the graduates took up further studies after graduation. A total of 85 % chose a Master's degree course as a further course of study after their Bachelor's degree. A total of 84 % of the graduates assessed their acquired degree as useful for further studies.

Details of the survey
The aim of the graduate survey is to provide a retrospective assessment of the curriculum from the graduates' point of view. The results are incorporated into the annual reflection on the continuous development of the study programs.

The second wave of the graduate survey takes place three years after graduation. The second survey of the 2012 graduate class was conducted online from 27.04.2016 to 31.05.2016. The response rate was 10%. One of the reasons for the low response rate was the address list, which will be improved with regard to future surveys.

The questionnaire designed for the second survey of a final year was used, in which the following topics were questioned:

  • Occupational situation and retrospective assessment of competence acquisition in the specific context of the occupation
  • Further education or further studies and details of the chosen educational institution
  • Feedback on the Career and Alumni Service of the FH Carinthia
  • We would like to thank all participants and attendees!

Results
94% of the graduates stated that they were in employment at the time of the survey, the majority of them in a regular, dependent employment situation (92%). 71 % of the graduates stayed in Carinthia, 19 % are employed in other Austrian provinces.

46% of the graduates stated that they were able to use the skills they had acquired during their studies to a high or very high degree in their professional lives. 40 % can use them partially. 39 % estimated the completed course of study as the only field of study for the professional tasks. About 50 % would also have been able to use another course of study as an entry into the profession. The level of completion of the course of study corresponded to the qualification requirements in the occupation to approx. 60 %. Overall, more than 80 % of the expectations regarding the occupational situation were fulfilled. The expectations of the occupational situation hardly changed between the beginning and the end of the study program.

In retrospect, 71% of the graduates expressed a high or very high degree of satisfaction with their studies at the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences, 23% were partially satisfied. In retrospect, the aspects "acquisition of relevant knowledge and practical skills", "acquisition of scientific working methods", "linking theory and practice" and "topicality of the contents and methods imparted in relation to professional practice" were generally assessed as positive. The aspects "preparation for the profession", "research relevance of teaching" and "opportunity for in-depth professional development" were rated less highly. With regard to the profession, the study program was assessed positively with regard to the competences aimed at personal development and personal potential. In comparison, the evaluation of the study program as a basis for professional references was less positive.

39 % of the graduates who took part in the survey started an additional or further qualification after their graduation in 2012.

The Career and Alumni Service of the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences is well known and was evaluated positively. The contact to the university is still desired. There is particular interest in information on further education offers and in a professional scientific exchange.

Team