Tasks and Responsibilities

Quality assurance instruments oriented towards the Student Life Cycle

The activities and measures are aligned with the various stages of the "Student Life Cycle" model:

Quality assurance Student Life Cycle

Academic Advising, Admission and Entrance

It is particularly important for prospective students to receive well-prepared and sufficient information and assistance at an early stage when making the significant decision of choosing a course of study. For this reason, the student advisory service has been expanded in recent years and activities in the area of student "recruitment" have been intensified. In order to increase the visibility of studies at the University of Innsbruck, a cooperation with the ZEIT online tool "Studium-Interessentest" was established. The homepage of the University of Innsbruck presents information on the studies in a concise and clear form on so-called "landing pages". In case of interest, information on admission, the recommended course of studies, possible occupational profiles and career opportunities, examination regulations including grading and evaluation, as well as important forms and contact persons can be accessed. For low-threshold access to questions about studying, the university developed the chatbot "Leo", which appears on the study and admission pages.

In addition to the multimedia presentation of study programs, the university offers a variety of personal counseling services. These include trade fair presentations, counseling at schools, campus tours for school students, and regional information events such as the Tyrolean University Day. Counseling sessions are also offered on an individual level. For more than ten years, the event "Informiert ins Studium" ("Informed about studying") has been held specifically for first-year students. Due to the general conditions, this event was further developed into an online version in the 2020/21 academic year and supplemented by various formats (explanatory videos, online sessions for prospective students). In addition, the faculties offer special first-semester tutorials and information events to help students get started in the subject in question. The Studies Induction and Orientation Phase (STEOP) as part of the curriculum enables students to get an overview of the contents of the respective study program and its further course already at the beginning of their studies.

A special feature is the "talentescout-tirol", which is intended to appeal in particular to young people who want to be the first in their family to study (First Generation Students). This individual offer in cooperation with the province of Tyrol accompanies prospective students and thus contributes to diversity at the university. Special counseling services are also provided for students with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. The University of Innsbruck offers specific counseling and support for high school graduates, students and graduates from South Tyrol and Italy for the recognition of study titles and academic degrees and recognition of teaching and professional qualifications in South Tyrol and Italy.

The success of all these measures in terms of the objectives will be verified by means of a survey of new students in the first semester of the bachelor's and diploma programs, covering the following topics: Choice of university and study program, information and assistance, and expectations and first impressions of the study program. Starting in the academic year 2021/22, the questionnaire has been expanded (extended?) to include the topic of "studyability" (workload, study entry and orientation phase,...). The survey of first-year students is conducted at regular intervals by the Office for Quality Assurance in Teaching, most recently in the 2021/22 academic year. The detailed report of the results is made available to the Vice Rector for Teaching and Students and to those responsible in the departments. A brief overview of the latest results can be found on the homepage of Quality Assurance in Teaching. Students are informed about the results via the student newsletter.

In order to be able to evaluate the student advising phase in an even more targeted manner, the study entry survey is currently being developed as a new quality assurance instrument by the QA Teaching team. This survey covers students in the first semester of the Bachelor's and Diploma programs as well as the Master's and PhD programs and is to be implemented in the academic year 2023/24.

Progression of study and study support

A central instrument of quality assurance in the area of teaching is the regular, anonymous survey of students as part of the course analysis (LVA). After years of continuous development, the university administration decided in 2018 to revise the survey from the ground up and to purchase new survey software.

The EvaSys evaluation system, which will be purchased in fall 2019, will allow for traditional paper-pencil surveys as well as online and hybrid surveys in the future. In parallel to the procurement process, both the content orientation of the LVA and the technical implementation were revised. The technical working group addressed software connectivity and survey processes and procedures. The content working group, with representatives from the works council, senate, students, quality representatives, experts for surveys and the vice rector for teaching and students, revised, among other things, the objectives of the evaluation and the questionnaire. The latter could be streamlined and shortened, so that on the one hand a uniform, university-wide block of questions remains as a central element, and on the other hand room for questions of the individual faculties and departments is made possible. The pilot phase scheduled for summer semester 2020 was suspended due to COVID-19 circumstances. Instead, the Rectorate decided to use the new system to conduct the LVA on a voluntary basis in online format, with over 700 courses evaluated.

The survey cycle was also changed. Each academic year, the courses of eight faculties are evaluated on a mandatory basis. Faculty from the remaining faculties have the opportunity to participate in the LVA on a voluntary basis. The course instructors are provided with the evaluations of their respective courses in the form of individual reports at the end of the course. The deans of studies also receive all individual reports and comparative evaluations that provide an overview of the results of the faculty's teaching staff, the so-called potential analysis. On the basis of this analysis, which compares the didactics, preparation and structure of the courses, the deans of studies hold a discussion with those teachers whose values are furthest away from the average values of the respective faculty. The aim is to jointly identify possible reasons and, if necessary, to determine measures for improvement. Equally important is the feedback for particularly positive performance, which on the one hand is also given by the dean of studies, and on the other hand is expressed in a letter of thanks from the vice rector for teaching and students to the relevant teachers of a given semester. Furthermore, the results are a substantial part of the personal evaluation as well as the qualification agreements.

The communication of the results of various surveys and measures resulting from them is mainly carried out via the faculties. The first contact persons are always the faculty management and the deans of studies. The potential analysis resulting from the course analysis (LVA) is discussed in the context of the target agreement meetings. In order to close and consolidate the quality cycle, the deans of studies conduct documented discussions with the course instructors if necessary and report back to the vice rector for teaching and students on the discussions that have taken place.

In addition to the student questionnaire, the Office for Quality Assurance is working on a questionnaire for teachers, which will give teachers the opportunity to reflect on their own teaching and compare it with the assessment of students. In addition, a regular survey about the needs of the teachers is planned for the future. In order to improve the studyability of the PhD programs and to gain a better picture of the study conditions of the PhD students, the development of a separate PhD student survey is planned. The starting point for this is the systematic evaluation of the use of the already implemented dissertation agreements. All measures in the area of dissertants are coordinated with quality assurance in research.

The Office of Quality Assurance - often in cooperation with experts from the departments - prepares surveys on study-related topics, e.g. program evaluations. In the course of the faculty evaluation, students are asked about their satisfaction with their studies, the study conditions, the teaching staff, the equipment and organization. The results are used for quality development at the faculty. For example, surveys of student employees were carried out as well as surveys of teachers and students as feedback for the conversion of all teaching to online formats in the COVID-19 summer semester 2020. Here, too, the results were made available to the rectorate and the responsible departments.

In addition to their studies, students can make use of other university offerings such as the University Sports Institute (USI) or the Language Center. In recent years, both institutions have undertaken their own quality assurance efforts, accredited with the Office for Quality Assurance in Teaching: The USI conducts specific surveys on the satisfaction of its course participants, the Language Center has developed an independent QA concept, conducted a workload survey and revised the questionnaire for course evaluation.

Graduation and graduates

Feedback from graduates is important for the implementation of teaching and studies as well as the design of curricula. Support and communication are provided by the University's Alumni Service. In addition, the Career Service offers students various opportunities to prepare for the job market. At the annual career fair "Career Summit", students can make direct contact with companies and potential employers, while application workshops and CV checks provide future graduates with valuable advice on how to conduct interviews and prepare application documents. In addition, the Career Service provides information on jobs and internships.

In order to better assess the employability of graduates, the University of Innsbruck has been participating in the Austria-wide project Absolvent:innen-Tracking (Atrack) in cooperation with Statistik Austria since 2018. Similar to the previous project in 2010 to 2014, the career paths of students are analyzed. In the process, the university receives information on studies or study groups such as the search duration until the first job, employment status, income or even the economic sector of the job. To this end, the 2019 and 2020 Higher Education Structural Resources Project designed standardized fact sheets that provide an overview of the results for the study (groups). The goal is to provide the data for study managers on the "whereabouts" of graduates, to provide information for study advising and for prospective students to make qualified study choices, and to provide relevant data for committee work, e.g., curriculum development.

In order to obtain feedback from graduates on their studies, surveys are also conducted at individual faculties. For feedback on university-wide issues, a graduation survey is currently being set up, which will be carried out at regular intervals and will focus, among other things, on satisfaction with the studies and the services in the area of teaching and studies.

Key figures and indicators

In addition to the data and results of the surveys, the faculties - and in particular the deans of studies - are provided with key figures and indicators in the form of monitoring at each stage of the student life cycle. These include the number of enrolled students, first-time admissions, the number of graduates, the number of active studies, the average duration of studies of graduates as well as evaluations of examination performance (ECTS performance) and study progress. These key figures are used in the development of the curricula and in the planning of teaching and are part of the Zielvereinbarungsgespräche (ZV, goal-setting talks) as well as the faculty and study evaluations.



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