Quality assurance at Linköping University

LiU model for quality assurance

The ability to offer education of the highest possible quality is crucial for maintaining good recruitment to Linköping University’s programmes and courses. This has led LiU to develop in recent years a university-wide quality-assurance system, in which all programmes, courses and components of research education are systematically assessed in six-year cycles in order to increase quality, relevance and attractiveness.

Common model for the quality assurance of education

The ability to offer education of the highest possible quality is crucial for maintaining good recruitment to programmes and courses at Linköping University (LiU). Since 2017, LiU has in place a university-wide quality assurance system in which all education (programmes, independent courses, third-cycle education, commissioned education and Didacticum courses) is systematically evaluated in six-year cycles in order to improve quality, relevance and attractiveness.

The quality assurance model is uniform across LiU and has been designed based on the requirements of the Higher Education Act, the Higher Education Ordinance and the national system for the quality assurance of higher education drawn up by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ). The UKÄ examination of quality assurance at institutions of higher education is based on international principles for the quality assurance of higher education, Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).

According to the rules of procedure for LiU, the faculties and the area of educational sciences are responsible for ensuring high quality and legal certainty in education and research. The organisational model that LiU uses means that the faculties and departments have considerable freedom to decide how quality promotion is to be organised, while the system for quality assurance is uniform across the university. The common model for quality assurance at LiU creates the conditions required for an active dialogue and exchange of experiences between faculties.

In 2020, a self-evaluation of LiU’s quality assurance model was written, which was evaluated by the Swedish Higher Education Authority in 2021. After feedback on the gender equality evaluation area, a decision was made in February 2024 to approve quality assurance work at LiU. The document library below (Decisions on quality assurance at LiU (in Swedish)) contains LiU's self-evaluation and UKÄ's decisions on quality assurance at LiU.

Quality assurance of education

All education at LiU must be evaluated on one occasion within a six-year period. The first cycle lasted from 2017 to 2022 and the second cycle began in 2023. The quality assurance process begins with each object of evaluation writing a quality report.

Key indicators for education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels are first choice applicants, study completion (credit production per semester for education programmes) and graduation rate. For doctoral studies, the average duration and degree within eight years and the number of doctoral students who have taken approved leave from their studies are stated. For each sub-area or heading, the quality report template contains additional directives on what is specifically to be highlighted. In relation to the previous cycle, an addition has been made to the current cycle stating that previous action plans and implemented actions are also to be analysed and evaluated.

At the faculties, the quality report is reviewed and dialogue is conducted between the dean and those responsible for writing the quality report. Heads of department are given the opportunity to comment or participate in the dialogues. The dean makes an assessment of the included areas on a three-point scale and an action plan is drawn up. The action plan is then established at the faculty. The action plan is followed up with detailed measures or activities in dialogue with the faculty during years 2 to 6 to highlight and inform about improvements. This means that the organisation works on two different cycles at the same time. A 1-year cycle in which the quality report, assessment and action plan are written and a 6-year cycle for follow-up of the action plan. At the next evaluation, a new evaluation is to be carried out in its entirety.

At the end of each year, a faculty analysis is written that summarises and analyses the year’s educational reviews. The faculty analyses are presented to the Quality Assurance Board by the respective pro-deans for education or pro-deans for research and doctoral studies. The follow-up aims to develop the LiU-wide model for quality assurance of education and to analyse the overall conditions at the university that affect the ability to maintain and develop the quality of the university’s educational activities. If necessary, the vice-chancellor then decides on LiU-wide measures.

The follow-up of quality assurance work at LiU with the help of faculty analyses constitutes an important internal analysis of LiU’s operations. Long-term maintenance of the highest possible quality in LiU’s educational offerings is a prerequisite for the ability to attract and graduate students who are in demand in the labour market.