Quality assurance: Actions and follow-up
Results from evaluations must be heeded to contribute to development. Uppsala University integrates follow-up of reviews and evaluations in regular annual planning and follow-up processes. At the Vice-Chancellor level, this involves annual quality assurance dialogues between the Vice-Chancellor and the vice-rectors of the disciplinary domains.
Follow-up of actions taken in response to reviews occurs at all levels within the University. Course evaluations often lead to changes in a course, while the results from the programme reviews can lead to more structural changes in the entire educational environment or study programme. Similarly, results from research evaluations are translated into actions, when appropriate.
Planning and follow-up occurs within the framework of the University’s regular operational planning and follow-up process.
The resources that the Riksdag and the government annually allocate to Uppsala University are divided up in the university-wide operational planning process. The operational plan defines tasks and overall financial frameworks for the coming year. Allocations for the disciplinary domains and budgets for university-wide functions are defined. These allocations are then further distributed to the departments through the disciplinary domains’ and, when applicable, the faculties’ operational plans.
The allocation of funding to education and research is relatively stable over the years and is determined by known models for allocating resources. Beginning with the 2018 operational plan, a three-year perspective was introduced in planning. The operational plan also proposes priorities and other initiatives that the University Board decides on, including any prioritised quality initiatives.
According to the University’s rules of procedure, each disciplinary domain is to have an operational plan. There is no general requirement for the departments to have operational plans. Some faculties, however, have decided that they should.
The disciplinary domains and faculties
The disciplinary domains and faculties normally begin working on their operational plans in parallel with the production of the university-wide operational plan. The operational plans for disciplinary domains and faculties are adopted in September/October.
The disciplinary domains and faculties can decide on their own initiatives, including quality development efforts. They can stimulate desired development by redistribution of funding.
Most decisions in the university-wide operational plan are translated into actions in the departments. The departments’ operational planning contributes to, and builds on, the disciplinary domain’s or faculty’s operational plan and their own internal considerations.
Beyond the resources and tasks received from faculties and disciplinary domains, departmental operational planning also includes externally funded research and contract education.
The University’s finances and operations are followed up every four months and are presented in a final annual report. On these occasions, the financial results are followed up and any deviations are commented on by the relevant unit. Quantitative results like the number of full-time equivalents, annual performance equivalents and publications are also followed up.
Instructions define what is to be followed up and reported on in the annual financial report. The disciplinary domains are responsible for putting together the reports from faculties and departments. This reporting also includes follow-up of activities resulting from evaluations and reviews and other quality-improving initiatives.
In addition to the reporting process, the Vice-Chancellor holds two dialogues with the management of the disciplinary domains every year. The autumn dialogue focuses on quality, and is summarised in a follow-up report presented to the University Board in April. The quality dialogue deals with questions about the disciplinary domains’ internal processes for quality assurance and enhancement, including actions taken based on reviews of education and research (both internal and external).
Follow-up of Uppsala University’s research environment evaluations
Follow-up of Uppsala University’s research evaluations occurs within the framework of the regular operational planning and follow-up process.
In December 2022, the vice-chancellor decided to carry out a new self-initiated university-wide research evaluation at Uppsala University, Quality and renewal 2024 (Q&R24).
Q&R24 is a cohesive research evaluation at Uppsala University, although it will be carried out in two parts; (1) two university-wide themes are evaluated and (2) disciplinary domain/faculty-driven evaluations of research and research environments are conducted. Evaluation of these two parts will contribute to an increased knowledge of the university's conditions for good research and research activities.
The two university-wide themes that are evaluated are research infrastructure and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. In the evaluation, strengths, weaknesses, needs and development areas regarding the university's work with research infrastructure and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research are highlighted.
Previous research evaluations
Quality and Renewal 2007 (Q&R07) was followed four years later by Quality and Renewal 2011 (Q&R11). These two research evaluations focused on research results and persued largely similar methods and purposes. Quality and Renewal 2017 (in DIVA) (Q&R17) focused to a greater extent on the conditions promoting quality and processes conducive to good research.
The University Board is informed annually of the measures taken based on the research evaluations.
Follow-up of Uppsala University’s programme reviews
Follow-up of Uppsala University’s reviews of study programmes also occurs within the framework of the regular operational planning and follow-up process.
Uppsala University’s Model for Review of Study Programmes states that the disciplinary domains and faculties have their own internal follow-up processes to ensure that actions are taken in response to the reviewers’ reports when needed, and for annual systematic follow-up of the study programmes.
The most important results from each disciplinary domain’s follow-up are incorporated into the overall annual planning, i.e. through written reporting and the Vice-Chancellor’s quality dialogues.
The knowledge and experience gained from the most recent year’s programme reviews are shared throughout the University at an annual conference for review of study programmes and through a quality report.
The University Board is informed annually about the findings of the programme reviews and the measures taken based on these programme reviews.