Policy and programmes assessed positively

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is the first Flemish institution to pass the new institution-wide review with positive results. With this process, the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organization (NVAO) has labelled VUB as an institution that implements policy in a high-quality way and guarantees the quality of its programmes. Flemish colleges and universities go through this review every six years. Those who pass it no longer need to have each programme assessed separately.

Vice-rector for Education and Student Policy Jan Danckaert: “We are very pleased to be the first to successfully pass this institutional review. Not only are we pleased with the positive assessment, but as an Urban Engaged University we are also proud of the committee’s appreciation for the role VUB has taken on in the metropolitan Brussels area. What’s more, the committee’s recommendations are themes that were already on our radar and that we are eager to get started on.”

In assessing VUB, the committee examined educational policy at the institution and programme level, and the interaction between the central, faculty and programme levels. The committee praised the quality of the programmes. “The strong governance, the ownership of quality development by the Programme Councils, the support by the central services and the presence of the Education Quality Council together guarantee that the quality of programmes at VUB is safeguarded. They also provide the committee with the necessary confidence that the new quality cycle will be implemented in a high-quality way.”

In its assessment report, the committee also praised the quality culture: “The committee was very impressed with the culture of quality at VUB, which was tangible in all discussions, at all policy levels. In this regard, the committee has the greatest appreciation for the way in which student participation is embedded at every level of governance.”

The NVAO review committee consists of independent experts who examine whether an institution’s educational policy is in line with its educational vision. In addition, the institution’s policies must respond to the societal challenges it faces. The assessment also examines whether the institution ensures the quality of its own programmes is maintained. To receive a positive assessment, the institution must demonstrate that it ensures the quality of its courses and makes the results public.

Wouter Duyck, vice-president of NVAO: “With the institutional review, universities of applied sciences show that they really own their quality assurance and that this is in line with their educational policy. We are satisfied that this first institutional review went well, in terms of both procedure and content. Everyone had really prepared themselves down to the last detail. It is normal for a committee to formulate recommendations; this helps an institution develop further and fits in with NVAO’s Appreciative Approach, with which we support institutions in the continuous improvement of educational quality.”