The KTH quality assurance system
Overall structure of the KTH quality assurance system
The KTH quality assurance system consists of two main coherent parts, both of which aim to follow-up on, ensure and develop the quality of courses and study programmes, research and collaboration. One part is the annual on-going monitoring that includes a follow up of all courses and study programmes, a follow up of all research and a follow up of collaboration in both education and research. The Dean of Faculty plans and leads the on-going monitoring every year. The other main part of the Quality Assurance system is the six-year cycle of periodic reviews that includes all courses and study programmes, all research and all collaboration in education and research.
The six-year cycle of periodic reviews of courses and study programmes, including collaboration, is the responsibility of KTH’s schools to plan and carry in accordance with the instructions of the Faculty Council. This means that each school itself can decide when its courses and programs, including collaboration, will be reviewed during the six-year cycle.
The six-year cycle of periodic review of research, including collaboration, is the responsibility of the Vice President for Research to plan and execute and is carried out as a Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) of all KTH’s research at the same time once every six years.
On-going monitoring and periodic reviews of courses and programmes, research and collaboration is not new to KTH. On-going monitoring has been conducted for many years as a part of the annual follow up process and in the Presidents’ dialog with each school at KTH. Periodic reviews has been carried out as self-initiated reviews as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008 and 2012, the Education Assessment Exercise (EAE) in 2011 and the Administration Assessment Exercise (AAE) in 2014. What is new is that the on-going monitoring and the periodic review of KTH’s courses and programmes, research and collaboration now are parts of a coherent system, carried out in a six-year cycle and has been harmonized with the national Quality Assurance System. This also means that KTH’s Quality Assurance System includes the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Sector (ESG). Illustrated in figure 1 below is a six-year cycle in KTH’s Quality Assurance System.
Principles for on-going monitoring
The on-going monitoring takes place annually and includes a quality dialogue led by the Dean of Faculty. It covers courses and study programmes and research including collaboration as well as the development of academic skills among the research and teaching staff. The on-going monitoring is based on school reports with aggregated analyses of all school programmes, the research at each institution at KTH as well as the schools plans for the provision and development of academic skills.
The purpose of the on-going monitoring is to follow-up all degree programmes at all levels, all research and the provision of academic skills in order to highlight any deficiencies or problems with quality, identify development needs and short- and long-term measures.
Students and doctoral students from the current courses and study programmes appointed by the Royal Institute of Technology Student Union (THS) will always be offered to take part in the process of on-going monitoring and the quality dialouge.
The results from the on-going monitoring are published on KTH’s web-platform for on-going monitoring and quality dialogue (Webbplattform för kontinuerlig uppföljning och kvalitetsdialog). The results are also given as feedback to the schools and the Vice President before they are taken into account in the work with the KTH annual activity plan.
Principles for periodic reviews
The principles for periodic reviews of courses and programmes, including collaboration, is different from the periodic review of research only in a few ways. The periodic review of courses and programmes, including collaboration takes place continuously in a six-year cycle and the responsibilities for this process is delegated to each school. The periodic review of research, including collaboration, is planned and executed by the KTH Vice President for Research and includes all the research at KTH at the same time every six years. A part from this the processes are very similar. The periodic review of courses and programs, research and collaboration involves a self-evaluation process and a peer review. Peer review means that the assessment will be conducted by peers with relevant subject or field expertise who are impartial and independent in relation to the programme or the research.
It is a requirement that the expert panel in a periodic review of programmes that lead to a second or to a third cycle qualification must always include an assessor from another Swedish or foreign university. The assessment of research must always be carried out by panels with international experts in the field.
A written self-evaluation of the current programmes respectively research will constitute the primary basis for assessment of the review. Site visits and interviews are also important parts in the review process. In the review of courses and programmes, the self-evaluation must describe, analyse and evaluate the courses and study programmes as well as collaboration in such a way that the review will include the assessment areas in the national Quality Assurance System carried out by UKÄ as well as the KTH goals for education. In the review of research the self-evaluation must describe, analyse and evaluate the research and collaboration in such a way that the review will include the assessment areas that the steering committee for quality assurance of research at KTH develops in a dialogue with KTH schools. These assessment areas must include KTH’s own goals as well as the assessment areas in the future national Quality Assurance System for research carried out by UKÄ. The latter includes SUHF:s Joint framework for HEIs’ research quality assurance and enhancement systems and the European Commissions’ European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
Students and doctoral students from the current courses and study programmes appointed by the Royal Institute of Technology Student Union (THS) will always be offered to take part in the self-evaluation process.
The results from the periodic review will be reported to the Faculty Council, the President and the KTH board and be followed up in the on-going monitoring every year. The results will also be commented on by the KTH management and published on the KTH web.
 Members of the steering committee for quality assurance of research is the Vice President for research, the Dean, the Deputy President, the University Director, Head of Research Office, the Director Strategic Partnerships, the Project manager for RAE and a Quality Assurance Officer.