Quality

As an affiliated school of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland(Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana, SUPSI), FFHS wants to be a reference point for professional education and applied research, which is open for regional co-operations and integrated in the scientific and academic community at a national and international level. To achieve these goals, FFHS has set up a quality assurance system in close cooperation with SUPSI, its institutional strategy and its values.

Quality assurance

Quality at FFHS and SUPSI means providing a working and studying environment that guarantees quality throughout the entire school– particularly within the framework of the institutional mandate in the areas of teaching, research & development and service performance. To implement these concepts in practice, SUPSI has set up a customised quality assurance system (QAS) that is closely linked to the four-year strategy and its institutional values.  This system takes into consideration the specific characteristics of both the school itself and its affiliates.

The SUPSI quality assurance system is composed of:

  • The quality policy and strategy (QPS), which describes the fundamental principles of quality development and control within SUPSI.
  • The quality assurance framework (QAF), which defines the structure and organisation of the quality assurance system within the quality policy and strategy.
  • The quality handbook (QH), which covers priority key processes. The QH represents the operational implementation of the SUPSI quality assurance system within FFHS. FFHS plans to create its own QH to reflect the specific features of the university.

Institutional accreditation

The Federal Act on Funding and Coordination of the Swiss Higher Education Sector (Higher Education Act, HEdA) requires all university institutions to have institutional accreditation (Art. 27 et seq.), a prerequisite for obtaining the designation of «university» and granting of federal contributions.

In March 2021, the Swiss Accreditation Council (SAC) formally confirmed SUPSI’s status as a University of Applied Sciences and Arts for the period 2021-2028.

A result of intense, inclusive and participatory work that has seen the active involvement of over 250 staff members, students and external stakeholders. The group of experts delegated by the Swiss Agency for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ) responsible for monitoring the procedure met with a significant proportion of them during three days of stimulating discussions in Manno during October 2020. SUPSI thus enters the list of nationally accredited universities and, as required by the Federal Act on Funding and Coordination of the Swiss Higher Education Sector (Higher Education Act, HEdA), obtains through institutional accreditation the prerequisite for having the right of denomination to obtain federal and cantonal contributions.

The AAQ, commissioned by the SAC to monitor the accreditation procedure, through a report drawn up by the group of experts, appreciated the focus on transparency, honest self-criticism and the active participation of all the stakeholders. The Quality Assurance System has been considered suitable for supporting the strategic development of SUPSI, with a correct balance between harmonisation and respect for the diversity present within it.

Accreditation is subject to conditions which will serve as an incentive for the further development of quality within the affiliated departments and schools: the Accademia Teatro Dimitri, the University School of Music of the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana, the Fernfachhochschule Schweiz and the Thim van der Laan School of Physiotherapy in Landquart.

 

The 5-step accreditation procedure:

  1. The first phase was that of self-evaluation by SUPSI. A participatory process that has seen, with a different degree of involvement, the contribution of employees, students, alumni and members of advisory committees and that has allowed the identification of strengths and weaknesses in order to obtain an action plan. The first phase generated a Self-Assessment Report (SAR) sent to the AAQ.
  2. The second phase consisted of a visit from the AAQ. The commission of experts met with the governing bodies of SUPSI and interviewed a representative group of teachers and researchers, students and alumni, technical and administrative personnel on the Quality Assurance System.
  3. The third phase was that of the evaluation procedure, which provided for the proposal of accreditation by the AAQ and the consequent position statement of SUPSI.
  4. In the fourth phase, the Swiss Accreditation Council decided on the basis of the proposal submitted by the Agency. The Council may pronounce accreditation granted without charges, subject to charges or reject it.
  5. The procedure was concluded with the publication by the Swiss Accreditation Council of the schools that were entitled to the designation.