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More autonomy, greater quality in teaching

The University of Freiburg successfully completes system accreditation process

Freiburg, May 19, 2020

More autonomy, greater quality in teaching

Photo: Thomas Kunz

The University of Freiburg is now entitled to assess the quality of its own more than 200 degree programs. The university started the system accreditation process in 2017 and has finished it successfully and without further conditions; that means the University of Freiburg now has the ability to approve study programs itself. Up to now, accreditation was carried out by external agencies. “System accreditation will reinforce the University of Freiburg autonomy and have a positive effect on the quality of teaching and the further development of our degree programs,” says Professor Dr. Juliane Besters-Dilger, Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

The plan is for each Bachelor's and Master's program at the University of Freiburg to undergo a quality development procedure every eight years: both on the basis of data such as duration of study and success rate, and on the basis of the study and examination regulations and module handbooks, which provide information on the content and learning objectives of the programs. The central decision-making body for this is the Internal Accreditation Committee (IAA), to which each faculty sends eight delegates - two teaching staff, two representatives of the mid-level academic staff, two administrative or service and technical staff members, and two students. The individual accreditations are each supervised by five IAA members and at least three external reviewers. This group draws up a proposal for the university management, which at the end of the procedure decides whether a degree program is to receive accreditation.

The university is initially system-accredited for six years; there will be regular external reviews to ensure it remains entitled to award the seal of quality for its degree programs. “The high level of participation by the faculties is a Freiburg peculiarity,” says Dr. Sören Pape, head of study and teaching quality management, the office which has overseen the entire process. “Acceptance of the process is high, and at the same time we want to further improve it by, for example, optimizing the ratio of effort and results, among other things through increasing digitalization.”

The accreditation committee's quality seal is awarded to Bachelor's and Master's programs; in addition, state examinations and other programs that are not subject to accreditation are subject to voluntary internal evaluation alongside the Bachelor's and Master's programs in order to establish an overall quality management system. “This shared quality assurance is an added value for the entire university,” Besters-Dilger says. “It will further increase awareness and responsibility for good teaching and study program concepts. The subjects strengthen their dialogue with students as well as with the university management, and give each other important encouragement by giving constructive criticism. Our whole teaching and study program will benefit from that.”


Background information

Website for system accreditation


Dr. Sören Pape
Quality Management Studies and Teaching
University of Freiburg
Phone: 0761/203-96802