Equality of opportunity, student influence and social and ethnic diversity at the higher education institutions - a follow-up of the National Agency for Higher Education?s 1991/2000 evaluation
This report follows up the evaluation made by the National Agency for Higher Education in 1999/200 of the way in which the higher education institutions deal with equality of opportunity, student influence and social and ethnic diversity. An account will be given below of which institutions the panel of assessors considers to be leaders in these aspects of quality. The panel also urges the institutions to pay heed to the collective recommendations made at the end of each main section of the report.
The leading higher education institutions in the work on these quality aspectsOn the basis of the criteria cited in each of the main sections, the panel of assessors has found that a number of higher education institutions stand out from the others. This applies both to the institutions that have made tangible improvements of various quality assurance routines since the evaluation made in 1999/2000 and those that stand out as leading the field in Sweden. This assessment is based on material submitted by the institutions themselves and on statistics and material previously published by the National Agency.
Generally speaking, the higher education institutions are making considerable efforts to promote each of these quality aspects, as the findings of this evaluation clearly demonstrate. This applies in particular to the social and ethnic diversity aspect, where a significant number of positive developments have taken place since the 1999/2000 evaluation, but marked improvements have taken place in the areas of equality of opportunity and student influence during the same period. This means that in all three of these quality aspects a number of institutions attain almost the same high standards as the most outstanding. However, there still remains a potential for development to enable even the leading institutions to make further improvements.
Equality of opportunityThe institution that has the most comprehensive and best organised approach to equality of opportunity is Linköping University, which confirms the leading position it already held in the 1999/2000 evaluation. The consistent routines that the university then had in place have been extended since the previous evaluation, and this has led to results.
Generally speaking, particular improvement can be seen in coordination between different levels and in more explicit links to overarching goals and quality discussions. Universities that have improved their work on equality of opportunity in this way are Göteborg University and Uppsala University. In this context Lund University also deserves mention. The follow-up assessment demonstrates the significance of a long-term, concrete approach for the attainment of results, and here the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences provides a good example.
Among the university colleges, the University College of Gävle deserves special mention, as an example of an institution where the approach to equality of opportunity has improved and the work is organised well. The University College of Dance retains its leading place in comparison with the other arts colleges. The overall impression from the follow-up evaluation is that progress has been made on equality of opportunity compared with the 1999/2000 evaluation.
Student influenceThe higher education institution which the panel of assessors considers to have the most thoroughgoing and well-organised routines to promote student influence is Lund University. Several of the measures now being adopted at other institutions derive originally from Lund, such as declarations of rights and barometers. At the same time, Lund University has already had the time to evaluate and refine the routines used to promote student influence, which gives it a certain lead over the others. Linköping University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have more than maintained the high ratings received in the 1999/2000 evaluation. Umeå University and in particular Uppsala University have made considerable improvements in this aspect of quality. Where the university colleges are concerned, the panel feels that special mention should be made of the University College of Kalmar.
All six institutions have clear policies and have adopted a wide range of measures to promote the influence of both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The arts colleges still need to discover methods of implementing and adapting regulations and routines to suit the ways in which they work.
Social and ethnic diversityThe institutions which the panel of assessors considers have the most comprehensive and well-organised procedures for the promotion of social and ethnic diversity are Karolinska Institute and the University College of Malmö. The statistics available show that both institutions have been highly successful in recruiting new student groups and have introduced new measures and methods to attain concrete results. The University College of Gävle, the University College of Skövde, Karlstad University, Södertörns University College and Örebro University are also considered to live up to stringent demands. Two institutions stand out for the tangible improvements demonstrated in their work to promote social and ethnic diversity since the 1999/2000 evaluation, Lund University and Uppsala University.
Perhaps the most gratifying finding is that the arts colleges have made considerable efforts to find ways of promoting social and ethnic diversity among both students and staff since the evaluation in 1999/2000.