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.
Accreditation, the formal recognition of technical and organisational competence, is a procedure delegated to the Swiss Agency for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ), which is dependent on the Swiss Accreditation Council. The purpose of institutional accreditation is to certify and assure the quality of the university in the performance of its activities.
The deadline set by the HEdA for institutional accreditation is 31 December 2022.
The quality assurance system is assessed on the basis of quality standards relating to a set of key processes, which SUPSI has grouped together for consistency and affinity in 4 operational contexts:
- institutional mandates with education, research and service performance;
- governance and management;
- resources and stakeholders.
Stages of the procedure
The accreditation procedure is divided into 5 phases:
- The first phase is the self-assessment by SUPSI. This is a participatory process that sees, with a different degree of involvement, the contribution of staff, students, alumni and members of advisory committees and which allows the identification of strengths and weaknesses in order to obtain an action plan.
- The second phase consists of a visit of the Swiss Agency for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ). The expert commission meets the governing bodies of SUPSI and interviews a representative group of teachers and researchers, students and alumni, technical and administrative staff on the quality assurance system.
- The third stage is the evaluation procedure, which foresees the proposal for accreditation by the Agency and the consequent statement of position by SUPSI.
- In the fourth phase, the Swiss Accreditation Council decides on the basis of the proposal submitted by the Agency. The Council may issue accreditation without recommendations, with recommendations or reject it.
- The procedure ends with the publication by the Swiss Accreditation Council of the schools that have obtained the right to use the reserved designations.
SUPSI aims to achieve institutional accreditation by the end of 2020.
SUPSI will use the guidelines of the Swiss Accreditation and Quality Assurance Agency to identify measures to be taken to continuously improve the quality assurance system.