Österreichischer Fachhochschulrat (FH Council)
„Oesterreichischer Fachhochschulrat“ is the Austrian FH Council. The FH Council was established in 1993. FH Council has the legal competence for external quality assurance in the FH sector, which means the accreditation of programmes offered by universities of applied sciences (UAS).
The primary responsibilities of FH Council are:
- the accreditation of FH programmes
- the evaluation of FH programmes and institutions.
Additionally, the FH Council:
- establishes policies and criteria for Austrian FH sector;
- awards the institutional designation “Fachhochschule” (University of Applied Sciences);
- carries out annual statistical surveys;
- awards academic degrees for programmes from universities of applied sciences
- recognises foreign degrees (“nostrification”);
- ensures education standards by monitoring the programmes at universities of applied sciences, in particular the final examinations;
- promotes the quality of teaching and learning as well as innovations in programmes through research activities, further education and other measures;
- ensures quality assurance of further education courses;
- advises the competent federal minister on issues regarding the university of applied sciences system, including advice to the competent federal minister on the use of federal funds.
Focus of accreditation
The FH Council grants programme accreditation. Programmes are reviewed against the fulfilment of the educational mandate which is to provide a professionally oriented, scientifically sound vocational training at higher education level. Accreditation comprehends approval and guarantees students, society and employers that the education offered has undergone a quality assurance procedure before it has been approved or re-approved.
The consequences of accreditation
For the universities of applied sciences, initial accreditation is compulsory in order to start operation of a degree programme. Initial accreditation is granted for a limited period of time not exceeding five years. Thus, a positive accreditation decision is equivalent to approval.
Re-accreditation results in the extension of accreditation and requires a new evaluation procedure.
The consequence of non-accreditation is that the programme cannot be started or continued.
FH Council publishes a list of all accredited programmes with detailed information on the degrees and the programmes on its website.
Additionally the FH council publishes:
- Accreditation Guidelines
Set forth the prerequisites and standards when applying for the accreditation of a FH-degree programme and consist of general provisions (aimed directly at the course-providing body and have to be applied when drawing up the applications) and special provisions (need to be explained in the applications for accreditation as FH degree programme).
- Evaluation Regulation
Set forth the aim of the evaluation, evaluation methods and principles, evaluation procedures, external review teams, implementation and publication of the evaluation results, topics of the institutional and the degree programme-related evaluation.
- Evaluation results
The evaluation results are published in the form of a summary based on the review team's evaluation reports. The consent of the course-providing body is obtained prior to publication.
- Annual Reports
Contains information on the Fachhochschul-Sector in general, activities of the FH-Council (accreditations, evaluations, projects carried out, statistical data, international activities, members of the FH-Council, etc). One part of the report gives an overview on the development of the Fachhochschul-sector.
- Statistical Analysis
Statistical analysis on FH-degree programmes, students, applicants, scientific staff and R&D etc.
Mutual recognition agreements
FH Council has mutual recognition agreements with:
- Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (NVAO), The Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium)
- Nasjonalt organ for kvalitet i utdanningen (NOKUT), Norway
|Website of the FH Council|