Once every six years, all our degree programmes are accredited by the Nederlands Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (NVAO) [Netherlands-Flemish Accreditation Organisation]. In preparation of an accreditation the programme management writes a Critical Reflection. The Department of Onderwijs en Kwaliteitszorg (OKZ) [teaching and learning and quality assurance] provides programme managements with advice concerning the Critical Reflection, organises trial audits, and helps to prepare the assessment visits. Programme Directors process the outcomes of the programme accreditations in their annual programme report, and in their annual programme plan they indicate how they will act on the items requiring improvement. Following up the items emanating from the accreditation are thus incorporated in the regular planning and control cycle.
As of 2014, we will start executing so-called mid-term reviews within the framework of programme accreditations institution-wide. Halfway the external six-yearly cycle, an interim assessment will take place. A committee consisting of at least external domain experts and internal process experts visit the programme management and report to the Programme Director and the Dean. The committee reports on the possibilities for improvement as well as its impression about the extent to which the programme succeeded in realising the recommendations stemming from the assessment report of the previous accreditation.
For new study programmes a Faculty first submits a declaration of intent which should be approved by the Bestuurlijk Overleg VU [the university’s administrative coordination] (comprising the Deans and the Executive Board). Subsequently, in cooperation with the Executive Board, the Faculty prepares the macro-efficiency application and, in case of a positive result, this is followed by a proposal for accreditation submitted to the NVAO. The Stuurgroep Onderwijskwaliteit (STOK) [quality of teaching and learning steering group] is responsible for supervising the quality of teaching and learning at VU University. It advises the Executive Board on each application for a new bachelor’s or master’s degree programme before it is submitted to the NVAO.
At the level of the Institution, an accreditation portrait is drafted twice yearly. The report contains an overview of all the scores of the most recent programme accreditations.