Further Developing Teaching Together
Quality Management for Study and Teaching
As one of the largest technical universities in Germany, RWTH Aachen is not only excellent in research and it has a particularly high amount of external funding. Thanks to the outstanding work of its dedicated employees and students, it has been distinguished for its good teaching, and aims to maintain and expand this status.
Not only increasing student numbers, but also the heterogeneity of students, limited financial resources, and the competition for the brightest minds worldwide pose particular challenges to this goal. A number of measures were successfully established in the past in order to face and overcome these challenges, such as course evaluations each semester, course of study evaluations, and graduate surveys.
In 2008, RWTH summarized all of its activities planned for teaching in four core areas in its strategy "Students at the Focus of Excellence," which was honored in a competition for excellent teaching. In the Student core area students are supported during the start of their demanding studies. In the second core area focus is placed on the qualification of teachers so that lecturers' teaching skills are promoted. The core area Teaching and Learning Concepts focuses on the implementation of innovative teaching and learning concepts. The fourth core area, Teaching, ensures the structure and organization of all quality measures.
In order to support, steer, and orient the majority of the individual measures and efforts of the many university employees in teaching towards a mutual goal, RWTH decided to establish an effective quality management system for the area studies and teaching. This project is supported by Division 6. 2 - Teaching and the RWTH Metrology and Quality Management Research Unit with Professor Robert Schmitt. Quality management is applied in three areas:
- Quality goals for studies and teaching are approved RWTH-wide and mutually determined to ensure that all efforts are heading in the same direction. The goals are further differentiated based on criteria and indicators/soft facts to ensure mutual understanding. The final values differ among the faculties and thus must be individually observed using target ranges.
- A dashboard will be introduced as the foundation for transparent and objective decisions at the faculty and university level. All individuals involved in studies and teaching are to be supported with relevant information.
- Feedback control systems at the faculty and university level as well as with external partners ensure that identified potentials and agreed upon measures are quickly implemented. This includes the annual discussions and the course of study evaluations.
In order to involve all the faculties and status groups as much as possible when working in all the fields, a working group "QMS-L" was established, which meets regularly and compiles the decision materials for the various university committees. We would like to thank all of the members of QMS-L for their constructive collaboration!
In its meeting on Febuary 6, 2014, the RWTH Aachen Senate approved the 15 developed university-wide quality goals for teaching, which had been recommended by the deans of studies in their retreat. Intra-faculty goals have now been arranged with these goals for studies and teaching at RWTH Aachen.
Die Verabschiedung der Qualitätsziele durch den Senat der RWTH Aachen ist für unsere Hochschule ein wichtiger Schritt. Einige der Ziele mögen auf den ersten Blick selbstverständlich erscheinen, doch das klare Bekenntnis aller Gruppen zu diesen Zielen, das Bekenntnis zu einer Hochschule, die die Qualität von Studium und Lehre als zentral betrachtet, hat Signalwirkung.
Professor Dr.-Ing. Ernst Schmachtenberg, Rektor der RWTH Aachen
Es freut mich, dass die Qualitätsziele gemeinsam von den Studiendekaninnen und Studiendekanen, dem Vertreter der Studierenden im Senat, dem Sprecher der wissenschaftlichen Mitarbeiter/innen sowie dem AStA-Vorsitzenden erarbeitet wurden. Dies ist ein typisches Beispiel für den „Aachener Way“ und stärkt die Identifikation aller Hochschulangehörigen mit diesen Zielen. Auch in der weiteren Entwicklung werden wir diesen Weg der Zusammenarbeit weiter beschreiten.
Professor Aloys Krieg, Prorektor für Lehre
With this reassurance the working group and project's core team could continue the project. Fifteen quality goals based on the results were described with 57 criteria. These criteria aim to make the abstract, general quality goals tangible.
Furthermore, they illustrate the first step towards conceivableness. During their retreat at the end of 2014, the deans of studies intensively discussed all of the criteria and acknowledged the group's good results. The criteria reflect the University's understanding of good teaching and the endorsed quality goals.
The positive vote of the deans of studies was presented in the Senate's meeting on February 5, 2015, thus achieving the next milestone of the ongoing process.
In the next step, all criteria will be defined by soft facts and indicators, in order to achieve ascertainability of the criteria and to track the status of the goal. Since only a portion of the aspects of good teaching can be ascertained by numerical perameters, a distinction will be made between quantitative perameters and qualitative indicators. This is the only way those involved in studies and teaching can be offered an effective aid for controlling and increasing their own potential. The project and current project results were presented in committees and councils within the faculties and university throughou the entire duration. This will continue in to oder to ensure that information is shared with all those involved in the best way possible.