Institutional review procedures focus on the core tasks and activities of a higher education institution (teaching and learning, research, administration etc.), with the objective to identify areas of particular excellence and to provide expert advice for further improvement. In short, an institutional review aims at enhancing a higher education institution’s self-governing capacity instead of measuring it against predefined standards.
As a general rule, all institutional reviews are based on the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) launched by the European Ministers for Education in Bergen in May 2005, which are now a widely accepted framework for internal and external quality assurance across and beyond the European Higher Education Area.
Institutional reviews consist of several consecutive steps: first of all, the higher education institution generates a written self-assessment report. Based on this document and the outcomes of on-site talks with representatives of all stakeholder groups, the review panel creates an expert report including commendations and recommendations.
As an alternative to institution-wide reviews, ZEvA also carries out assessments of organizational units (faculties or departments, key administrative units) and their central fields of activity.
By request, a successful review may also result in the awarding of a quality certificate. The final decision about issuing ZEvA’s quality seal lies with ZEvA’s Commission for International Affais (KIA).
Appeals to decisions of the KIA may be directed to the ZEvA Appeals Commission within a period of one month after notification of the decision. Higher education institutions may also lodge complaints regarding procedural errors or irregularities. Based on the recommendation of the Appeals Commission, the KIA may revise its decision or prompt the agency to repeat the review procedure completely or in parts.