Algebra University College completed its re-accreditation procedure in September 2012 with excellent marks and positive accreditation recommendation
Re-accreditation procedure is carried out every five years in accordance with Article 22of the Act on Quality Assurance in Science and Higher Education in order to obtain detailed insight in the quality of work of higher education institutions and determine whether or not an institution meets the criteria for the extension of its license for performing higher education activity. This way, the Agency for Science and Higher Education protects the public interest and ensures that accredited higher education is conducted only by institutions that meet the required criteria of quality.
Areas that are evaluated are: 1. Institutional management and quality assurance, 2. Study programs, 3. Students, 4. Teachers, 5. Research and professional activity, 6. International cooperation and mobility and 7. Resources. Possible marks are divided in five categories, ranging from not implemented (1) to fully implemented (5). Depending on the results achieved, possible outcomes of the re-accreditation procedure are: denial of the license for performing higher education activity, issuing of letters of expectation (with or without a ban on student enrolment) and issuing of certificates of compliance with the requirements for performing higher education activity (license extension). The Accreditation Recommendation describes a follow-up period during which the University College is obliged to notify the Accreditation Council on all measures taken to improve its quality based on recommendations contained in the committee’s report.
Algebra University College received the highest marks according to four criteria(fully implemented – 5: Management, programs, students and resources), and the three remaining criteria were evaluated as (4: (mostly implemented– 4teachers, professional activity and mobility) whereby the University College achieved 32 out of 35 possible points or 91.4%. Algebra University College is currently rated as the best evaluated professional study program in the Republic of Croatia. Detailed re-accreditation report can be downloaded here.
Approved by FER
Algebra University College is the only professional institution in the Republic of Croatia that has been given the status approved by FER by the “Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing “through the process of curriculum evaluation back in the year 2009 and it has confirmed and maintained this status throughout re-evaluations of its quality in 2011 and 2013.
This status was obtained based on the evaluation of complete documentation, curriculum, educational plan and other relevant components of the study program carried out by the most eminent experts in the field of computer engineering in the region. Through this procedure the University College needed to demonstrate FER that its curriculum was designed and implemented well enough not only to meet the needs of employers, but also to satisfy the high demands of this premium scientific and educational institution.
This status is a great honor, but also a commitment for us because it was not issued unconditionally and without a time limit and needs to be updated every year through evaluation of the quality of work in all segments.
Conclusions of the analysis of the quality of work carried out in 2013 especially emphasize a number of segments in which the Algebra University College improved its services provided to students during and after their studies.
Since the Algebra University College was awarded the certificate “approved by FER” as the first higher education institution in 2009, it has significantly improved its business processes and quality of education provided in the field of educating computer engineers which were the main reasons why the expert committee of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing commended the University College during the second approval procedure.
Among major enhancements made by the Algebra University College during the past four years we can distinguish the official re-accreditation and acquisition of domestic and international certificates of educational quality, significant enlargement of college premises and facilities (both were graded as “exceeding standard requirements”) as well as a significantly increased number of full-time teachers and staff. Meanwhile, two new study programs were introduced and a Career Centre was established in order to assist in connecting students with potential employers and adjusting the study program with the actual demands required by the employers of IT professionals.
The curricula for certain courses have also been updated as well as the concept of final exams, which now include an important practical part. In addition, the analysis conducted by the expert committee of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing commended the concern about quality as well as the expediency of student internships taken by students studying at the Algebra University College together with the fact that, based on available data, graduate students were able to find employment within a satisfactory degree and time frame. Even though exams were passed at a slightly lower rate than expected, Algebra University College has been commended by FER for the fact that such rates did not result in the lowering of exam standards.
“University College has made significant progress since its previous accreditation, primarily when it comes to its staff, but also its facilities and organization. The College has participated in IPA projects and attempted to acquire additional funding through cooperation with the industry. Furthermore, it has affected educational programs at high school level, encouraged mobility, participated in the organization of professional student competitions in order to make the University College more attractive to high-quality students and establish cooperation with the industry regarding the organization of internships and subsequent employment of graduated students. In addition, the University College has introduced a practical part of the final exam which reflected its intention to educate students for practical work“, said Professor Damir Kalpić, PhD, Head of commission of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing for the certification of Algebra University College..
“FER and Algebra are complementary institutions. While FER covers the majority of its educational costs through budgetary resources, the University College is exclusively funded by Algebra as its founder. The University College does not aim to compete with FER, but primarily to educate students at bachelor level so they can fit into the needs of their work place as fast as possible. This includes awarding students with industrial certifications. The needs of the economy and society for the employees educated by the University College are large and cannot, nor should, be covered exclusively by students graduating from faculties such as FER“, concludes prof. Professor Damir Kalpić, PhD..
Algebra University College has met the high standards of quality assurance system verified by NVAO, one of the five leading European accreditation agencies
Dutch-Flemish accreditation agency NVAO,one of European authorities in the field of quality assurance in higher education, evaluated Algebra University College with high marks in all segments, particularly emphasizing the quality of its professional courses and cooperation with the industry.
This is the first time that an external audit of internal quality assurance system has been carried out in a Croatian higher education institution through international cooperation between three Croatian higher education institutions with support of the Council of Universities and University Colleges of Applied Science and the Agency for Science and Higher Education. The whole process was carried out within the frame of a recently completed pilot project and in accordance with the rules of the accreditation agency NVAO and European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
Ratings and commendations
In all analyzed segments – vision, policy, results, organization and policy of improving education – the Algebra University College has been rated with high marks.
A panel of international experts formed and led by NVAO especially commended Algebra University College for:
- quality of its program and internal quality assurance procedures that will enable future high-quality implementation of new programs;
- efforts to create ideal environments in classrooms by attracting motivated students and the best lecturers;
- strong partnership with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb;
- synergy with Algebra education group, the founder of Algebra University College, which enables valuable experience in professional IT education;
- elaborate system of scholarships and grants in order to stimulate students with the highest potential to enroll in Algebra University College;
- excellent computer infrastructure, computer workshops and e-learning systems;
- college administration aware of potential economic and financial difficulties and ready to react quickly in order to minimize their impact.
In addition to these commendations, NVAO provided useful recommendations and guidelines for further development and improvement of existing systems which will be changing and evolving in line with the development of the institution and the increasing number of students and study programs.
The evaluation report can be downloaded here.