Institutional assessment: Tallinn University awarded the Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency (EKKA) quality label

On 9 June 2014, based on the assessment of international accreditation committees that had visited the University this spring, the EKKA Quality Assessment Council made the decision to accredit Tallinn University with the EKKA quality label for seven years. 

The committees consisted of heads of higher education institutions, consultants and specialists from the United Kingdom, Spain, the United States, Finland, the Netherlands, Macedonia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The committee recognized the high standard of internationalization of Tallinn University, including the large proportion of foreigners as members of teaching staff. According to the committee´s evaluation, several fields of activity of the university are at the high level in international comparison – e.g. the specialisations in Asian cultural studies, film studies and innovation in education. In near future, the committee recommends the university to focus on structural innovations in order to promote interdisciplinarity and guarantee equally high level quality of teaching and learning; also determine the research and development focus fields following the current strengths of the university and find ways to involve doctoral students in research groups.

According to TU Rector Tiit Land, institutional assessment provided a good opportunity to analyse the university activities and receive constructive feedback from experienced experts. “External evaluation took place at a very good time for Tallinn University, because we are currently preparing a development plan for the new period and a thorough self-evaluation creates a good foundation for the activities of the coming years. The recommendations of the committee were to be expected, we had come to the same or similar conclusions in our self-evaluation as well. For example, the committee saw the international environment and several future specialisations as our strengths. The committee recommended focusing the university activities with emphasis on interdisciplinarity. I am glad to recognise that focusing of activities has been central in the preparation of our new development plan. I am convinced that at the end of this year the Senate will approve the new university development plan for the period 2015-2020, in which developing of specific interdisciplinary focus fields has been set as an objective,” said Rector Land.

All Estonian higher education institutions must undergo institutional accreditation once in seven years. By the end of 2016, all Estonian higher education institutions will have undergone accreditation. The aim of the external evaluation is to support the development of strategic management and qualityculture in the higher education institutions of Estonia.

During the 9 June meeting, the EKKA Quality Assessment Council also made decisions on quality assessment regarding four higher education institutions. The right to provide education for an unspecified term was granted to Tallinn University Bachelor´s and Master´s programmes in Journalism and Information, Doctoral programme in Physical  Sciences, Informatics and Information Technology and Social Services, also Master´s programme in Healthcare; Tallinn University of Technology - Doctoral programme in architecture and construction; the Estonian Academy of Arts - Doctoral programme in Arts; the University of Tartu - Master´s and Doctoral programme in Teacher Training.

The Quality Assessment Council recommended that the right to provide education for three years should be given to Tallinn University Doctoral programme in Journalism & Information and Bachelor´s programme in Healthcare, also to professional HE programme in Theology of the Union of Evangelical Christian and Baptist Churches of Estonia (EEKBL) and Master´s programme in Teacher YTraining of the Estonian Academy of Arts.

The right to provide education for a specified term may be received twice. The result of a third evaluation may be either the right to provide education with an unspecified term or not granting the right.

During the years 2009-2011, all Estonian higher education institutions underwent the so called transitional evaluation and presently only the higher education institutions that have undergone the abovementioned evaluation, have the right to provide higher education in Estonia. The study programmes of the higher education institutions that received the right to provide education for a specified term are presently undergoing re-evaluations.