Austria

AQ Austria

Contact Information

Street name: Renngasse 5
Postal code and City: 1010 Wien
Country: Austria
Phone/Fax:  +43/1/532 02 20-0/ +43/1/532 02 20-99
E-mail: office@aq.ac.at
Website: www.aq.ac.at
Contact person: Maria Weber
Function of contact person: Head of accreditation division
Founding date: 2012 (previously: ÖAR, FHR, AQA)

Legal Basis/ Membership

Q: What is the legal basis for your agency (non-profit organization, for-profit organization, foundation, association etc.)?
A: Legal entity under public law, based on a separate legal act on quality assurance.

Q: Who are the members of your agency?
A: N/A

Services Provided

Q: Is evaluation/accreditation by your agency a national requirement? What procedures are mandatory – if any and what are chosen voluntarily/additionally?
A: Accreditation by AQ Austria is mandatory for universities of applied sciences and for private universities. Quality Audits are mandatory for public universities and for universities of applied sciences; they can, however, chose AQ Austria or another internationally recognized quality assurance agency. Some HEI chose voluntary evaluations of departments in addition in order to receive support for structural reforms or reform of the research profile.

Q: Is the agency involved in programme or institutional evaluation/accreditation or both? What are the consequences of evaluation/accreditation outcomes?
A:
Accreditation at programme and at institutional level is mandatory for universities of applied sciences and for private universities. Accreditation is precondition for starting operations as HEI and for starting the programmes. In case of private universities institutional and programme accreditation has to be renewed every six years. Quality Audits at public universities do not have formal consequences. Quality Audits at universities of applied sciences are precondition for sustaining the accreditation status.

Q: Please describe the structure and the activity periods of the decision-making body and state who delegates/appoints its members.
A:
The Board is the central independent decision-making body of AQ Austria. This committee of experts is in particular responsible for all decisions regarding accreditation and certification, procedural guidelines and standards, supervision responsibilities vis-à-vis accredited educational institutions in Austria. Because of the various types of quality assurance processes, the Board possesses regulatory as well as non-regulatory competencies.

As stipulated in the law, the Board is made up of fourteen members, of that:

  • eight members, who are experts from the field of higher education and who must possess academic qualification and experience in the field of quality assurance. The members must represent different sectors of higher education. At least half of them must be foreign members.
  • two members should be student representatives; of the two one from abroad.
  • four members from the professional practical field with expertise in national and international higher education, experience in university-related occupational areas and the ability to judge matters of quality assurance.

The term of office is five years with the possibility of one reappointment.

International

Q: Can HEIs in your country choose international services from EQAR listed agencies?
A: 
Public universities and universities of applied sciences can choose internationally recognized quality assurance agencies (listed in EQAR or otherwise recognized) for quality audits. Accreditation can only be performed by AQ Austria. 

Q: Please mention the international links of your agency and especially list the international organizations your agency is a member in.
A:
AQ Austria is member of (apart from CEENQA): ENQA, INQAAHE, EUA (affiliate), EURASHE. AQ Austria is listed on EQAR, recognized by the German Accreditation Council and by the Kazakh ministry of higher education.