|Street name:||Franz-Klein-Gasse 5|
|Postal code and City:||1190 Vienna|
|Phone/Fax:||+43/1/532 02 20-00|
|Contact person:||Dr. Maria E. Weber|
|Function of contact person:||Head of Accreditation Department / International Relations|
|Founding year:||2012 (previously: ÖAR, FHR, AQA)|
||legal entity governed by public law|
|International links and membership:||ENQA; EQAR; EUA, EURASHE, INQAAHE|
According to section 4 HS-QSG as amended, the bodies of AQ Austria include the Governing Committee, the Board, General Meeting, and the Appeals Committee. The secretariat of AQ Austria is led by the managing director, who handles the day-to-day operations of the agency.The secretariat, based on the broad legal mandate of the agency is subdivided into four departments, each of which is led by a department manager. Currently 33 staff (approx. 29FTE) are employed. The employees have qualifications and work experience in teaching, research, university management, and quality assurance.
AQ Austria is a quality assurance agency that is recognized in Austria as well as internationally and operates in several countries. It is based on the values public responsibility for quality in higher education, securing academic freedom, autonomy of higher education institutions and scientific integrity. It supports the higher education institutions in continuous quality enhancement and, thanks to their expertise, provides impulses for the further development of the higher education system. It also contributes to providing transparent information about the quality of higher education institutions in their service areas. The following principles apply to the activities of AQ Austria:
- AQ Austria is independent in its activities and free of instructions. Decisions in quality assurance procedures are made solely on quality grounds.
- The quality assurance procedures are based on international standards of good practice, in particular the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
- The quality standards of AQ Austria are suitable for covering different university profiles.
- Universities bear the primary responsibility for quality in all their areas of work, quality assurance and development.
- AQ Austria understands its quality assurance procedures as a supplement to internal quality assurance and development.
- The work of the Agency in general, the procedural rules and standards or criteria in particular, will be further developed in an experiential, continuous internal learning process in collaboration with universities and other stakeholders.
According to section 3 para. 3 of the Act on Quality Assurance in Higher Education (HS-QSG) as amended, AQ Austria is responsible in particular for the following tasks in the area of external quality assurance:
- developing and carrying out external quality assurance procedures, as a minimum, audit and accreditation procedures, according to national and international standards;
- accrediting HEIs and degree programmes;
- continuously supervising accredited HEIs and degree programmes regarding accreditation requirements;
- reporting to the National Council and publishing reports on the outcomes of the quality assurance procedures;
- fulfilling the tasks according to the statutory provisions of the University of Applied Sciences Studies Act (FHStG) and the Private Universities Studies Act (PUG);
- issuing certificates for educational institutions upon an audit;
- conducting studies and system analyses, performing reviews, and carrying out projects;
- providing information and advice in matters related to quality assurance and quality improvement;
- notification of foreign degree programmes;
- international co-operation in the field of quality assurance.