International Institutional Assessment: KTU Sets Leadership Standard

Important | 2015-04-03

Kaunas University of Technology has significant impact on the development of the region and the State, sets a leadership standard for other institutions, accommodates best laboratories in Lithuania and undertakes world-class research, according to international and Lithuanian experts.

The institutional assessment, which has been initiated by Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science and organised by Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education, resulted in University’s accreditation for 6 years.

The main goal of institutional assessment was to create guidelines for improving University’s activities, to promote the culture of high quality, to inform society on the quality of University’s services and to provide recommendations for further development.

The group of 6 experts, lead by Erich Hoedl, former rector of Graz University of Technology (Austria) and Vice-President of European Academy of Sciences and Arts, participated in numerous meetings and discussions with the University’s community, visited classes and laboratories, administrative buildings and research infrastructure.

The group of experts assessed strategic management, studies and life-long learning, research and art activities, and the impact on the development of the country. The final report carries one main message: KTU could serve as an example for any organisation.

Routine “Health Check”

Head of KTU Strategic Planning and Quality Department Solveiga Buožiūtė says that positive assessment formally means that the University can carry on with its activities.

“Positive assessment for KTU means that we have been accredited for 6 years. The universities, which were assessed negatively, will undergo the procedure after 3 years. The experts have provided insights and recommendations on KTU’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities”, says Buožiūtė.

According to her, this assessment allows us to see what we have achieved in 6 years time.

“I would call this assessment the routine ‘health check’ of the University. KTU community which participated in the assessment procedure had a chance to reflect on their own performance, and at the same time we received a non-biased report from outside and international experts”, says Buožiūtė.

The Head of KTU Strategic Planning and Quality Department emphasises the overall positivity of the assessment report.

“The fields identified by experts as needing attention are already being developed by us as separate projects or named as priorities. It is good to see that expert opinion concurs with the University’s strategy for future. That means that we are moving into the right direction”, says Buožiūtė.

The Renewal Programme Made the Difference

According to the experts KTU can offer many good practice examples in all the fields that have been assessed.

For example, the strategic management of the University was recognised as an example of acting leadership: leadership at KTU is supported strongly by the strong management team, which has clearly defined goals and strategic direction.

Property managing strategy, which is aimed at new teaching methods is another good practice example mentioned by the experts. KTU was the first among Lithuanian institutions of higher education to apply for new regulations allowing to sell unused buildings and to invest the funds into the University’s expansion.

The Renewal Programme was mentioned as one of the most important catalysts of the University’s development. Thanks to the changes implemented through the programme KTU became open and receptive to external demands, and the partnership between studies and research became stronger and more active.

Although KTU has faced big challenges due to the declining number of secondary school graduates in Lithuania, the number of new students entering the University increased. The experts were impressed by the fact that the students at KTU have an actual power – their opinion counts and their representatives acting on various levels are being supported by the management. That is the main reason why both students and alumni are proud of their University.

Best in Lithuania KTU Santaka Valley Research Facilities

While assessing studies and life-learning at KTU the experts were impressed by the quality of services provided for the students.

According to the report, administrative and technical support, and services providing system is highly organised and the professional help is much valued by the students. Among the distinctive qualities of the University is the unique mentorship system and strict requirements for PhD study programmes.

The University was also appraised for its research and art output. The number of world-class research projects, strategic priorities and investment goals, and the ability to attract globally acclaimed academics and research personalities is putting the University in the highest rank.

Research facilities and laboratory equipment at KTU Santaka Valley were named as “exceptional” and “possibly the best of what can be found in Lithuania”.

Influencing Progress

External experts have recognised the huge impact of KTU to the development of the Kaunas region and of all the country indeed. The University is seen as a very active institution, which supports ideas, innovations and development leading to high achievements.

KTU is very important for Kaunas and is the main provider of highly qualified work force in technology field. Moreover, its influence is defined by the wide range of activities.

“Partnership with employers – business and industry enterprises – is really impressive and makes significant impact on employability, studies and economy. Start-Up companies and business incubators are of major importance while developing small and medium enterprises in the country”, states the report.