Quality Assurance

General Information

According to the Higher Education Act, a higher education institution is obliged to introduce and maintain a system for ensuring and internally assessing the quality of its teaching, publishing, creative and related activities and the performance of its regular assessment. The mission of Palacký University Olomouc is to foster critical and creative thinking and knowledge production, provide quality higher education in a wide range of natural, medical, social and human sciences at the bachelor, master and doctoral level and support high-quality scholarly activities with the involvement of students in all areas of research. The university’s active partnership with the regional and global community contributes to the development of society’s intellectual wealth and to its sustainable scientific, technical, cultural and social advancement.

In the areas of quality assurance and assessment, the university respects the context and specificity of its individual faculties, as well as the specifics of the individual fields or programmes. Another core principle of quality assurance and assessment is the involvement of the academic community, graduates, employers and other bodies relevant to quality assessment. Quality assessment is based on an objective, factual, professional and ethical evaluation of verified data rooted in its context. Care is taken to publish relevant information related to quality assurance. When collecting data for the quantitative part of the evaluation, all the available information systems of the university are involved so as to minimise the administrative burden on individual employees, especially scholars and researchers, allowing them to use their time effectively for the main activities of the university.

The university’s tradition of success, dating back to 1573 as well as its mission, serve to motivate the entire academic community to maintain and constantly strive to increase the quality of all their activities and the institution as a whole. Further development of the university is supported on all levels, in accordance with the European view of the university as a provider of quality education and creative activities. The major areas of development consist of linking theory with practice, the advancement and further deepening of existing knowledge and quality teaching which seeks to expand and cultivate the expertise of students not only for their future employment, but also to prepare them for life in a dynamic and developing society.

Our System of Quality Assessment and Assurance

Our system of quality assurance and internal assessment is set up in accordance with Act No. 111/1998 Coll., On Higher Education Institutions and on Amendments and Supplements to Some Other Acts (The Higher Education Act), as amended, and the relevant Government Regulation No. 274/2016 Coll., On Standards in Higher Education. The entire system, including the method for taking corrective measures and the form of subsequently monitoring their fulfilment is defined by an internal regulation of the Rules for the System of Evaluating Teaching, Publishing, Creative and Related Activities at Palacký University Olomouc and its associated internal regulations. Assurance and internal assessment of the quality of all areas of the university’s activities are based on proven practices. They respect the current state of the university and simultaneously reflect the strategic goals of its management stated in the Strategic Plan for Palacký University Olomouc, its internationalisation strategy and other strategic documents.

The comprehensive results of the university’s quality evaluation are published in the Report on the UP Internal Evaluation of Teaching, Publishing, Creative and Related Activities at UP which is publicly available on the university’s website, including its appendix which lists the quality indicators established by the internal regulations. Each year, as part of internal evaluation and quality assurance, one of the segments of the university undergoes a comprehensive evaluation of all the activities carried out within it. The evaluation is performed in accordance with the rules defined by the UP internal regulation from the Vice-Rector for Strategic Planning and Quality, a group of experts from the UP Rectorate and an external expert selected based on which faculty is to be assessed.

The system of internal assessment and quality assurance pays special attention to the academic and scientific staff, whose activities are crucial for the university’s quality in the fields of education and knowledge production. The Information System for Academic Staff Performance Evaluation (IS HAP) was (and is continually being) developed to oversee the quality of these human resources. IS HAP makes use of information from the university’s information systems and other relevant external information sources. Information about the activities and the outcomes achieved by the academic/researcher are evaluated with a sophisticated mathematical model, which provides outputs in an accessible visual and verbal form. The parameters of the evaluation model, set using the results of the analysis of recorded data, allow for the evaluation of educational and creative activities that respect the specifics of the scholarly disciplines and study programmes of the individual faculties. IS HAP provides the evaluated employees with an opportunity to inform the department heads about their upcoming plans and other facts relevant to their evaluation. IS HAP also records the final qualitative evaluation of the department head which may include specific tasks for the upcoming period. The data from IS HAP is used to create clear managerial summaries about the educational and creative activities of the faculties.

Each semester, students are given the opportunity to evaluate their completed courses. While a unified evaluation form is used throughout UP, the faculty/department may add their own specific questions. The employees are also asked to fill out surveys focusing on certain aspects of their job satisfaction. The results of this feedback are discussed at the Rector’s Board and passed on to the deans of the individual faculties or the directors of university facilities who process them further.

Feedback on the quality of the functioning of UP also comes from other selected groups of respondents, such as subjects who collaborate with the university and contractors working in UP's academic bodies. The goal of the surveys is to determine how these groups of respondents perceive the level of cooperation. Individual faculties or university facilities then conduct surveys among their graduates and, if necessary, carry out evaluations of the services they provide in order to improve and expand them. The analysis of key data series, processed by the Strategy and Quality Control Office, available on their website, also provides additional information support for the university’s quality assurance.

The entire system of internal quality assurance and evaluation is a constantly evolving tool allowing for the regular monitoring and supervision of ongoing activities while taking into account the specifics of the individual faculties and study programmes.

Educational Activity

The minimum requirements for the quality of educational activities are specified in the Higher Education Act and its implementation regulations, as well as the Rector’s regulations Accreditation of Study Programmes, Granting Permission to Realise Study Programmes and the Procedure to Grant Associate Professorships and the Procedure to Nominate a ProfessorStandards for Institutional Accreditation and Standards of Study Programmes at UP and Programme Guarantor at Palacký University Olomouc. The course of the admission procedure and study is regulated by the Admission Procedure Code of UP and the Study and Examination Code of UP. The conditions for obtaining higher academic degrees are regulated by the Code of Procedures to Grant Associate and Full Professorships at UP.

In order to ensure and improve the quality of its educational activities, the university focuses on obtaining feedback from the performance of educational activities: evaluations by students, graduates and employers. The process also includes observing the changes in the levels of interest in studying, the results of the admission procedures, study successes (and failures) and the employment of graduates. These tools are applied at several levels of regular evaluation: course, study programme, individual departments of the faculty, the faculty and the university as a whole. Assessment is carried out for all types and forms of study, including lifelong education, where it is primarily carried out in the form of student and graduate evaluations.

Creative Activity

Each academic/researcher is responsible for the quality of his or her creative activity. The evaluation model used in IS HAP also takes into account creative activity as an indispensable part of the work activities of university employees; the demands on the outputs of creative activity increase with the academic position (this takes into consideration the focus of the faculty at which a given employee works). When calculating the evaluation of a creative activity in IS HAP, a significant emphasis is placed on the excellence of the achieved outcome – including the bibliometric outcomes of basic research, the outcomes of applied research, commissioned research, managed projects or outputs of artistic activity registered in the Register of Art Output (RUV).

Faculties and other sections of the university that perform creative activities have defined internal rules for evaluating the creative (research) activities of their departments, which they take into consideration when allocating funds to these departments. Palacký University, in cooperation with other research universities, has developed a general policy for the internal evaluation of research activities within the departments and other sections of the university, and is currently working on its implementation.

A major emphasis is placed at the university on the involvement of students, especially doctoral students, in research. One of the tools to support students’ creative activity is the Internal Grant Competition (IGA). Noteworthy student projects can receive support in the form of a grant from the UP Endowment Fund. There has been the UP Junior Grant competition as of 2018, the aim of which is to support excellent research by young academics and researchers under 37 with foreign experience from postdoctoral internships, helping them establish new scientific groups and laboratories and develop independent scientific programmes.

Related Activities

Other activities, such as university administration, library services, consulting services, support infrastructure or information systems, have a significant impact on the quality of the university’s educational and creative activities. As such, their regular evaluation is an integral part of Palacký University Olomouc’s quality assurance and internal assessment system. The evaluation of these activities takes place using various tools, such as feedback received from users of the services, annual reports on the activities of the section or analysis of relevant data.

Organisational and Personnel Support

Quality assurance and evaluation within the framework of internal assessment is primarily performed by employees of faculties and other segments of the university; methodological guidance and support is provided by the relevant departments of the Rector’s Office.

The guarantor of the quality assurance and evaluation system is the Internal Assessment Board comprised of prominent academic staff members and student representatives from all faculties of the university. The Internal Assessment Board oversees and assesses whether the university’s requirements for quality of teaching in its educational programmes are being met. It also deals with accreditations and prepares and approves the rules of the system of quality assurance and internal assessment which are in accordance with the different fields and scholarly disciplines. It approves the associated methodological materials and focuses on further improving the quality assurance and internal quality assessment system of Palacký University Olomouc. Its activities are defined by the Higher Education Act, the Palacký University Olomouc Constitution and the Rules of Procedure of the Internal Assessment Board. The outcomes of its regular activities are published on the university’s website in the form of meeting minutes. The Scholarly Board deals with the further development and evaluation of the quality of the university’s creative activities. The Board of Trustees also responds to the results of the evaluation of UP’s activities, especially those pertaining to the university’s financial management and related activities, and discussions concerning the long-term plans or annual reports. All key documents related to the assurance and internal assessment of the university’s quality are discussed by the Internal Assessment Board and the Academic Senate.

The coordinator in the field of quality assurance and internal assessment is the Vice-Rector for Strategic Planning and Quality. Support for quality management at UP and the work of the UP Internal Evaluation Council is provided by the UP Quality Committee, headed by the Vice-Rector for Strategic Planning and Quality, which is composed of representatives from the management of all faculties. The UP Strategic Planning and Quality Division and the relevant departments of the Rector’s Office, which cooperate with the relevant departments of the faculties and other sections of the university, provide methodological support.

All UP employees are regularly informed about measures related to the quality assurance and assessment system via a quarterly newsletter from the UP Strategic Planning and Quality Division, accessible online. This ensures that employees are informed up to the level of individual departments.

The Programme Guarantor (or the Subject-area Guarantor) has an irreplaceable role in the system of quality assurance and internal assessment. This academic staff member is responsible for the content and methodological quality of the guaranteed study programme and the proper implementation of teaching in accordance with valid accreditation. They report to their department head, their dean and the university itself, represented by the Internal Assessment Board.

External Quality Assessment

According to the Higher Education Act, external evaluations of educational, creative and related activities of the university may be performed by the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education or another similar institution of reputable status.

The results of international rankings and awards for quality obtained by the university are also considered external quality evaluations.

Outputs of External Quality Assessments

External evaluation

Evaluation of Research Organisations in the University Segment

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports authorised higher education institutions with securing the organisational implementation of evaluation in the year 2020, in accordance with Methodology for Evaluation of Research Organisations in the University Segment, which was approved by the Government of Czech Republic resolution No. 563 of July 30 2019. Higher education institutions were evaluated by the international evaluation panel.

External evaluation from the European University Association (EUA)

In late 2017 and early 2018, Palacký University Olomouc underwent an external evaluation from the European University Association. As part of this evaluation, the university prepared a self-evaluation report which included a number of appendices, such as the most important internal regulations and other documents.

The evaluation focused on science and research.

The regulations and standards, which the self-evaluation report refers to, can be found on the official notice board or the UP website and are therefore not attached here.

Information system for academic staff performance evaluation (IS HAP)

The IS HAP is a tool for the human resources quality management at universities.

In the IS HAP, the performance of each member of academic staff is evaluated in both pedagogical and creative (Research and Development) areas. Input data are acquired by a web form which is filled by the data from various part of the university information system and other sources, and subsequently supplemented by the data provided directly by the academic staff members. 

Each activity is assigned a score according to its importance and/or time-consumption. Both pedagogical and creative areas are assigned standard scores – different for senior assistant professors, associate professors, and professors. For better clarity and easier interpretation, the partial evaluations in both areas are available in graphical and verbal form with the use of linguistic fuzzy scale. A linguistic fuzzy expert system is then used to aggregate the partial evaluations in the pedagogical and creative areas. This type of aggregation is transparent and comprehensible even to a layman as it is described verbally (If-then rules are used). The overall aggregated evaluation is also available in graphical and verbal form. The evaluation model of IS HAP also takes into account the load of managerial activities with each member of academic staff. This way the overall work load of members of academic staff can be calculated and presented in graphical and verbal form.

Based on the experience and positive results achieved at the Faculty of Science of Palacký University Olomouc, the pilot testing of IS HAP has been incorporated into the Individual National Project “Maintaining and assessing quality in tertiary education”.

IS HAP is currently being used at Palacký University Olomouc and five other Czech universities:

  • University of Defence in Brno
  • University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice
  • University of West Bohemia in Plzeň
  • Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem
  • Tomas Bata University in Zlín

The intention to create a mathematical model for academic staff performance assessment was formulated at Palacký University Olomouc as early as 2006. Since then various academic staff evaluation models currently used on universities both in the Czech Republic and abroad were examined.

These models were subjected to a detailed analysis regarding their practical and mathematical aspects. The analysis resulted in the design of several academic staff evaluation models, differing in how members of academic staff are evaluated in separate areas of their activity and in the aggregation method for these partial evaluations (weighted average, OWA, WOWA). The final model implemented in IS HAP relies on a fuzzy expert system for the aggregation of partial evaluations.

General requirements on the model were as follows: It should (1) include, if possible, every aspect of academic staff activity; (2) use only easy to verify and objective data; and (3) be easy to work with. Other requirements were for the final evaluation: (4) to maximally reflect staff benefit to the university; and (5) not to be a simple average of partial evaluations in separate areas of activity, but to be able to flexibly respond to management needs. The desired output of the model was not to arrange members of academic staff in order of their performance, nor to obtain a single crisp number interpretable only with difficulty. A basic piece of information on both focus and performance of the academic staff was considered sufficient. Such assignment implied the use of linguistic fuzzy modelling – linguistic variables, rule bases, and approximate reasoning (i.e. of fuzzy expert systems).

In the model, the performance of each member of academic staff is evaluated in both pedagogical, and research and development (R&D) areas of activities. Input data are imported from various components of the university information system and other sources into a web-based form, which is subsequently completed by the staff members by pieces of information which are not available in the university information system (yet are still relevant for the evaluation purposes). Each item in the questionnaire (an activity or the output of a staff activity) is assigned a score according to its importance or time-consumption. Three areas are taken into consideration for pedagogical performance evaluation: (a) lecturing, (b) supervising students, and (c) work associated with the development of study programs. The evaluation of research and development activities is based on a methodology, which puts emphasis mainly on papers published in journals indexed in respected databases (WoS, Scopus), and on patents in the applied research area. Other important activities (grant project management, contract research, editorial board memberships, promotion of the field of science etc.) are also reflected in the process of R&D performance evaluation. Both pedagogical and R&D areas are assigned a standard score – different for assistants, senior assistant professors, associate professors, and professors. The number representing a partial evaluation of a member of academic staff in a certain area is determined as a multiple of the respective standard for his or her position. For better clarity and easier interpretation, these numbers are transformed into verbal evaluation using linguistic scales and are presented in graphical and verbal form.

A linguistic fuzzy expert system is therefore used to aggregate both partial evaluations – for pedagogical and R&D areas of activities. The main advantage of this type of aggregation is that it allows to set-up the shape of the aggregation function completely in line with the evaluator’s requirements (e.g. to appreciate excellence achieved in one of the areas). This type of aggregation is transparent and comprehensible even to laymen as it is described in linguistic terms (using linguistic rules). The overall aggregated evaluation is also available as a linguistic expression.

The model also takes into account the load of secretarial and managerial activities with each member of academic staff (understood here as activities draining away from his or her time and thus possibly reducing the performance in each of the two areas of evaluation mentioned above). Another fuzzy expert system is therefore used to adjust the evaluation according to the managerial activities load of the particular academic staff member. The overall work load of members of academic staff is thus described in words.

After its pilot testing on one department in 2009, the described model was presented to the academic senate of the Faculty of Science, which accepted it well. An extensive pilot testing on 14 departments followed in 2010. The results of the pilot testing confirmed that the model meets all the requirements. It was therefore decided to implement the designed methodology of evaluation into an information system for academic staff performance evaluation (IS HAP). Since 2012 IS HAP has become the annual performance evaluation tool for academic staff members of the Faculty of Science of Palacký University Olomouc. In 2016 it has been decided that IS HAP will be used at the whole Palacký University.

IS HAP is a product of an interdisciplinary cooperation (mathematicians, computer scientists, a psychologist, a HR practitioner, and the management of the Faculty of Science participated during the development of the first version of the tool; the management of other faculties and the university as a whole was subsequently also involved in further developments). This makes it a tool reflecting the needs of correctness and soundness of the used mathematical methods, but also the needs of easy interpretability and comprehensiveness. This way IS HAP is an effective support tool for human resource management.

Based on the experience and positive results achieved at the Faculty of Science of Palacký University Olomouc, the pilot testing of IS HAP has been incorporated into the Individual National Project “Maintaining and assessing quality in tertiary education” in 2012-2013.

IS HAP is currently being used at Palacký University Olomouc and five other Czech universities – University of Defence in Brno, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, University of West Bohemia in Plzeň, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem and Tomas Bata University in Zlín.

Characteristics of IS HAP

The IS HAP is a web based application, which is accessible through Internet. Each of members of the academic staff fills in a form summarizing his or her activities in the last year. The form was implemented so that it would be as easy to fill it in as possible. All items of the form are divided into categories (pedagogical activities, research and development activities, managerial activities) and subcategories. A brief help for any of the items is also available.


A part of the form filled in by each staff member.

One of the requirements on the software implementation was that it must be easy to integrate with external databases and other information systems. IS HAP has a build-in support for several information systems used on the Czech universities. However, IS HAP was always designed in a way so that it would be easy to load data from any other source. It provides a simple and well-documented API (Application programming interface) for this purpose. By consuming the API, the university can load any available data from its information systems into the forms for each of the academic staff members in the IS HAP. Furthermore, IS HAP has very powerful functions for import data from Excel. Overall, IS HAP makes it easy to load most of the information on the academic staff members’ activities and results automatically. The rest of them, which is not possible to obtain automatically, can be filled in by the academic staff members manually into their forms.

Each of the academic staff members can see his or her own evaluation before the form is sent. They have also access to this form later, so the data once filled in can be used later e.g. for purposes of writing a professional CV.


Evaluation of a particular staff member.

After the form is filled in, the head of the respective department and the dean can see the overview of the resulting evaluations of his/her subordinate academic staff members. Even though the mathematical apparatus used to calculate the evaluations is sophisticated, the results are presented in way comprehendible even to a layman, i.e. verbally and graphically (each of the performance classes is represented by a different colour). This was enabled by the use of linguistic fuzzy modelling and fuzzy classification. All the filled in forms are also available to the heads of departments (can access the forms of the academic staff members of his/her department) and to the dean (can access the forms of all academic staff members of the faculty). All these features make the resulting evaluations very easy to interpret and compare.


Evaluation overview for more academic staff members.

The head of the department is provided with the following data about members of his or her department: (1) the name of the academic staff member and his or her position, (2) evaluation of the pedagogical activities including the information on the type of the activities for which it was acquired, (3) evaluation of the research and development, which is again supplemented by an additional information on type of activities, (4) the overall evaluation in the areas of pedagogical activities and R&D, (5) the list of managerial and secretarial functions, (6) the final evaluation of pedagogical activities and R&D which also takes into the account the working time drained by the previously mentioned functions. Besides the table summarizing the results of the evaluation, the heads of the departments can view the complete forms of the members of their departments and see all of their activities. In the form, the academic staff members also specify their plans in pedagogical area and R&D for the next evaluation period.

The evaluations calculated by the IS HAP are then used by the heads of the departments in the interviews with their subordinates. The final qualitative evaluations of academic staff members by the head of the respective department can be stored in the IS HAP.

Finally, tools for statistical analysis of the stored data (scoped by the faculty or department) are also provided by the IS HAP.

IS HAP represents a unique software tool. It is easy to use for both academic staff members and their superordinates. The sophisticated mathematical background provides evaluations highly-valued for the HR management, which are presented in a well-arranged and comprehensible way.

References

Awards for Quality

The National Award of the Czech Republic for Social Responsibility

Palacký University Olomouc received the National Award of the Czech Republic for Social Responsibility in the category Public Sector – Large and Medium-Sized Organisations in 2019.

The award is granted by the Czech Board of Quality, which falls under the authority of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

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Excellence in Internationalisation

Palacký University Olomouc received the prestigious European Association for International Education (EAIE) Award in 2019.

The European Association for International Education is an organisation focused on the development of internationalisation in European higher education.
EAIE is a European leader in the internationalisation of higher education and, each year, the association selects one European university with the best internationalisation strategy and results for the award.

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ČSN ISO 9001 Certification

The Centre for Lifelong Education at the UP Faculty of Education received the international quality certificate ISO 9001.
The Centre of Lifelong Education at the UP Faculty of Education first received certification according to the ČSN EN ISO 9001: 2009 standard in 2013 as part of a certification audit.
Its quality management system received certification according to the ČSN EN ISO 9001: 2016 standard in 2018.

The subjects of this certification are:

  • education
  • providing education (educational programmes, courses, retraining, workshops, seminars, e-learning)
  • consulting

The certification was obtained following an audit from the prestigious certification body TÜV SÜD Czech s.r.o., which is part of the international TÜV SÜD Group. This organisation is a global leader in inspection, certification and testing of systems, processes, products and services.

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AMSE Accreditation

The UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry underwent an in-depth external evaluation in 2019 and received accreditation from the Association of Medical Schools in Europe (AMSE), which affirmed the high quality of medical studies at UP. The faculty was the first in the Czech Republic to receive this accreditation as well as one of the first in all of Europe.

The AMSE accreditation guarantees the quality of education to applicants for medical studies as well as to their future employers such as hospitals and medical facilities. A diploma from an AMSE-accredited school will be highly regarded and sought out throughout the EU, meaning that students from accredited schools can find better jobs on the European labour market.

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European Language Label (ELL)

The international project Healthcare English Language Program (HELP), in which the UP Faculty of Health Sciences actively participated as a member of a consortium of seven countries, won the European Commission’s prestigious European Language Label (ELL) award in 2017.

The European Language Label competition is coordinated by the European Commission and can be organised by national agencies from individual EU members. In 2017, the winners were selected by the Irish national agency Léargas for the Erasmus+ programme. The HELP project won the award in the category of creative initiatives that improve teaching provision and learning achievement.

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The Hannah Arendt Award

The UP Faculty of Law won the prestigious Hannah Arendt Award for success in efforts to reform, democratise and adapt to the new needs of civil society in 1996.
This prize was awarded to the faculty by the Viennese Institute for Human Sciences, supported by the Körber Foundation.

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Kurt Schubert Memorial Prize

The Kurt and Ursula Schubert Center for Jewish Studies at the UP Faculty of Arts received the Kurt Schubert Memorial Prize for Interreligious Dialogue in 2019. The prize is awarded by the Austrian Forum on World Religions and this was the first time it was won by laureates from abroad.

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The Union of Interpreters and Translators Award

The Spanish-Czech Dictionary of Americanisms, developed at the UP Faculty of Arts, received a prestigious award from the Union of Interpreters and Translators in 2019.

Awards received for science and research

For awards received for science and research achievements, please visit the UP Science and Research website.