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Five of BIG's programmes reviewed

A number of recommendations but no required measures or further review. This is the suggestion from the group that reviewed five of BIG's programmes.

The review is part of the university's system for quality assurance. The biology programmes examined in this round are all three Bachelor's programmes (Biology, Marine Biology and Molecular Biology) and two of the Master's programmes (Microbiology and Molecular Life Sciences). In November, BIG submitted self evaluation reports for the programs.

The self evaluation reports have now been reviewed by a group of members appointed by the Board of Science and the Student Union. The group included professors Mattias Edén (Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry) and Annemarie Luger (Department of Mathematics), senior lecturer Qiong Zhang (Department of Physical Geography) and student representative Laya Gohari. Annemarie Luger has been chairman of the group.

Magnifying glas focused on "Bachelor's programmes"
Photo: Margareta Ohné

What do the reviewers think?

The group has chosen to write a single report on all five programmes, alternating in Swedish and English. The report contains a number of assessments and recommendations, however, no necessary measures are proposed and no in-depth review, i.e., there is no serious criticism of the educations.
The group's summary assessment is that there are common strengths for all the areas of study examined: "strong and clear research connection, strong connection between theory and practice and very good student administration".

It is further stated that “the flexibility of the educations is considered a strength, but also entails certain difficulties in assessing whether it can be guaranteed that all degree objectives can be met by all students. The latter applies to the Master's programmes, and to some extent study path 2 of the Bachelor's programme in Biology ”.

The group's recommendations concern, among other things, the degree of progression in various programmes, the forms for assessment of independent work, follow-up and evaluation of entire programmes and the gender distribution of the teaching staff.


Some voices on the report

Björn Birgersson is chairman of the programme councils for the three Bachelor's programmes, while Ann-Beth Jonsson and Uli Theopold are programme directors for the Master's programme in Microbiology and Molecular Life Sciences, respectively. All three have worked with the self evaluation reports and have now also read the review group's report.

Ann-Beth says that “the report we submitted for the Master's programmes addressed many positive aspects of the programs, but also most of the weaknesses and pointed to opportunities for improvement. It was nice to see that the review team agreed with what we wrote”. Björn agrees: "It can be said that the review report confirms many of the areas of development and improvement that were highlighted in the education report, which is good and gives us increased motivation to prioritize these areas".

Uli agrees, but at the same time emphasizes that he does not agree with the review group when it comes to criticism of the large optional space in the programmes. He has some understanding for the group's view that it would be easier to ensure that all students meet the degree objectives if there were more compulsory courses. But he also knows that many students really appreciate the breadth and the great freedom of choice.

As for the design of the report, Björn says that he does not think it was so successful that the group chose to write a joint report for all five educations. In addition, he had wanted "clearer recommendations, now you can interpret these as a mixture of sharp recommendations, suggestions, advice and tips".


What happens now?

The next step in the process is for the Board of Science to decide on what measures are to be taken in connection with the review. The board has an action group that prepares the issue and submits proposals for decisions, based on the self evaluation reports as well as the review report. Ann-Beth says that "it will be interesting to see what happens in the future and it is always fun to improve courses and programmes".