Quality and Recognition
Principles of Quality Assurance
Quality assurance system of the University includes consistent internal and external quality assessment of studies, research, art activities and quality improvement based on assessment results. Quality assurance is carried out according to the University, national and international priorities of studies, research and art activities as well as to the feedback and suggestions of stakeholders, recommendations of external experts and examples of good practice.
Quality assurance system of the University is focused on the development of quality culture, when compliance with the highest quality standards is a common interest and aspiration of the entire VMU community; monitoring of activities is performed constantly, information on study, research and art activities is analyzed, and changes are designed responsibly. The development of quality assurance system is based on the principles of openness, collegiality, academic ethics, personal responsibility, comprehensiveness, representativeness and publicity.
Quality assurance system of the University is regulated by the Quality Manual. In 2020-2021 VMU Quality and Environmental Manual (2013) is being updated, reviewing its links with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area and other international as well as national higher education documents.
International Recognition and Institutional Assessment
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings
Vytautas Magnus University continues to improve its positions in international ranking categories. For the first time this year, Vytautas Magnus University was included in the global university ranking of the magazine “Times Higher Education” (THE) – the world’s largest university ranking, which annually evaluates over 1.5 thousand of the best higher education institutions around the world. In the category of international perspective, VMU is ranked 311th globally considering the University’s achievements in the field of internationality. In the category of international perspective, VMU was scored as many as 68.7 points and was awarded 311th place. This rating is significantly higher than the world average (42.3 points). Having received high marks for its studies in pedagogy, life sciences, and social sciences, Vytautas Magnus University was also included in the competitive list.
Global Ranking of Innovative Universities “The World’s Universities with Real Impact” (WURI)
For the first time, Vytautas Magnus University was included in the global ranking of innovative universities “The World’s Universities with Real Impact” (WURI). The University was awarded a high 41 place in the entrepreneurship category. It is the first global ranking of universities to be designed to support and measure flexible, innovative efforts of universities to meet the needs of industry and society. The WURI ranking evaluates the best universities in four categories: industrial application, entrepreneurial spirit, ethical value, and student mobility and openness.
The QS World University Rankings
In the latest QS World University Rankings, VMU improved its position in four out of six categories and was one of the three Baltic universities to rise in the international rankings this year. Internationality remains the top rated VMU indicator. QS gave the University a high 492nd place globally, i.e., 91 place higher than last year in the international staff category. A significant rise was also recorded in the category of international students. In this category, VMU rose through 111 positions to the 560th place. VMU has succeeded in improving evaluations in other areas, both in terms of employers’ assessments of university graduates’ potential (employers’ reputation) and researchers’ opinions on the research level (academic reputation). In both categories, the University has been given a 501th+ place. In the international ranking of emerging European and Central Asian universities, Vytautas Magnus University has been given 65th place among 400 higher education institutions by QS EECA University Rankings. The University has been ranked among the 17% best in the region. VMU showed the best results in the category evaluating the number of foreign lecturers where the University took a high 47th place. This year, VMU has improved its positions in four more ranking categories, namely, academic reputation (61st place), employer reputation (65th place), international research network development (67th place) and foreign students (87th place).
U-Multirank International University Ranking
According to the U-Multirank International University Rankings 2020, as in the previous year, VMU excelled in 7 categories, four of which confirmed its leading positions: interdisciplinary publications, artistic production, student mobility, and joint regional publications. In the other three categories (scientific publications, alumni’s business start-ups, and the ratio of international academic staff), the University’s performance has improved significantly compared to previous years. It is also noted that this year the University was recognized as the best among all Lithuanian higher education institutions in the fields of scientificity, internationality, regional involvement, and ongoing master’s studies, and in the overall ranking in 2020, it took the first place.
Rating of Lithuanian universities in the magazine “Reitingai”
In the ranking of study fields of Lithuanian universities, published by the magazine “Reitingai”, Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) was awarded the first place in the country in as many as 14 study fields – in one field more than last year. The third or higher place for VMU is allocated to a total of 60 study fields. Regarding its undergraduate studies, VMU was at the top of the ranking in seven fields: IT, marketing, ecology, environmental science, accounting, forestry, theology (religion studies), and agriculture and agronomy. Regarding its Master’s degree studies, the University has also been rated as a country leader in seven areas: anthropology, environmental science, ecology, history and theory of arts, agronomy, food studies, forestry, and theology (religion studies). In almost all fields of studies, the programs of which are implemented at VMU, the magazine “Reitingai” awarded the University the third or higher place – 27 Bachelor’s and 33 Master’s degrees.
Evaluation of VMU activities by experts of the European University Association (EUA)
In 2014 VMU’s activities were evaluated by an international group of experts of the European University Association (EUA). EUA experts praised VMU’s vision of the University of the Liberal Arts, student and staff mobility and decision-making culture.
Evaluation of VMU activities by experts of the Center for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (SKVC)
In 2014 a group of international experts formed by the Center for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (SKVC) highly evaluated the activities performed by VMU and accredited it for the maximum period. Like the EUA experts, the SKVC experts paid special attention to the unique and consistent mission of the University of the Liberal Arts. Taking into account the recommendations provided by experts, a plan for improving VMU’s activities has been prepared.
Study Quality Assurance
Regulation of internal study quality assurance
Statute of VMU describes the main principles of study quality in order to systematically assure the quality of studies.
VMU Study Regulations defines study quality processes and the division of responsibilities for study quality assurance.
Description of Procedure for Study Quality Assurance at VMU describes in detail the study quality assurance processes and measures for the planning, implementation and renewal of studies.
Description of Procedure of Feedback for Improvement of Quality of Studies at VMU regulates the process of collecting feedback from social stakeholders and using data for the purposes of evaluating and improving the quality of studies.
Description of Procedure for Study Course Attestation at VMU determines the evaluation of the compliance of the courses with the goals and learning outcomes of the study program, the requirements of study process and the assessment system according to the established criteria.
Study Quality Surveys
The following university study quality surveys are conducted at VMU for internal evaluation:
- Survey of students on the quality of teaching and learning in study courses of each semester;
- First-year student survey on the reasons and expectations for choosing studies, their opinion about studies, student employment;
- Survey of graduating students on the quality of study programs, internships, the processes of preparation and defense of final theses at the University and the career plans of graduates;
- Survey of students who have terminated their studies on the reasons of dropout;
- Studies form the point of view of alumni, assessing the quality of studies and personal input to the results;
- Student survey on the quality of internships;
- Student survey on the quality of the study program;
- University survey for teachers on teaching and professional development, student involvement in studies, working conditions for teaching at the University.
The administration of the University and its departments, teachers and students also conduct other study quality surveys regarding their study needs.
Study Quality Improvement
The results of surveys conducted by the University and information gathered from other sources are used to improve the quality of studies. Discussions on the results of the feedback are held with the students and teachers at the University, they are also discussed at the rectorate, faculty, academy, and other meetings, and are made public by means of different ways of information dissemination. The heads of the departments use the results of the surveys to make decisions on the planning and implementation of activities. The information of the internal study quality assessment is useful for the study program committees when planning the improvement of the study programs. The feedback is relevant for teachers and students to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
To ensure systematic improvement of the quality of studies, study program improvement plans are prepared, and their implementation is monitored. The study program committees annually identify the areas of study programs to be improved, suggest improvement actions, link them with the results of external study evaluation and survey results, allocate responsibilities and time resources, evaluate the implementation of previously planned improvement actions. These steps guide to purposeful planning, implementation, and improvement of study activities.
Monitoring of study quality improvement is also performed by the faculties, academy councils and VMU Study Quality Unit. The councils consider the issues of study fields and make decisions on the improvement of the fields under their responsibility. The Study Quality Unit provides insights and recommendations for improving the quality of study programs and fields.
Study Field External Evaluation
External evaluation of study fields is meant to support higher education institutions to carry out study quality processes more effectively and improve studies, and it is carried out in accordance with the Order No. V-835 “On Approval of the Description of the Procedure for External Assessment and Accreditation of Studies, Areas of Assessment and Indicators” approved by the Lithuanian Republic Minister of Education, Science and Sports on 17 July 2019.
The quality of study fields is evaluated by points (5-point evaluation system) according to 7 evaluation areas: study objectives, outcomes and content; links between science (art) and study activities; student admission and support; studying, academic achievements and graduate employment; teaching staff; study facilities and learning resources; study quality management and publicity.
Currently, all the study fields and their study programs of VMU are accredited until the next evaluation of the study fields according to The Plan for External Study Field Evaluation approved by the Director of the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education, Order No. V-149, 31 December 2019.