Assessment panels and external experts

The Higher Education Authority’s (UKÄ’s) reviews are based on peer review by an independent external assessment panel.

The assessment panel normally consists of external experts, student representatives and representatives from employers and the labour market. All the assessors have the same formal status and participate on equal terms. UKÄ normally appoints representatives to the assessment panels following a nomination process, in which the HEIs, student unions and professional organisations nominate assessors. In addition to these nominations, UKÄ also uses recommendations from the various networks.

UKÄ appoints the assessors, but it is important for the panels to be appointed in dialogue with the HEIs. As a quality assurance measure, the HEIs have the opportunity to comment on the proposed appointees to the assessment panel, for example, to point out conflicts of interest, before the panel is officially appointed by UKÄ.

Broad and extensive expertise

Gender balance, geographic distribution and national and international experience are preferred among the panel of assessors. Collectively, the panel is to have sufficiently broad and extensive expertise to assess all aspect areas and perspectives based on the assessment criteria. An assessor may not have a conflict of interest with the HEI being assessed. UKÄ has established procedures for dealing with conflicts of interest.

The panel is to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of the experts, students and representatives from employers and the labour market to assess the aspect areas and perspectives that are included in the review. All assessors in a panel will receive the same introduction and training by UKÄ to clarify the assignment and the expectations. The assessor training will also include interview techniques and orientation with the laws, ordinances and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), on which the assessors must base their work. The assessors’ training will also discuss gender equality.

It is important to emphasise that all assessors must support the basis for the review and the report that the panel of assessors ultimately submits to UKÄ.