Evaluation of organizational units

Since 2006 all 15 departments, the "Center for Agricultural Sciences" (CAS) and the research farms also called the "4th location" were evaluated according to the guideline for the Evaluation of Organizational Units acc. to UG 2002 (resolution of the senate and rectorate 29.03.2006). In the course of this procedure a process of systematical self-reflection will be initiated in the organisational units which have to be evaluated and will the reflected with the help of external experts. Development prospects, solutions for problems and potentials will also be shown.

At the beginning of the proceedings the department creates a short review of the key accomplishments of the last five years in the fields of organizational development, research, teaching and learning plus training, human resource management as well as relationships with the company. The short review is based on a questionnaire and a set of data that has been made centrally available. Furthermore specific questions will be developed by the rectorate and the departments, which will meet the needs of the problems of the departments. In addition future perspectives for all the questions will be developed. The Self-Evaluation-Report and further documents (Student Report, Data Extracts, and Expert Opinions) will be submitted to the peers. As part of the three-day-on-site-visit the peers will have talks with the rectorate, the head of the departments, all heads of the working groups as well as representatives of the non-professional teaching staff, postgraduates, students and non-scientific staff.

 To obtain a long-lasting impact with this institutional evaluation, a workshop between peers, representatives of the departments and the Quality Management Unit is conducted as part of the On-Site-Visit. Solutions for specific questions will be developed in this workshop. In a further workshop the head of peers, the rector, the head of the departments and the Quality Management Unit will discuss concrete actions that should be implemented, which will impact the target agreement between rectorate and department and some measure will also influence the development plan. One year after the completion of the procedure the head of the departments will submit a report with the established measures to the head of peers. In the case of the Vienna Institute of Biotechnology (5 departments) and the Agricultural Sciences (3 departments) additional workshops were held to amalgamate the results of the department evaluations, to help improve the coordination and to strengthen the positions of the faculties.

 After the completion of the procedure the peers will be asked for a written feedback on: administration, schedule, report, data, peer-group, evaluation task, site visit & international standards; the results will contribute to the structure of the procedure in the following year after an anonymous evaluation.

The first round of the department evaluation: Analysis of the status quo

BOKU has evaluated all 15 departments from 2006 until 2014 and thus is the first university in Austria, which systematically assessed the whole performance spectrum of their scientific organizational units. After completing the first round of the department evaluation it was agreed with the bm:fwf that this procedure should be carefully assessed, meaning that the results as well as the whole evaluation process should be thoroughly examined and suggestions for a revised guideline should be made. Therefore all the evaluation reports were analysed with the help of external experts and a set of focus group interviews was conducted. The results, which were presented within the conference of the heads of the departments, are briefly described below:

  • The evaluation of the departments significantly contributes to the reflection on how one sees oneself and how others see oneself as well as the identification of development prospective. Regular collegial cooperation in the departments needs to be institutionalized to ensure a systematical reflection and profile development.
  • So far the focus is clearly on the field of research. This should be replaced by a balanced presentation and thematisation of all fields of the departments. All in all the evaluation of departments conceptually reflects a modern spectrum of tasks of the universities, as documented in the Knowledge Triangle.
  • A performance and output oriented quality term predominates.
  • The workload, especially for the preparation of the self-documentation, as well as the amount of data should be reduced. The focus should be more on the analysis; additionally development perspectives should be more enhanced.
  • With the evaluation the departments get a signal, that they are responsible for positive as well as negative results. This emphasizes the autonomy of the evaluated department. Guiding principles are being prepared to reinforce the heads of the departments.
  • At the BOKU a governance model is implemented, which on the one hand integrates hierarchical control mechanisms (the target and performance agreement), on the other hand the departments, for the purpose of cooperative management, are getting involved (development plan, planning of the professorships). Thereby the needs of the researchers and the individual compartments are taken into account.
  • The evaluation of the departments provides valuable information on the strategic orientation and (re)structuring of the departments, for the appointment of professorships, the further development of study programs, the reduction of the scope of teaching and learning, the increase of internal and external cooperation, the support and funding of the scientific trainees, flagship projects,  for the purchase and adjustments of infrastructure as well as increasing visibility in the scientific community.

As can be seen from the above findings, the evaluation of the departments appears to be essential for showing the development prospective in research, teaching and learning and innovations in a medium-term period. Potential improvements were clearly identified and the proposed measures will be implemented step-by-step.

short reports of completed evaluation procedures

Evaluation des Departments für Biotechnologie 2006: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Wirtschafts- & Sozialwissenschaften 2008: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Nanobiotechnologie 2008: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Chemie 2009: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Lebensmittelwissenschaften u. -technologie 2009: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Angewandte Genetik u. Zellbiologie 2009: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Angewandte Pflanzenwissenschaften und Pflanzenbiotechnologie 2010: Executive Summary

Evaluation des 4. Standorts (Versuchswirtschaft an der BOKU) 2010: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Wald- und Bodenwissenschaften 2010: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Nachhaltige Agrarsysteme 2010: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Agrarbiotechnolgie (IFA Tulln) 2011: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Wasser - Atmosphäre - Umwelt 2011: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Centre for Agricultural Sciences (BOKU CAS) 2012: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Bautechnik und Naturgefahren 2012: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Integrative Biologie und Biodiversitätsforschung 2012: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Raum, Landschaft und Infrastruktur 2013: Executive Summary

Evaluation des Departments für Materialwissenschaften und Prozesstechnik 2014: Executive Summary