Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences – Pompeu Fabra University

Barcelona, Spain

Reviewed by Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya (AQU Catalunya)

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Pompeu Fabra University (UPF)

Executive summary

The Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences (FEBS, The School) of Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) has been assessed by AQU Catalunya (AQU). This assessment procedure took place within the framework of the Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation project. AQU convened an assessment panel which studied the self-evaluation report and undertook a site visit in Barcelona on the 11th May 2014.

The panel assessed the internationalisation strategy and its operative implementation against five assessment standards and three criteria for each standard. Each standard was rated unsatisfactory, satisfactory, good or excellent reflecting in a summative way the findings for the underlying criteria. Where appropriate the panel provided recommendations for improvement.

The following summary briefly covers all five standards:

Standard 1: Intended internationalisation

This standard is substantiated by the three criteria “supported goals”, “verifiable objectives” and “measures for improvement”. The panel had to deal with the problem that an explicit internationalisation strategy has only been published by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) while the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences (FEBS) has listed rather general School-specific internationalisation objectives for the purpose of the self- evaluation report (SER) only. The School does not periodically evaluate its international activities and achievements, either. Therefore the panel recommends establishing a clear correspondence between the internationalisation goals of the School and precisely defined objectives which can be conceived of as steps toward the achievement of these goals. In addition, a monitoring process should be put into practice that allows continuously assessing the viability of the goals and objectives and the effectiveness of the measures taken.

The panel comes to the overall conclusion regarding Standard 1: Intended internationalisation that despite the difficulty of separating the specific internationalisation goals of the School of Economics and Business Sciences from the institutional goals of UPF the panel regards FEBS to be the driving force behind the development of the impressive international dimensions of UPF’s teaching and research activities. If the School would use periodic evaluations of its internationalisation strategy as a controlling device it could set an example for the successful implementation of quality assurance and development in internationalisation. In spite of the further draw back resulting from the lack of systematic checks of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Schools internationalisation strategy the panel assesses Standard 1: Intended internationalisation as satisfactory.

Standard 2: Action plans

The underlying criteria for the assessment of this standard are “fitness for purpose”, “dimensions” and “instruments and resources”.

The Faculty’s internationalisation policy is based on the general UPF strategy outlined in the “UPF 25 years” strategy plan and the corresponding UPF action plan. FEBS’s internationalisation activities are concentrated on student exchange, international internships, international extra-curricular activities and on fostering the acquisition of foreign languages, in particular English as the main language of academic communication. With regard to Criterion 2b: Dimensions the panel concludes that the School’s internationalisation plans include all the relevant dimensions in a suitable manner, but has no clear idea of “learning outcomes”.

The panel recommends for the Faculty to take advantage of the large number of international students at UPF in order to develop a programme of internationalisation at home so as to provide immobile students with an enhanced experience of international orientation. The panel further notes that the institution’s internationalisation plans are complemented by specific institution-wide instruments and adequate resources. However, the panel recommends to the Faculty to build its own internal quality assurance system which should include the organisational means and personnel resources to further develop and monitor tits internationalisation strategy.

The panel’s overall conclusion regarding Standard 2: Actions plans reads: The panel deems all the underlying criteria of this standard to be met. It therefore assesses Standard 2: Action plans as good.

Standard 3: Implementation.

The underlying criteria are “information system”, “information driven management” and “realisations”. The panel attests that the institution has a functional management information system which it uses to collect and process relevant information regarding internationalisation. However, the panel recommends gathering more information which is relevant for strategic actions in addition to the already collected data for operational purposes. Concerning Criterion 3b: Information driven management the panel notes that the Information System for Management (SID) is used by faculty management to generate reports and evaluate the achievement of the School’s objectives, which are derived from the strategic goals of the university. To this end the faculty uses data on study abroad terms, teaching language preferences, and course evaluations. Quality assurance measures for the improvement of the overall system have not been implemented yet. Moreover, at faculty level the intended and expected outcomes are not defined. Therefore, from a faculty perspective the management should use the information more efficiently in order to manage the internationalisation activities. The panel further observed that the faculty demonstrated the realisation of its internationalisation plans to some extent through documented outcomes and results. However, the panel recommends publishing all evaluation reports in English in order to make them accessible for all stakeholders of the faculty. Moreover, the panel suggests broadening the scope of the assessed and evaluated standards of internationalisation to include the international and intercultural learning experiences the students have experienced during their studies in Barcelona.

The panel comes to the overall conclusion regarding Standard 3: Implementation that FEBS at UPF uses a functional management information system, processes information for the management of its internationalisation activities, and documents in the reports of the faculty the extent to which its internationalisation plans have been realised. Consequently, the panel deems all of the underlying criteria of this standard to be met and assesses Standard 3 as satisfactory.

Standard 4: Enhancement.

The underlying criteria for the assessment of this standard are “internal quality assurance”, “approaches for enhancement” and “stakeholders involvement”. The panel was pleased to see that international orientation is embedded in all the activities of UPF but at the same time it regretted to note that internationalisation is not a specific item in the integrated internal quality assurance system of the institution. The panel concludes that although the Faculty of Business Sciences and Economics uses an internal quality assurance system of the university which covers most internationalisation dimensions and activities FEBS should have a more specific role in establishing its own internationalisation objectives; it should be involved in the formalisation of the mechanisms and procedures which monitor and ensure its achievements.

The panel was satisfied to see that internationalisation approaches are part of the institution’s regular quality assurance and enhancement activities. However, the panel recommends to better specify the plans for improving and monitoring internationalisation at FEBS. The relationship between mobility policy and the achievement of specific learning outcomes should be given more attention.

The panel has checked that internationalisation is embedded in the quality assurance activities of UPF and in the teaching and learning activities at FEBS. The faculty and staff are concerned with the improvement of these activities. Students and external stakeholders are also aware of the relevance of internationalisation. Nevertheless, the IQAS of UPF has some shortcomings in its formalisation at faculty level, as it is managed at headquarters with a homogeneous design for all faculties while FEBS is generally one step further ahead in internationalisation.

In summary, the panel deems the underlying criteria of this standard to be met. The use of indicators in the measurement of internationalisation, the involvement of the faculty in the establishment of partnerships with foreign universities and the policy regarding the recruitment of the international faculty can be referred to as an international example. The panel is convinced that these aspects can be regarded as an exemplary practice and it therefore assesses Standard 4: Enhancement as good.

Standard 5: Governance

The criteria against which this standard is assessed are “responsibilities”, “effectiveness” and “responsiveness”.

At UPF the responsibilities for internationalisation are embedded in the governance structure and management procedures throughout the institution.

At School-level the Dean initiates and coordinates all international activities – with major support from the Mobility Coordinator. On the other hand, vertical coordination does not seem to be well developed. However, on the basis of three surveys of UPF’s international exchange programmes the Vice-Rector for international relations, the IRS, the Dean, the Mobility Coordinator and the International Relations Director have met in order to draw conclusions from the results of these evaluations.

With respect to the responsibilities regarding internationalisation the panel concludes that they are clearly defined and allocated. Nevertheless, the panel sees possibilities for improvement if the School would be granted more autonomy in developing its own international strategic options.

Its success in international research cooperation, student exchange, strengthening the international composition of the teaching staff, language policy, and the internationalisation of the educational curricula is proof of the effectiveness of the School’s organisational structure and management.

The panel concludes that the organisation and leadership of the School effectively underpin the realisation of its internationalisation goals thus setting an example for many higher education institutions in Spain and abroad.

The panel was pleased to learn that FEBS is an active and successful driver of internationalisation at UPF that readily takes advantage of new opportunities to improve and expand its international relations. For Catalonia and even for Spain it is an exemplification of an expedient internationalisation policy.

From the written material provided by the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences at UPF and from the on-site talks the panel gained the impression that the School’s governance structure and management procedures are fully in line with the Standard’s underlying criteria. With respect to the involvement of stakeholders and the organisation of the international student exchange the School’s practice can be regarded as an international example.

The panel therefore assesses Standard 5: Governance as good.

On the basis of the findings with respect to the five Standards of Internationalisation the panel came to the final conclusion that – based on its internationalisation goals – the institution has successfully implemented effective internationalisation activities which demonstrably contribute to the quality of teaching and learning.

The panel assesses the overall level of internationalisation at the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences (FEBS) of Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, as good and recommends to the Steering Group and the ECA Management Group to award FEBS the Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation.