Audit committee on institutional quality assurance under way

On 21 and 22 January, Leiden University will be visited by an audit committee from the NVAO (Dutch/Flemish Accreditation Organisation) who will take a critical look at the the quality assurance systems we have in place to monitor our teaching. Vice-Rector Professor Simone Buitendijk comments: 'I see this as an excellent opportunity to find out where we can make improvements.'

Essence of the audit

The audit will consist of two visits, one on 21 and 22 January, and a follow-up visit in March. The university can expect the committee's final report before the summer. The key objective of the audit is to find out whether Leiden University is achieving the desired level of quality assurance for its teaching. 


The committee has prepared for the audit by consulting a number of documents such as the institutional plan 'Inspiration and growth' and the assessment visits made to the different departments in recent years. Leiden University submitted a self-assessment to the NVAO in December with details of our quality assurance system. The self-assessment included the following issues, set by the NVAO:  

  • The vision of the quality of the institution's teaching

  • The development of policies to ensure that this vision is realised

  • Results: continuous monitoring of the how the vision is being implemented, and testing of the quality of the teaching

  • Improvement policy: systematic improvement where necessary

  • An organisation and decision-making structure designed to guarantee that the different bodies (Executive Board, Faculty Boards, Department Boards) work together in such a way as to ensure that the vision on teaching is implemented successfully and that the improvement programmes proceed according to plan

Individual teaching profile

In the self-assessment, the universities can present an individual teaching profile to reflect their own distinctive image. The self-assessment also stresses that teaching policy is always the product of co-operation between the Executive Board, the faculties and the departments.

Talking to the Boards

The Audit Committee will talk with various Boards during the visit on 21 and 22 January: the Board of Governors, the Executive Board, delegations of staff and students from the University Council and the Boards of the Faculties (together with the deans and portfolio holders for teaching). Today, 22 January, there is an open consultation for which anyone wanting to pass information to the Commmittee about institutional quality assurance was able to register. 

Fresh outlook

Buitendijk is by no means fearful about the committee. 'You can treat any criticism as free advice. It is a positive move that people from outside the university should take a fresh look at what we are doing. And I am delighted to have the chance to work with the faculties and departments on any findings this audit may produce.'

How teaching is conducted

In March the Audit Committee will hold discussions with lecturers and students on how programmes are taught in practice. This may involve one or more programmes or a particular aspect of quality assurance that relates to several different programmes.  

(21 January 2012)

See also

Last Modified: 19-06-2013