A regular evaluation carried out by the Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education yielded Tallinn University of Technology an unconditional accreditation for seven years along with a quality mark
The international expert committee highlighted the high quality of the teaching and research activities of TalTech, as well as the significance of the university in society. The experts also submitted a number of recommendations for improvements, but many of them are difficult to implement, unless the university can obtain additional resources and more effective financial support from the state.
‘The seven-year unconditional accreditation is a great sign of recognition for our university’s researchers, lecturers, and students; meanwhile, for future students, the quality mark is a promise that the education and training they will receive here is also recognised internationally,’ stated Tiit Land, Rector of Tallinn University of Technology. According to the Rector, the university now needs to further increase efforts in a number of areas, including in the integration of green transition principles into educational and research activities, as well as collaboration with businesses and society as a whole. ‘Here, I await the support of the state, including in financial matters,’ Land added. ‘I believe that increased public funding is essential for boosting the competitiveness of all Estonian universities.’
The final report published in late January points to several strengths of the Tallinn University of Technology. For example, the committee praised the newly established interactive web-application SMART , which provides senior management staff with a variety of information that is vital for making informed decisions. In addition, the international evaluators lauded the university’s development plan, in particular the ambition to become one of the key institutions in the green transition in Estonia. The committee also highlighted efforts made for the development of study programmes that meet labour market needs, as well as excellent internship opportunities for students, effective online learning practices, participation in the EuroTeQ network of technical universities, and close links between research and educational activities.
‘Our next objectives are to further promote student-centred approaches in teaching activities, as well as international mobility in order to broaden students’ academic and personal horizons,’ noted Hendrik Voll, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.
Among the research-related strengths of the university, the evaluators drew attention to the flexibility of the tenure system, which has attracted new researchers and has changed the profile of the body of researchers. Commendations were also given for the inclusion of specialists in the university’s schools, as well as the role of Mektory in the commercialisation of research. Other areas listed as noteworthy included continuing training initiatives under the Open University programme as well as initiatives for collaboration with other schools.
International expert committee member, Vice-Dean and Professor of Lund University Martin Tunér said: “From my perspective, TalTech is a modern and well-functioning international technical university that provides great value for its students, partners, and the Estonian nation. During my visit I noticed a strong collaborative spirit, and a particular enthusiastic determination among students and staff.”
The accreditation also involved the evaluation of some study programmes, such as in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, where the expert committee highlighted close co-operation with employers and industrial enterprises, as well as high-quality problem- and project-based studies in specialist subjects, as some of the strengths of the programmes. For the future, Kristo Karjust, the director of the department, believes it is important to update the laboratory facilities and promote wider adoption of discipline-specific software in studies, as this will enable the department to improve use case analyses that are important to businesses as well as the coherence between theory and practice.
The experts specifically acknowledged that the university has not only taken the recommendations given during the previous accreditation seriously, but has also implemented them. For example, the drop-out rate among doctoral students has decreased as a result of the university having improved the level of instruction and assessment, as well as having revised its requirements for application, which is helping to ensure that the university attracts capable and motivated students.
The purpose of institutional accreditation is to evaluate the management, workflows, teaching activities, and research activities of universities, as well as universities’ development goals and (legal) environment. TalTech was accredited by researchers and top specialists from the universities of Manchester, Lund, Helsinki, Côte d’Azur, Porto, Wageningen, Ljubljana, and Delft University of Technology.
Hybrid meetings between members of the committee and the university took place in early October.
The evaluation report is available at the Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education web.