CBS must solve insoluble problem in 2 years

Skrevet af Bjørn HyldkrogJesper Snedker Adamsen, (versioning) - Foto: grafik Jørn Albertus - 23. december 2014 - 17:470 kommentarer
CBS lived up to 4 of 5 criteria, but has to improve in specific areas to fulfill the final criterion. An obstacle now significantly more difficult to overcome due to the upcoming cutbacks.

The Danish Accreditation Institution has published the initial 5 accreditation ratings of Danish higher education institutions. CBS only received a conditional, positive rating – the reasons are the research base of CBS programs and the quality assurance of said base. 

On Thursday December 18th, the Danish Accreditation Institution published accreditation ratings for 5 higher education institutions: the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), CBS, the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU), and the University College of Lillebaelt.

SDU and DTU received unconditional, positive ratings; UC Lillebaelt received an overall negative rating; CBS and ITU both received a conditional, positive accreditation. ITU did not live up to 4 of 5 criteria, while CBS failed to live up to just one of the five criteria.

A conditional, positive accreditation entails that the institution in question has 2 years to solve the issues stated in the accreditation report; and during those 2 years, new programs must still go through the accreditation institution’s rating process before they can be offered to students.

Unstable research base and too many externals

While CBS performed satisfactorily on 4 of 5 parameters, there was one criterion CBS did not live up to. The issues are an unsatisfactory portion of research based teaching and the lack quality assurance of the teaching performed by external lecturers, and whether or not external lecturers’ teaching is sufficiently research based.

The following is from the institutional accreditation report from the Danish Accreditation Institution: “The Panel finds […] that the portion of research based teaching is not sufficiently monitored.” The report further states that:

“…CBS has ambitious policies for increasing faculty staff numbers and thus decreasing the reliance on external part-time teachers, but also notes that the institution appears to be falling short of its own ambitions. In addition to this, procedures and practice for monitoring that an adequate proportion of academic staff are involved in the teaching at each specific programme are not sufficiently established, resulting in instances where concrete problems have seemingly remained unaddressed.”

You can read the full report here.

CBS’ strained Achilles’ tendon

The conditional accreditation comes as no surprise to CBS management: the relatively low number of faculty staff (VIP) and the relatively significant reliance on external part-time lecturers (DVIP) make up the strained Achilles’ tendon of CBS, and measures were implemented in 2011 and 2012 to change this structure.

The math is simple: to receive an unconditional, positive accreditation, CBS has to improve the quality assurance of research based teaching, i.e. VIP’s have to conduct a larger portion of teaching compared to DVIP’s; however, the opposite scenario will more likely be the case at CBS in the coming years.

As mentioned earlier, CBS now has 2 years to fulfill the final criterion, but that task just got significantly more difficult as CBS has to implement cutbacks in the amount of DKK 35m, which effectively means that CBS has to axe roughly 50 VIP positions and this is a completely different scenario from the one the accreditation institution based its report on, as the report is based on information from 2013-2014.

A frustrating development for the President of CBS

In other words, it is very hard to see how CBS should be able to fulfill the criterion to obtain an unconditional, positive accreditation within just 2 years. CBS President Per Holten-Andersen is very unhappy with the situation:

- It is so very unfortunate for CBS as we are once again being pulled down by the skewed financial framework conditions. The current situation forces us to increase reliance on external part-time lecturers (DVIP), which is exactly what we have been told not to do, says Per Holten-Andersen and points out that:

- The use of external lecturers is based on an ambition to increase the business relevance of our programs and to establish ever closer ties with the corporate sector. However, financial considerations are also part of the reason why we use external lecturers as they are not as cost-intensive as faculty staff.