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Institutional accreditation of the University of Liechtenstein

On June 24, 2022, the Swiss Accreditation Council granted full institutional accreditation to the University of Liechtenstein for the first time. The decision is based on a report by the expert group appointed by the Swiss Agency for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ), which gives the University of Liechtenstein «an all-round positive report card». AAQ attests to the University of Liechtenstein's «high quality and focused teaching program» and especially emphasizes the «identification and satisfaction» of students and employees with the university as well as the «level of detail of the quality assurance system».

AAQ states that the University of Liechtenstein, with currently two departments (Business and Economics and Architecture) and in the future three schools (School of Business Law, School of Business, School of Architecture), meets the requirements of Article 30 HFKG for institutional accreditation as a university. The Swiss Accreditation Council granted accreditation for a period of seven years, i.e. until 2029, with one condition. This relates to the recognition of study achievements within the framework of student mobility in accordance with the Lisbon Convention. The university has to fulfill the condition within 24 months.

Confirmation of the strategic development of the university

The institutional accreditation comprehensively examines the quality assurance of universities and colleges and thus guarantees students from the Principality of Liechtenstein equal access to all universities in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Klaus Tschütscher, President of the University Council, explains: «The successful institutional accreditation is a milestone in the young history of the University of Liechtenstein. It is a confirmation of the strategic development and an incentive to continue on the path of systematic further development of the broadly anchored quality culture. The successful accreditation is a joint effort and the merit of many people at the University. For this, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all who have contributed to this success.»

The University of Liechtenstein submitted an application for accreditation as a university to the Swiss Accreditation Council in April 2020 and chose AAQ as its accreditation agency. The basis for the positive accreditation decision was a self-evaluation report written in 2021 and the assessment by external experts from AAQ, including an on-site visit in the fall of 2021. In a multi-stage review process, a high-ranking international expert group from AAQ interviewed more than 50 employees and students of the University of Liechtenstein.

Personal and familiar university

In their final assessment, the evaluators stated that they had gotten to know a university whose members characterize and particularly value the university as a «personal and familiar university». The identification and satisfaction of all member groups – the staff as well as the students – with their university is very high.

Many students have enrolled in Liechtenstein because they want to study at a manageable university with unique supervision conditions, opportunities to help shape the university and a direct line to their lecturers, and because they have sought out Liechtenstein's networked «niche offers» and the good networking with local companies. The small size of the university and the short distances facilitate informal forms of communication, which, according to the evaluators, «have proven particularly useful in the rapid development of the still young university and its networking with other universities.»

The reviewers emphasized that the University of Liechtenstein offers a highly qualified and focused range of courses: The curricula allow for the achievement of qualification goals. In addition, the university supports students in obtaining semesters or internships abroad through partner programs and scholarships.

Securing contribution funds from the Intercantonal University Agreement

Together with all Swiss cantons, Liechtenstein is a member of the Intercantonal University Agreement of February 20, 1997 (IUV 1997 for short), which guarantees students of all cantons and the Principality of Liechtenstein equal access to all universities in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The new lntercantonal University Agreement 2019 came into force on January 1, 2022. In order for the University of Liechtenstein to remain eligible for contributions under IUV, proof of institutional accreditation is required by the end of 2022, as is the case for all universities. The University of Liechtenstein has now provided this proof and thus continues to secure these contributions, also to the delight of the country as owner of the university.

Swiss accreditation secured until 2029

The institutional accreditation, which has been granted until 2029, illustrates the high standards that the University of Liechtenstein sets for the quality of teaching and research. It is a seal of quality for students and forms the basis for the regional and international reputation of the university. With this tailwind, the potential of the companies in our region can be used more actively - in the interest of the learning success of the students as well as the progress in knowledge of the companies. Activities in teaching and research require freedom to think and experiment, as the expert group explained in its report. The introduction of the Schools, which was decided on January 1, 2023, addresses this concern by enabling the Schools to respond more agilely, flexibly and quickly to new requirements in research and teaching in the future.

The audit report will be published on the website of the Swiss AAQ agency (www.aaq.ch).