Quo vadis, pecunia? Appropriation of Quality Improvement Funds in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University
Approx. 25% of the funds available to the university will be distributed to the central office for faculty-extensive measures and approx. 75% to the individual faculties. The appropriated usage of these funds is legally determined, therefore they may exclusively be used to improve teaching and learning conditions (§ 2 Studiumsqualitätsgesetz [Study Quality Law]). To guarantee this, it is still legally prescribed that students amount to more than half of the members entitled to vote in that committee which suggests projects for support within the Faculty. Each faculty has its own procedure for appropriating the funds.
Quality Improvement Funds
How does the procedure of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering work?
Considering the legal demands and the demands of the Rectorate, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering has developed criteria for the appropriation of quality improvement funds. Primary goal is to improve the teaching quality through measures which lead to an increase of the success rate and to a support of core subjects in mechanical engineering. In the core subjects of the Faculty, the support of students especially in lectures and exercises of the first three semesters shall be intensified and extended. Currently, this is mainly realized through small exercise groups and tutorials. In addition to increased support capacities, surplus funds will be used for equipment, supplemental offers (internships, seminar) or e-learning concepts.
How is the appropriation of funds organized?
The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering receives the appropriation amount at the beginning of an academic year. The “Committee for Quality Improvement Funds” is responsible for the appropriation and proper utilization. It consists of members of the budget committee and the academics committee. The committee for quality improvement funds requests the institutes of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering to submit applications for improvement of teaching resp. study conditions. After careful examination of compliance with allocation criteria the committee chooses projects which it recommends to the budget and academics committees. The Faculty Council, the highest decision making board, ultimately decides on the appropriation of quality improvement funds.
How will the success of the measures be controlled?
The supported measures will be rated by means of several evaluation instruments. According to the goal of increasing the success rate of the core subjects in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the support capacities and failing rates before and after introduction of the measurements will be compared. Furthermore, the contentment of students with the financed projects will be determined by EvaSys questionnaires. The evaluation committee examines the results. It forwards criticism and suggestions for improvement to the Dean’s Office, which then suggests other measures where appropriate and on its part forwards these suggestions to the subcommittee for quality improvement funds. At the end of the year, the committee quality improvement funds outlines in a statement of accounts to the Rectorate how the funds were used.
How is the substantial participation of students guaranteed?
In Para. 4, Sect. 2 of the Study Quality Law (Studiumsqualitätsgesetz) it is determined that students have to amount to half of the members entitled to vote in the committee for quality improvement funds. Therewith it is guaranteed that all supported measures from quality improvement funds are substantially recommended by students.
Who is the contact person?
The Faculty for Mechanical Engineering has appointed a project manager who coordinates approved projects in cooperation with the committee quality improvement funds and who is the contact person for all inquiries concerning the appropriation of quality improvement funds within the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.
The Faculty’s contact person is: Pingen, Marco
The Student Organization’s contact is: firstname.lastname@example.org