Danish Accreditation Institution (AI)

The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the Danish Accreditation Institution (AI) fulfills the criteria for ENQA membership and thus the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The evaluation is scheduled to finish in July 2021.

Background and context

The Danish Accreditation Institution (AI) is an independent public authority carrying out external quality assurance in the higher education area. The AI was established in 2007 (under the name ACE Denmark, which later changed to The Danish Accreditation Institution). Its role is to monitor and support the internal quality assurance and quality improvement of the Danish higher education institutions (HEIs). The AI’s role is stipulated in The Accreditation Act and its finances are secured through the national budget law.

Drawing on the accreditation activities, the AI produces thematic analyses of relevance to higher education and summary reports based on the results of the accreditations at a more general level.

The Accreditation Council is a separate entity in the Accreditation Act and it makes decisions regarding accreditation based on AI’s reporting. The Minister of Higher Education and Science appoints the chair and members of the council based on recommendations from relevant institutions, yet the Accreditation Council defines its procedures and methods independently of political and other institutional interests. Besides delivering the accreditation reports to the Council, the AI provides it with various services, such as the preparation of meetings and public communication.

Outside the scope of the ESGs the AI also carry out certain activities. These include assessments of private programmes that qualify for State Educational grant (“SU-vurderinger”) and assessments of the qualifications level of some private programmes in relation to the national qualifications framework (“Niveauvurderinger”). The Accreditation Council is not involved in these activities, as no formal decisions are taken. The assessment of private programmes that qualify for State Educational grant is preparatory work concerning the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and the assessment concerns a limited number of very specific programmes that do not lead to a formal degree. The assessment of private programmes in relation to the national qualifications framework does not constitute a public recognition neither by the AI nor by the Ministry.

External quality assurance activities

The AI mainly conducts institutional accreditations, including steering the accreditation processes and drafting the reports. With the Accreditation Act in 2013, the AI transitioned from accrediting study programmes to accrediting higher education institutions. In a transition phase, the AI continues to accredit a very small number of programmes, which will be phased out within a short period. By institutional accreditation the overall quality assurance system of the HEI in question is assessed, that is whether the quality assurance system is clearly described, based on solid arguments, and functioning well. A key element here is to ensure that the HEI is taking responsibility for the quality of each of its study programmes. A positive institutional accreditation is valid for six years, after which the institution has to undergo a new accreditation.

AI has been a member of ENQA since 2010 and is applying for ENQA renewal of membership.

AI has been registered on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) since 2010 and is applying for renewal of EQAR registration.

Review process

This review will evaluate the extent to which AI fulfils the requirements of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Consequently, the review will provide information to the Board of ENQA to aid its consideration of whether membership of AI should be reconfirmed and to EQAR to support AI application to the register.

Review panel
The panel is composed of the following members:

  • Maria E. Weber, Head of Department Accreditation & International Affairs, Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria, Austria – Chair, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Pedro Teixeira, Professor, Faculty of Economics, University of Porto and Director, Centre for Research on Higher Education Policies (CIPES), Portugal – Secretary, academic (EUA nominee)
  • Luna Lee Solheim, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), Norway – Quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Francisco Joaquin Jimenez Gonzalez, Student of Master in Science and Technology in Architecture, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Spain – Student (ESU nominee, member of the European Students’ Union Quality Assurance Student Experts Pool)

You can read AI’s self-assessment report on their website here.

This review is being coordinated by Milja Homan.