A big success for FIR – EPAS accreditation for two programmes for 5 years

21 Feb

Faculty of International Relations (FIR) successfully defended international accreditation EPAS for two master’s degree programmes, International Trade and International Business, this time for the period of 5 years. This exceptional success invites FIR into the elite club of only eight universities worldwide, which have gained the longest possible period of accreditation for more than one programme. Accreditation itself means for the faculty not only appreciation of its successes and the confirmation of wise strategic and managerial decisions in key areas of development, but it is also an important commitment and challenge for the enduring perfection of the established direction.

The EPAS accreditation board approved the FIR’s accreditation for the period of five years during its meeting on February 20, 2018. Currently, there are 111 study programmes organised at 82 universities in 38 countries in the world that hold the EPAS accreditation (35 out of 111 programs are accredited for 5 years). The FIR was the first and remains the only university in the Czech Republic that has received this international accreditation.

The accreditation is awarded by the European Foundation for Management Development and is based on strict conditions. The main goal of the accreditation is to establish an international standard of quality for management study programmes. The accreditation procedure is highly demanding and only those universities that fulfil entry requirements and achieve sustainable outcomes can apply for the accreditation. The international aspect is crucial, primarily covering study programmes and internships abroad, the number of international students and guest lecturers and a proportion of instruction in English. The accreditations have been awarded since 2005 and usually for 3 years; the best rated study programmes can receive the accreditation for 5 years.

The EPAS Accreditation process is initiated with a detailed Self-Assessment Report that follows an exactly specified structure. In 5 chapters, the university is asked to evaluate its positioning in the national education system, to explain its institutional framework, to state basic information (qualifications of lecturers, number of applicants, admission method and number of accepted students, etc.), programme objectives, curriculum content and its methodology, possibilities to study abroad, connection with experts, profile of its graduates, etc. Afterwards, the Self-Evaluation Report is followed by a so-called Peer Review, during which an international team of four experts visits the university in person. During the Peer Review, the evaluated university submits all materials related to the programmes, including educational materials, textbooks, examples of tests, students’ presentations, solved case studies and diploma theses. Consequently, the Board talks to the Rector of the University, the Dean and the Management of the Faculty, with Program Supervisors, supervisors and lecturers of courses, students, and graduates and might also choose any employee and any student of the Faculty to verify the information provided. Based on the review, the team of experts executes its written reasoned recommendation for or against awarding the accreditation, which is then submitted to the Accreditation Board. The Board, however, is not obliged to follow the proposal of the expert team.