The University of Zurich's aim in offering continuing education is to make a material contribution to lifelong learning, especially for academics. The offering has grown organically, and currently consists of more than 50 programs. The regulatory framework is laid down in the Regulations governing Continuing Education.
The University of Zurich's excellent reputation as a center of education and research means it can guarantee quality, high-level continuing education. There are various measures in place to ensure that high standards of quality are attained and maintained.
High Quality Standards
Right from the development stage, comprehensive market analysis is done to ascertain the practical relevance of and specific need for a programme. What's more, new programs are always reviewed by the University's Committee for Continuing Education and the faculty responsible, and the relevant ordinances go through all the University channels. The high quality of the University of Zurich's continuing education offering is also thanks in large part to the dedication of the instructors and their active involvement in research. At least half of the people sitting on the management bodies responsible for designing and conducting continuing education courses and programs do research at the University, and the instructors are also actively involved in research. External instructors with experience in the relevant area of research or professional practice are also brought in. These people also generally have an academic background. Admission to the University of Zurich's continuing education programs requires a Master’s degree from an accredited university and professional experience. Only in exceptional cases can candidates be admitted upon review of their submitted application documents. This ensures that course participants will receive academic-level continuing education and the opportunity able to build valuable networks. These admission requirements are particularly important given that the University of Zurich's continuing education offering is built on the University's scholarly expertise and thus reflects the quality of research and instruction at the University of Zurich overall. The research-related aspect of the continuing education provided by the University of Zurich and other universities is what enables it to stand out from other continuing education providers, without neglecting the knowledge transfer between academia and professional practice.
This type of quality standards and permanent quality management ensures that the University of Zurich's continuing education programs are sustainable. Responsibility for this lies with the faculties, although there are common principles and guidelines to facilitate quality management across the University. The quality principles and recommendations issued by Swissuni are an important guide when it comes to assuring the quality of continuing education.
Central Quality Assurance
Alongside systematic quality assurance at program level by means of participant surveys, the quality of University of Zurich's continuing education offering as a whole is regularly reviewed and evaluated on behalf of the University's bodies. Responsibility for formulating quality assurance guidelines for continuing education programs lies with the Committee for Continuing Education. The committee works with the Office for Continuing Education, which once again has made assuring the quality of the University's continuing education part of its strategic objectives. Among other things, the Office for Continuing Education presents a situation analysis every two years. This analysis uses selected indicators (percentage of professors in management bodies, percentage of University instructors, percentage of instructors with a doctorate, percentage of participants with a university degree, etc.) to gauge whether the continuing education offering satisfies the quality requirements of a university.