Postgraduate Studies in Fire Safety Engineering

Quality assurance

People who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow, that is what we aim for. That is why education at our university is firmly anchored in six major objectives.

  1. Think broadly. Thinking as broadly as possible and offering the opportunity to question oneself. Not only Dare to Think, but also dare to change the way of thinking.
  2. Keep researching. Research is the foundation of our education. Ghent University keeps linking its way of educating to the dynamics of science.
  3. Support Talent. Everyone starts with equal opportunities. Every students gets the opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of gender, cultural or social background.
  4. Build with us. Students, staff, the government and the corporate world all get the chance to contribute to the contents and form of our high quality education. Ghent University is known for its particularly active students in student participation, of which we are very proud.
  5. Push boundaries. We want to prepare our students internationally and interculturally. We give them the opportunity to gain experience across borders. We also open our doors for students from all over the world and welcome teachers and academic staff from abroad.
  6. Choose quality. Constant quality assurance and improvement is an integral part of our culture and we communicate about it openly. We are proud of the level of our university.

Ghent University sees the quality of education as an internal self-evaluation process, in which faculties and programs compare the goals they have set themselves to the achieved results and adjust the policy accordingly. The portfolios constitute an important link in this process. The achieved results are based on quantitative and qualitative information from relevant stakeholders (students, teachers, professional field, international experts, alumni, etc.).The ‘peer learning visits’, the yearly quality meeting and the Education Quality Office (‘OKB’) make sure the PDCA cycle is closed at various policy levels and help to keep the improvement policy sharp.

A detailed description of how Ghent University is constantly paying attention to quality assurance and quality culture can be found in the Ghent University Conduct of Educational Quality Assurance (ERGO).

 

Quality of this study programme

This quality assurance system provides information on the assets, the strengths and the points for improvement for every study programme. A summary for this study programme can be found below:

 

Assets of the study programme

  1. Relevance: The Postgraduate Studies in Fire Safety Engineering (PGOPFSE) has been created upon request by the professional world and is strongly appreciated for its relevance. This is confirmed by the continuous inflow of professionally active students into the program. It is the result of the fact that the students learn theoretical knowledge from international top academics in combination with learning state-of-the-art technological aspects from guest professors from the professional FSE (Fire Safety Engineering) world. The general commitment by industry is a strong asset for the MFSE education. A graduate from our program is thereby a flexible engineer with profound specialization in FSE.
  2. Multiperspectivism: We educate our students to become reflective professionals who can work in teams and who occupy leading positions in the FSE professional and academic research world. We value creativity and problem solving skills very highly. Moreover, the strongly international and intercultural character of the student population – the result of being in class together with the IMFSE students – ensures that students learn to appreciate both national and international codes of practice in the field of fire safety engineering. The multi-disciplinary character of FSE is also reflected in the program.
  3. Unique program and degree: The PGOPFSE program is one of the very few FSE programs in the world of the size of 60 ECTS credits, i.e., the equivalent of a full-time academic year, aiming at professionally active students. Moreover, Ghent University is a world leading top institution in the field of Fire Safety Engineering, so the obtained degree is of very high value. From a contents point of view, we work within the context of ‘Performance-Based Design’, which is common practice and reality of FSE worldwide.
  4. International talent development: As mentioned, the student population in the PGOPFSE program is very international and intercultural. As a student you can choose your thesis topic in line with your own fields of interest, developing your talents. Moreover, you are continuously challenged throughout the program by worldwide relevant real-life projects.
  5. Creation of knowledge, skills and competences: Throughout the program there is a step-wise build-up of knowledge, skills and competences, whereby our students are continuously stimulated to critical self-reflection. Starting from theoretical fundamental principles, the problem solving thinking of our students is developed towards both research and practically relevant and realistic projects.

 

Quality assurance: strengths

  1. Student appreciation: The official student survey reveals a very strong appreciation of the program. This is the result of what was described in the program key points, but it is also due to the strong involvement of the students in the Program Steering Committee, as this participation ensures that their feedback is heard and leads to adjustments in the program where and when feasible.
  2. Motivated team of lecturers: The education is delivered by very committed lecturers from different disciplines. Our academic lecturers combine their research expertise with a passion for teaching and dedication to providing a dynamic learning environment in their courses. The guest lecturers bring a strong added value with their input from the professional world.
  3. Room for practical experience: This is a strong asset of the PGOPFSE program, as practical experience is guaranteed through the inclusion of the mentioned guest lecturers. Additionally, company visits are organized on a yearly basis and the professional world is involved still more closely in the PGOPFSE program through their participation in the Advisory Board of the Program Steering Committee, as well as through thesis topics offered by companies. On top of that, students also bring in their own professional experience, so they learn from each other.
  4. Evaluations: Our students appreciate being well-informed on the type and contents of evaluations so that they clearly know what to expect while studying. Also, the variety in types of assessment, depending on the topic and the skills to be tested, is strongly appreciated.
  5. Approachability: Our postgraduate program focuses on direct and intensive personal contact between lecturers and students.

 

Quality assurance: focus points with action plan

  1. Study time measurements: Although student feedback does not indicate there is a problem, it is for the time being difficult to assess the total work load, as well as its spreading, on the basis of reliable objective study time measurements This will be followed up more closely in the coming years.
  2. Follow-up of the thesis process: In practice it turns out to be very hard for professionally active students to finalize their thesis, despite the fact that typically they suggested the topic themselves. It is a continued point of attention for promotors to stimulate the students to finalize their thesis on time.
  3. Feedback: Since the students reported that they received insufficient feedback on their assignments, the lecturers have been asked to provide more detailed and timely feedback to the students on every submitted piece of work.