Quality DevelopmentQM System heiQUALITY

The QM system heiQUALITY ensures medium- and long-term success in the central areas of performance at Heidelberg University: Student Affairs and Teaching, Research and Promotion of Young Researchers, and Services and Administration. At the same time, the system serves to develop their quality components. The overarching aim of the President’s Office is to incorporate quality awareness based on specific criteria in all areas of performance and to establish a sustainable quality culture.

Dimensions of heiQUALITY

QM-System heiQUALITY

In order to fulfil heiQUALITY's main purpose, namely turning Heidelberg University into one of the world's leading institutions in research and research-based teaching, distinct quality policies and standards, strategic concepts and diverse techniques as well as instruments for operational implementation, must be defined. To this end, the results of the performance range-specific techniques and instruments in quality control loops are included at all levels of the heiQUALITY system. This provides a solid foundation for establishing a quality culture. The quality control loops adhere to a classic Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, which constitutes a continuous improvement process:


Analysis of the current situation based on the results from evaluation instruments, determining goals (target situation) and measures designated to achieve objectives;
Implementation of measures;
Verification of whether measures were successful and if objectives were achieved, assessment of results;
Re-design objectives and measures, implement modifications due to altered situations, continuation of achieved quality standards.

Principles of heiQUALITY

heiQUALITY is characterised by the following principles:

  • Focus on freedom in research and teaching,
  • Ensuring a balance between the main interests of a progressive scientific institution, decentralised research and teaching profiles as well as structurally innovative research centres,
  • Strengthening the University's autonomy in regard to performance assessments,
  • Ensuring and developing a high level of quality awareness and pronounced individual responsibility among the University staff,
  • Prevention of bureaucratic and centralised control mechanisms,
  • Upholding basic principles of equality between men and women and promoting diversity in all areas of performance, and in particular in quality assurance and development processes.

Characteristics of heiQUALITY

As part of the continuous improvement process, heiQUALITY aspires to promote and maintain a culture of quality through communication, participation and responsibility, critically constructive dialogue and contextualisation, as well as by learning with and from each other. These characteristics are essential for the identification of improvement potentials and for the development of implementation strategies. The continuous improvement process constituted by heiQUALITY is supported by the communication concept which is central to Heidelberg University's overall communication strategy.

Information and communication are essential prerequisites for the development and promotion of a quality culture, and also ensure that all university staff are able to actively contribute to quality assurance and development. Great importance is placed on a transparent and critically constructive dialogue. A common understanding of quality and quality cultures can only be achieved if all involved parties communicate in regard to quality objectives, criteria, instruments and processes, as well as quality development procedural steps.

Participation and responsibility: Integration and active participation of all persons involved and all university divisions (according to their respective responsibilities), combined with assumption of responsibilities for the respective duties.
At Heidelberg University, which functions in a fairly decentralised manner, this means integrating decentralised responsibilities into quality assurance and development processes.

Critically constructive dialogues and contextualisation: heiQUALITY is defined by the exchange of information and critical self-reflection at all levels. At a comprehensive university, such as Heidelberg University, it is of vital importance that participation is not confined to the individual status groups but also includes the various academic cultures. Diversity in the academic disciplines is one of the most important assets of a comprehensive university and harnessing the potential created by this variety of subjects is essential to the success of the entire institution. The quality culture at Heidelberg University is therefore also based on the premise of department-specific contextualisation and does not derive information about quality from data alone. Quality development at the Ruperto Carola always takes the specific character of the individual departments into account and considers department-specific research and teaching profiles.

heiQUALITY – an intelligent system: Quality is not seen as a static concept, but as constantly developing. While it is possible to consider various quality features at certain given times (cross sections), the temporal profile, which allows analysis of quality development over time, is of far greater importance. The term quality management must thus be primarily understood as continuous quality assurance and development. This premise applies equally to heiQUALITY as a dynamic intelligent system, to the assessment of quality features in the individual areas of performance, and to all members of Heidelberg University who develop by learning with, and from, each other.