Campus - 17.09.2012 - 00:00 

Quality also in growth

The HSG wants to provide excellent teaching quality despite increasing student numbers. It is for this reason that it has reformed the Assessment Year and will launch bilingual Bachelor’s studies from autumn 2012.


14 September 2012. To satisfy the growing requirements of a knowledge society, universities must constantly improve the quality of their education. The HSG is considered to be a university which sets great store by the quality of its teaching. To ensure that this will remain the case in the future, the President’s Board and the University’s Board of Governors in the past year focused on the quality of teaching, which is intended to be preserved and reinforced in spite of the strong increase in student numbers (growth of over 60 per cent since 2005).

Against this background, the first annual media conference of the University of St.Gallen focused on the reform of the first undergraduate year and the innovations in Bachelor studies. According to the Cantonal Minister of Education and Chairman of the University’s Board of Directors, Stefan Kölliker, the reforms tie in “with the HSG’s pioneering spirit more than ten years ago, when the unique course architecture with its three Levels and three Pillars was developed.”

Interim objectives achieved
According to the Vision 2020, the HSG as one of Europe’s leading business universities intends to be recognised globally as a place for thought leadership on current economic, business, and societal matters and for the development of talent able to integrate perspectives and act both entrepreneurially and responsibly. In this respect, the University was able to achieve important interim objectives in the past year. As President Thomas Bieger explained, various measures had been taken in order to do justice to the requirements of quality in teaching and research in a situation of growth, too. Thus two new Master’s programmes were approved and one was launched, new full professors and lecturers were appointed, and internationalisation was strengthened with a new type of visiting professorship and with 50 per cent professorships.

The biggest reform project for ten years
The University of St.Gallen has a first undergraduate year that is the same for all students, the so-called Assessment Year. This first undergraduate year is of crucial significance: students are introduced to the core subjects. In addition, it works as an important orientation and selection aid.

To ensure that outstanding teaching quality can continue to be offered in spite of increasing student numbers, the Assessment Year has been fundamentally reformed. From autumn 2013, it will be structured into three groups: two in German and one in English. This division into smaller groups would improve degree course quality and the teacher/student ratio, said Dean of Studies Jan Metzger. With the English-language track, the HSG will do justice to school-leavers’ linguistic proficiency (bilingual Matura examinations) and provide optimal compatibility for careers in academia and practice in an international environment.

The University is also breaking new ground in the field of knowledge integration. In a globalised world, exchange and communication between individual knowledge disciplines are becoming more and more important. With a new course called “Integration Project”, which has been designed along integrative and interdisciplinary lines, “thinking outside the box” is intended to be specifically taught from the very first undergraduate year onwards.

Preparation for the international labour market
The introduction of an English-language Assessment Year will for the first time provide Swiss university students with a possibility of reading economic subjects in English right from the start. From Autumn Semester 2014, the majors in Business Administration, Economics and International Affairs can also be studied at the Bachelor’s Level in a variable mixture of German and English. In particular, students with a bilingual qualification for university entrance will thus be given an opportunity to consolidate their command of English and to quality for the international labour market. The integration of foreign-language students is important for the HSG: every graduate with an HSG Bachelor’s degree should also be able to communicate in German. For this reason, such undergraduates will not only have to attend courses in German as their first foreign language but also complete two course elements of their core studies in German.

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