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HiOA one step closer to university status

HiOA has fulfilled all the necessary requirements related to research and education, according to an expert committee report. “Now we’re counting on admitting new students to Norway’s next university in August, 2018,” says Rector Curt Rice.

Published: Updated:
Curt Rice greets a male student attending the welcome ceremony at St. Hanshaugen.

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) was informed on Tuesday 14 November that the requirements for university accreditation have been fulfilled. The expert committee assembled to consider HiOA’s university accreditation application published its report on Tuesday morning. The committee was established by NOKUT, the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education.

The committee has reached the following conclusion: After consideration of the individual requirements, together with a comprehensive overall evaluation, the committee recommends that Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) be granted university status. The recommendation of the committee is unanimous.

“This is a wonderful day for students and staff here at HiOA, but also for Norway! The new university will continue pursuing our profile of offering professional studies programs which are so central for the advancement of our social-democratic society here in Norway,” says Rice.

 "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate HiOA on the accreditation committee’s recommendation in favour of university status. This recommendation is a significant milestone in HiOA’s university accreditation process. Provided that NOKUT’s board endorses the committee’s recommendation, I will present this matter for the government as soon as we have received an application for university status from HiOA,” said Minister of Education and Research Henrik Asheim, reacting to the news.

Oslo can become the first city in Norway home to two universities.

“I’m both delighted and proud that the committee has acknowledged all of the great work that happens at HiOA. We’ve seen tremendous progress in our research and educational offerings over the past several years,” says Rector Curt Rice.

Redoubling our commitment to education and research

“Becoming a university will make it possible for HiOA to continue developing the quality of our research and educational offerings, including the knowledge our students acquire and what we provide to society,” says Curt Rice.

HiOA is Norway’s largest university college and educates practitioners in vital sectors of the labor market, including education, healthcare, social services and technology.Academia, society and the broader labor market are undergoing major transitions, and the professions must evolve accordingly. In order to meet these changes, HiOA must continue to generate new knowledge and cutting-edge research.

“Education and research in inextricably intertwined and as a university we will be able to do even more to offer research-based education, international cooperation and recruiting of strong staff and students. University status will also give us the opportunity to manage our own portfolio of educational programs, such that we more quickly can accommodate the needs of our society,” says Rector Rice.

University status has been a longstanding goal since HiOA emerged as the product of a series of mergers in 2011, and has been a key focus area for Curt Rice since he took the helm as rector at HiOA in the fall of 2015.

What’s next? The timetable for university status

Curt Rice submitting HiOA's university application to Øystein Lund.

The comprehensive application that the committee has evaluated was submitted to NOKUT 22 February after having been approved by the HiOA board.

The report and its main conclusion—that HiOA meets the requirements for accreditation as a university—will be on the agenda of the NOKUT board meeting 12 December, where it awaits formal approval .At the HiOA board meeting on 15 December, the Rector will invite the board to consider a resolution on the proposed name of the new university.

Immediately after the December board meeting, HiOA will submit an application to the Ministry of Education and Research to formally change our status to that of university.

If the Ministry formally endorses this change, it will await final approval by the Council of State presided over by the King. According to this tentative timetable, Oslo will be home to its second university from the start of the coming academic year, in August 2018.

Key Takeaways:

  • An expert committee established by NOKUT, the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education, has considered HiOA’s application to be a university.
  • The committee comprised higher education professionals, professionals from other fields, and a student representative.
  • The committee has considered HiOA’s application, and as part of its process, interviewed 70 employees and students during a September visit to HiOA.

Press Contact

Kjersti Thoresen, tel. +47 416 92 105, e-mail: Kjersti.thoresen@hioa.no