The private universities are involved in various working groups (WGs) to push current challenges and developments in the sector across the universities. The following working groups are currently in place and others are being planned:
The working group of the ÖPUK promotes a competent and uniform appearance of the Austrian private universities in data protection matters, in particular vis-à-vis the Austrian data protection authority and AQ Austria. Contents include coordination between the private universities regarding the application of uniform standards in the interpretation of data protection issues, but also cooperation to contribute to the improvement of data protection framework conditions. Contents that are currently being worked on:
The working group deals, among other things, with questions of financing private universities, which are very heterogeneous due to the different legal entities; exchanges views on aspects of tax law, e.g. contract research, and coordinates with regard to aspects of labour law.
The purpose of this working group is to provide a platform for professional support, sharing of best practices, knowledge and networking among the research support professionals of our member universities.
At the twice-a -year meetings current issues of the profession are discussed and stakeholders are invited to share information.
The ultimate goal is to enhance successful research proposals and projects at the private institutions for higher education, and to strengthen their presence in the Austrian research scene.
This central working group aims to promote diversity and inclusion in all Austrian private universities. The working group gives all private universities a common platform for exchange and mutual support regarding diversity, gender competence and inclusion in all relevant fields of action of universities and universities of applied sciences (research, teaching, management/governance, working culture/climate).
Higher Education Plan
The WG Higher Education Plan prepared the content of the ÖPUK statement on the “Strategic Positioning for Future Directions in Austrian Higher Education Policy” of November 2020, and is currently reviewing which points should be further discussed and demanded in the discussion on an all-Austrian higher education plan. The WG Higher Education Plan is concerned with a clear division of tasks between the types of institutions in the tertiary sector and the sharpening of profiles. The characteristics of the university and/or higher education institution, new since the transformation of the PUG into a PrivHG, the requirements for a change of the respective institution type within the overall structure are the focus of interest.
The Working Group Internationalisation is promoting and helping to advance the internalization of the private universities. International recruitment of faculty and students, academic networking and the exchange of best practice models in teaching and research serve, to constantly review and improve quality and contribute to raising the profile and reputation of Austria as an education location. In regular meetings, representatives of the private universities exchange views on the framework conditions and funding measures. Statements on strategies, laws and ordinances or amendment plans of the respective ministries are prepared (especially BMBWF, BMI, BMEIA). A subgroup of the working group is dedicated to the exchange of experience regarding student mobility (e.g. Erasmus+).
Marketing and Communication
The working group consists of the press and communication officers of all private universities. Within the framework of regular meetings, overarching PR concepts and events are planned and topics relevant to the press are discussed and implemented in order to inform the public about the private university sector.
The expert committee of ÖPUK serves the networking as well as the exchange of experience between the private universities on all questions of quality assurance. A special focus of its work is international market observation and comparative analysis on the subject and the implementation of innovative QM tools in the management processes of the domestic private universities. In addition, there is a regular exchange on current developments in university quality management and on experiences and best practice examples at the various private universities.
The objectives of the legal working group are:
This results in the following concrete tasks of the Legal Working Group:
The Working Group Sola supports the recurrent survey on the social situation of students in Austria initiated by the Minstry for Education, Science and Research. Members get together according to the periods of the survey. They supply input on the catalogue of questions submitted to the students, comment on the results and draft recommendations to the private sector based on those survey results.
Goals of the working group are:
The committee focuses on the development of joint synergies for the procurement process and possible cooperation with publishers, as well as further development in the area of digitisation. The establishment of uniform and innovative recording systems for research documentation and plagiarism checks at private universities are further topics of the working group, as is the promotion of cooperation and knowledge exchange between librarians working at private universities.