Profile + Values

Bern University of Applied Sciences is a university with a practical bias. Training, continuing education and research are part of our core mission.

Portrait

Students at Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) benefit from our interdisciplinary approach and our international orientation. Our eight departments teach and research a wide range of subjects, and our students and staff come from a wide range of different countries.

Many-sided but goal-oriented: With eight departments under one roof at Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), you will have plenty of opportunity to see your subject from a range of different angles during your time with us. The 30 bachelor’s degree programmes, 23 master’s degree programmes and numerous continuing education programmes combine to give BFH its unique profile. The university has sites in Bern, Burgdorf, Biel, Zollikofen and Magglingen.

Studies

Unique and cosmopolitan

The BFH degree programmes in Sport, Agriculture, Forest Science, Wood Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Medical Informatics and Literary Writing are the only programmes of their kind in German-speaking Switzerland or, in some cases, Switzerland as a whole. This means that our students at BFH tend to come from different cantons and, indeed, different countries to study with us. At BFH, our multilingual set-up (German/French/English) creates bridges to other language regions and cultural areas and, with multilingual teaching on many of our programmes, students are able to acquire attractive additional qualifications. As a result, there is no shortage of exchange opportunities: intensive contact with Canada, China and South Africa as well as other parts of Europe helps familiarise students with different working practices and professional environments.

Research

Applied research and development

At BFH, we carry out applied research and development. This means that we either provide research and development services on behalf of clients or carry out independent research that focuses on the needs of the market and the professional environment. We work in close cooperation with commercial enterprises, public institutions, the arts, administrative authorities and society in general. Research and development at BFH are concentrated within around twenty strategic research focuses which involve all of the BFH departments.

Students carry out research and development work in the context of semester projects and final dissertations. In collaboration with business partners and spin-off companies, these projects often result in marketable products.

Consulting services

Wide range of services

Our practical orientation allows us to offer a wide range of services. All of the departments provide consulting services for third parties, whether product testing, planning, consultancy or producing expert reports – BFH is a highly capable partner.

Facts + Figures

Profile

Established:

1 October 1997

Governing body:

Canton of Bern

Departments:

Eight (seven cantonal departments, one affiliated university)

Bachelor degree programmes:

30

Master degree programmes:

23

Languages of instruction:

German, French, partly in English

Students:

6,891

Percentage of women:

48 %

Staff:

2,418

Full-time equivalent:

1,603

As of: 31 December 2017

Students

Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering:

614

Health Professions:

1,144

School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences:

722

Bern University of the Arts:

1,152

Social Work:

668

Engineering and Information Technology:

1,297

Business:

1,130

Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen SFISM:

164

Total for all departments:

6,891

Source: Company report 2017, date: 31 December 2017

Staff

Professors and lecturers:

936

Assistants and research associates:

775

Administrative and technical personnel:

707

Total staff:

2,418

As of: 31 December 2017

More information

Vision + Mission

Vision

BFH is a leading, internationally renowned Swiss university of applied sciences that attracts creative, proactive and responsible individuals.

Mission

BFH prepares students for professions that apply scientific findings and methods or employ creative design skills. With its innovative, practice-based teaching, research and development, continuing education and consulting services, BFH makes a long-term contribution to Bern as a university and business location and offers an attractive environment for single-discipline and interdisciplinary projects. BFH is a university with regional roots but strong national and international connections, offering the perfect environment for students and staff to realise their full potential.

Strategy

Diverse, sound, dynamic – these are the values that define BFH. They are also reflected in our new strategy, which was drawn up in the course of a broad process, encompassing the whole of BFH with all of its various departments, committees and disciplines. BFH’s diversity and its connections form the basis of its strength. It provides the strategy with a strong foundation.

Our twelve strategic goals and their subgoals are assigned to four strategic lines of approach:

  • Unity and diversity as added value
  • Integration of teaching, research, continuing education and consulting services
  • Employees and social responsibility as cornerstones
  • Regional focus as a starting point

Mission statement

Bern University of Applied Sciences prepares students for professions that apply scientific findings and methods or employ creative design skills. Training and continuing education at Bern University of Applied Sciences and our research and development activities focus on practical application.

Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) is aligned to the following guiding principles:

  • Taking responsibility: BFH develops innovative solutions and addresses the needs of its economic, technical, cultural and social environment. It encourages the discussion of social values and helps its students, lecturers and staff to take responsibility.
  • Achieving sustainability: BFH pursues the goal of sustainability in its teaching, research and administration. We believe in respecting and protecting people and nature and investing our resources in the interest of sustainable results.
  • Developing collaborations: Strong partnerships help strengthen BFH’s position, both at home and abroad. They create added value for teaching and research as well as for knowledge and technology sharing.
  • Practising diversity: BFH cultivates diversity and promotes exchange between disciplines, mindsets and behavioural patterns. It uses its multilingualism to build bridges to other cultural regions and labour markets.
  • Strengthening quality: BFH defines itself as a learning organisation. We ascribe central importance to the systematic development of quality and diversity management in teaching, research, knowledge and technology sharing and administration.

Bern University of Applied Sciences fulfils its educational mandate as part of the Swiss system of higher education and takes a person-centred approach in all of its endeavours. Its success is founded on the commitment of its students, lecturers and staff.

Quality management

Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) defines itself as a learning organisation. We ascribe central importance to the systematic development of quality in teaching, research, knowledge and technology sharing and administration. BFH was institutionally accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Council in 2017.

Basis

Quality management at BFH follows the internationally recognised EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) model, which is built on a comprehensive understanding of quality management. The model allows quality management processes to be systematised and the organisational state of the university to be evaluated. It provides a guideline for conducting an insightful and comprehensive self-assessment while serving as a central theme running through quality development.

As part of the self-assessment, BFH regularly evaluates the quality of its programmes and services in all areas of the university. It is important to involve all stakeholders in the process: students, lecturers, directors and partners from industry, academia and society. BFH systematically uses the results of these evaluations to bring about improvements.

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More information

The EFQM Excellence Model provides a basis for systematically analysing an organisation. This model is designed to identify exactly where an organisation is on the path to excellence, helping it to understand the gaps and promoting solutions.

The model specifies a framework made up of nine criteria.

EFQM-Modell

These are separated into four ‘results’ criteria to assess the results of the organisation, and five ‘enablers’ to assess the reasons behind the results. These nine criteria are divided into 32 subcriteria, which are examined in greater detail using various points of reference.

BFH bases its self-assessments on the assessment catalogue published by the Rector’s Conference of Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences (KFH), which defines the relevant best practices.

BFH implements the EFQM Excellence Model as follows:

Leadership

Our executives set a personal example through their quality awareness and work actively for the ongoing development of a culture of excellence.

Strategy

Our activities adhere to the mission statement and strategic principles of BFH and define our development goals.

Staff

We want our staff to be independent, motivated, well-educated and happy. We therefore support them in their academic, personal and workplace-related interests and ensure equal opportunities.

Partnerships and resources

We employ our resources effectively and efficiently in order to achieve our goals. We also pursue collaborative partnerships – where they make good strategic sense.

Processes, products and consulting services

We ensure that workflows are simple and in line with the needs of students and clients by systematically structuring, optimising and constantly developing our processes.

Student and client-related results

We use the results from surveys on student and client satisfaction to develop our educational programmes, range of services and research activities and make them more attractive.

Staff-related results

Suggestions and feedback we receive via staff surveys are regularly discussed by the relevant committees and acted upon where possible.

Society-related results

Our various contacts with stakeholders from industry, society and the public and cultural sectors give fresh impetus to our activities.

Key results

Based on our financial results, we assess the extent to which targets have been met and identify key areas for improving and developing the quality of our products and services.

Excellence is about managing qualitative growth. It involves an organisation mastering all of the relevant success factors and systematically managing their interrelations.

The eight basic principles of excellence are:

EFQM Grundkonzepte Excellence

Organisations that demonstrate excellence are measured by their capacity to achieve consistently high performance that meets or surpasses the expectations of all parties involved. Achieving excellence requires the commitment of managers and staff as well as the widespread acceptance of the aforementioned eight basic principles.

Compulsory institutional accreditation was introduced for all types of higher education institutions in the Federal Act on Funding and Coordination of the Higher Education Sector (HFKG). It replaced the previous system of programme accreditation.

BFH is the first state university of applied sciences to receive accreditation at institutional level. The certification is based on the accreditation process carried out by the Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ). As a result of Swiss legal provisions, the Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen (SFISM) will be accredited independently.