2007:03 R

Evaluation of programmes in tourism studies in Sweden

This evaluation report contains the results of the evaluation of programmes in tourism studies at the University College of Kalmar, Mid-Sweden University and Södertörn  University College conducted by the National Agency during 2006. Tourism studies is a multi-disciplinary subject that comprises historical, geographical, physical, economic, social and cultural aspects of tourism. The evaluation was carried out by a panel of external assessors consisting of two university teachers and one student. The report is divided into two sections: one containing the decisions and reflections of the National Agency, the other the panel´s report. The panel of assessors are responsible for the content of their section of the report, which provides the basis for the decisions and reflections of the National Agency.
The general impression of the panel of assessors was that quality at the three higher education institutions evaluated was sound. On the whole the panel had met motivated and contented students. There is excellent social cohesion between the students and this is enhanced by the joint excursions, both locally and abroad. In view of the focus of the courses on travel and tourism, however, surprisingly few students go abroad for exchange studies.
The strongest points in these programmes can be found on the whole in the good cooperation with the tourist industry so that the theoretical premises of the teaching advantages can be matched with the surrounding community. For instance the students often complete project assignments and write their degree papers in cooperation with companies and organisations in the tourist branch. The supervisors of the degree papers also often acted as the examiners, which in the opinion of the panel of the assessors, should not occur.
There are still no teachers with PhD´s in tourism studies specifically in Sweden. Instead the teachers usually have backgrounds in subjects such as business administration, cultural geography and sociology. The level of research expertise is considered by the panel of assessors to be acceptable at all three higher education institutions, but should be enhanced to secure the provision of qualified teachers in the future. The panel gained the impression that the teachers were able to link their teaching with their own research work and, to some extent, the research of others. Much of the research undertaken by the teachers was dependent on external funding. Greater scope should be provided for teachers to enhance their qualifications in other ways.
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