Presentation on theme: "Dr Chris Haslam Dean of Corporate Planning and Development"— Presentation transcript:
1 Internal and external institutional quality assurance … a healthy tension? Dr Chris HaslamDean of Corporate Planning and DevelopmentUniversity of Chester, United Kingdom2nd Conference on Internal Quality Assurance atHigher Education Institutions30th November & 1st December 2006, Bern (Switzerland)
2 Wir sollten nicht die Fehler finden, sondern die Lösungen Henry Ford Ich danke Ihnen herzlich für Ihre Einladung, hier vor Ihrer Konferenz sprechen zu dürfen. Die Vorträge waren alle sehr interessant und ich hoffe, dass dieser Vortrag auch Diskussionen und Debatten anregt. Es tut mir leid, dass mein Deutsch und Französisch leider nicht gut genug sind, diesen Vortrag ganz auf Deutsch zu halten – es würde den ganzen Tag dauern. Ich hoffe deshalb, dass Sie meinen Beitrag auf Englisch akzeptieren. Bitte unterbrechen Sie mich, wenn Sie etwas nicht verstehen oder möchten, dass ich etwas wiederhole.
3 Scope of session The UK’s external quality assurance framework The effect of external review on internal quality assurance and enhancement systemsPre-requisites for external and internal institutional quality assurance?
5 UK drivers for quality assurance To facilitate national and international benchmarkingTo inform interested stakeholders … who are increasingly demanding value for moneyTo secure consistency and comparability in baseline standardsTo stimulate product enhancement … and a raising of standardsFor accountability purposes (income c.41 billion CHF employing c.1.2% of the total UK workforce)Protection (and marketing) of the reputation of UK higher education in a global marketplace
6 The UK quality assurance landscape: principles Responsibility for assuring quality and standards resides with each institutionPublished sector-wide student surveysAn external institutional-level review system … with publication of information about quality and standards (direct cost c.34 million CHF per year)Implementation of a UK ‘academic infrastructure’
7 The UK’s ‘Academic Infrastructure’ A qualifications framework setting out the attributes of each award levelSubject benchmark statementsA requirement for institutions to publish a detailed specification for each study programme …. a contract of engagement?A Code of Practice for quality assurance
8 The UK’s ‘Academic Infrastructure’ A Code of Practice for quality assurance- Postgraduate research programmes- Collaborative provision- Students with disabilities- External examining- Academic appeals and complaints- Student assessment- Programme approval, monitoring and review- Career education, information and guidance- Placement learning- Recruitment and admissions
9 Closing the loop … ? Internal institutional quality assurance and enhancement‘The UK Academic Infrastructure’6yrinstitutionalauditreportsCode ofPracticeProgrammeSpecificationsQualificationsFrameworkSubjectStatementsHigher EducationAcademy(QE activity)External qualityassurance organisation(Quality Assurance Agency)
10 The effect of external review on internal institutional quality assurance systems
11 Growth in the quality assurance ‘business’ … QA Units, ISO9001, EFQM Extensive quality assurance frameworks detailed through regulations, ordinances, handbooks and manualsEstablishment of quality and standards (or similar) deliberative committees at institutional and, increasingly, at sub-unit level
12 Increased engagement with students and other stakeholders … questionnaires, focus groups, consumer feedback mechanisms, alumni trackingAccurate marketing of programmes … expectation managementMore careful programme design, delivery and assessment … improved student retention, progression and achievement
13 Enhanced peer involvement (UK and overseas) in programme design, assessment and review … a more robust product with greater consistency of standardsClear publication of procedures, expectations and commitments … mitigating potential litigation?
14 But … some frequently asked questions … Are detailed quality assurance frameworks improving product design, delivery and outcomes … or stifling creativity and dynamism?Are internal quality assurance systems becoming increasingly over engineered … and, critically, eroding ownership amongst the academic community?How does management strike an appropriate balance between ‘control’ and promoting academic freedom?
15 External quality assurance – the lessons learned?
16 Has provided public reassurance both in the UK and overseas … other countries have followed the UK approachStudents and other stakeholders do have a much stronger voice and opportunities to exert a positive influenceThe number of external audit ‘failures’ is very low (… but …)
17 Must offer value for money … and test reality not an artificial image of desired reality Reports must be clear, timely and accessible to a variety of audiences … the benefits of ‘learning from’ publicationsExternal organisations and their reviewers must have recognised expertise and up-to- date understanding of institutionsShould external quality assurance offer formal, as opposed to implied, accreditation?
18 Internal quality assurance – the lessons learned?
19 Quality assurance framework needs to be owned … ‘what’s in it for me?’ Avoid over-engineering and bureaucracy … a small quality committee with cross- institutional representationEssential to quickly disseminate good and poor practice … from both internal and external review processes
20 Establish clear action plans … possibly linked to business planning cycles Self assessments must be reflective and critical … not bland statements of fact. Encourage openness … there should be no surprisesSustained commitment at senior level to QA and QEEnsure intervention is in inverse proportion to risk
21 In conclusion …Evidence to suggest that external reviews do make a positive differenceInstitutions are more self critical and their processes are more explicit, transparent and consistent… but it is also important that the cost/benefit balance is correct …External and internal review needs to be in proportion to perceived risk… need to remember that students’ interests come first
22 Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to try and find a successful outcome acceptable to all that counts.Winston Churchill
23 Herzlichen Dank für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit und Ihr Interesse Herzlichen Dank für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit und Ihr Interesse. Ihre Fragen beantworte ich gerne.
24 Contact informationDr Chris HaslamDean of Corporate Planning and DevelopmentUniversity of ChesterParkgate RoadChesterCH1 4BJTelephone: +44 (0)(Switchboard +44 (0) )Web address:
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