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Dr Chris Haslam Dean of Corporate Planning and Development University of Chester, United Kingdom Internal and external institutional quality assurance.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Chris Haslam Dean of Corporate Planning and Development University of Chester, United Kingdom Internal and external institutional quality assurance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Chris Haslam Dean of Corporate Planning and Development University of Chester, United Kingdom Internal and external institutional quality assurance … a healthy tension? 2nd Conference on Internal Quality Assurance at Higher Education Institutions 30 th November & 1 st December 2006, Bern (Switzerland)

2 2 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. Wir sollten nicht die Fehler finden, sondern die Lösungen Henry Ford

3 3 Scope of session The UKs external quality assurance framework The UKs external quality assurance framework The effect of external review on internal quality assurance and enhancement systems The effect of external review on internal quality assurance and enhancement systems Pre-requisites for external and internal institutional quality assurance? Pre-requisites for external and internal institutional quality assurance?

4 4 The UKs external quality assurance framework

5 5 UK drivers for quality assurance To facilitate national and international benchmarking To facilitate national and international benchmarking To inform interested stakeholders … who are increasingly demanding value for money To inform interested stakeholders … who are increasingly demanding value for money To secure consistency and comparability in baseline standards To secure consistency and comparability in baseline standards To stimulate product enhancement … and a raising of standards To stimulate product enhancement … and a raising of standards For accountability purposes (income c.41 billion CHF employing c.1.2% of the total UK workforce) For 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 Protection (and marketing) of the reputation of UK higher education in a global marketplace

6 6 The UK quality assurance landscape: principles Responsibility for assuring quality and standards resides with each institution Responsibility for assuring quality and standards resides with each institution Published sector-wide student surveys Published sector-wide student surveys An external institutional-level review system … with publication of information about quality and standards (direct cost c.34 million CHF per year) An 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 Implementation of a UK academic infrastructure

7 7 The UKs Academic Infrastructure A qualifications framework setting out the attributes of each award level A qualifications framework setting out the attributes of each award level Subject benchmark statements Subject benchmark statements A requirement for institutions to publish a detailed specification for each study programme …. a contract of engagement? A requirement for institutions to publish a detailed specification for each study programme …. a contract of engagement? A Code of Practice for quality assurance A Code of Practice for quality assurance

8 8 The UKs 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 9 Internal institutional quality assurance and enhancement Internal institutional quality assurance and enhancement External quality assurance organisation (Quality Assurance Agency) External quality assurance organisation (Quality Assurance Agency) The UK Academic Infrastructure Code of Practice Code of Practice Programme Specifications Programme Specifications Qualifications Framework Qualifications Framework Subject Statements Subject Statements 6yr institutional audit reports 6yr institutional audit reports Higher Education Academy (QE activity) Higher Education Academy (QE activity) Closing the loop … ?

10 10 The effect of external review on internal institutional quality assurance systems

11 11 Growth in the quality assurance business … QA Units, ISO9001, EFQM Extensive quality assurance frameworks detailed through regulations, ordinances, handbooks and manuals Establishment of quality and standards (or similar) deliberative committees at institutional and, increasingly, at sub-unit level

12 12 Increased engagement with students and other stakeholders … questionnaires, focus groups, consumer feedback mechanisms, alumni tracking Increased engagement with students and other stakeholders … questionnaires, focus groups, consumer feedback mechanisms, alumni tracking Accurate marketing of programmes … expectation management Accurate marketing of programmes … expectation management More careful programme design, delivery and assessment … improved student retention, progression and achievement More careful programme design, delivery and assessment … improved student retention, progression and achievement

13 13 Enhanced peer involvement (UK and overseas) in programme design, assessment and review … a more robust product with greater consistency of standards Enhanced peer involvement (UK and overseas) in programme design, assessment and review … a more robust product with greater consistency of standards Clear publication of procedures, expectations and commitments … mitigating potential litigation? Clear publication of procedures, expectations and commitments … mitigating potential litigation?

14 14 But … some frequently asked questions … Are detailed quality assurance frameworks improving product design, delivery and outcomes … or stifling creativity and dynamism? 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? 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? How does management strike an appropriate balance between control and promoting academic freedom?

15 15 External quality assurance – the lessons learned?

16 16 Has provided public reassurance both in the UK and overseas … other countries have followed the UK approach Has provided public reassurance both in the UK and overseas … other countries have followed the UK approach Students and other stakeholders do have a much stronger voice and opportunities to exert a positive influence Students and other stakeholders do have a much stronger voice and opportunities to exert a positive influence The number of external audit failures is very low (… but …) The number of external audit failures is very low (… but …)

17 17 Must offer value for money … and test reality not an artificial image of desired reality 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 publications Reports must be clear, timely and accessible to a variety of audiences … the benefits of learning from publications External organisations and their reviewers must have recognised expertise and up-to- date understanding of institutions External organisations and their reviewers must have recognised expertise and up-to- date understanding of institutions Should external quality assurance offer formal, as opposed to implied, accreditation? Should external quality assurance offer formal, as opposed to implied, accreditation?

18 18 Internal quality assurance – the lessons learned?

19 19 Quality assurance framework needs to be owned … whats in it for me? Quality assurance framework needs to be owned … whats in it for me? Avoid over-engineering and bureaucracy … a small quality committee with cross- institutional representation Avoid over-engineering and bureaucracy … a small quality committee with cross- institutional representation Essential to quickly disseminate good and poor practice … from both internal and external review processes Essential to quickly disseminate good and poor practice … from both internal and external review processes

20 20 Establish clear action plans … possibly linked to business planning cycles 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 surprises Self assessments must be reflective and critical … not bland statements of fact. Encourage openness … there should be no surprises Sustained commitment at senior level to QA and QE Sustained commitment at senior level to QA and QE Ensure intervention is in inverse proportion to risk Ensure intervention is in inverse proportion to risk

21 21 In conclusion … Evidence to suggest that external reviews do make a positive difference Evidence to suggest that external reviews do make a positive difference Institutions are more self critical and their processes are more explicit, transparent and consistent Institutions 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 External and internal review needs to be in proportion to perceived risk … need to remember that students interests come first … need to remember that students interests come first

22 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 23 Herzlichen Dank für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit und Ihr Interesse. Ihre Fragen beantworte ich gerne.

24 24 Contact information Dr Chris Haslam Dean of Corporate Planning and Development University of Chester Parkgate Road Chester CH1 4BJ Telephone: +44 (0) (Switchboard +44 (0) ) Web address:


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