The paper aims to define a dashboard of indicators to assess the quality performance of higher education institutions (HEI). The instrument is termed SMART-QUAL.
Two sources were used in order to explore potential indicators. In the first step, information disclosed in official websites or institutional documentation of 36 selected HEIs was analyzed. This first step also included in depth structured high managers’ interviews. A total of 223 indicators emerged. In a second step, recent specialized literature was revised searching for indicators, capturing additional 302 indicators.
Each one of the 525 total indicators was classified according to some attributes and distributed into 94 intermediate groups. These groups feed a debugging, prioritization and selection process, which ended up in the SMART-QUAL instrument: a set of 56 key performance indicators, which are grouped in 15 standards, and, in turn, classified into the 3 HEI missions. A basic model and an extended model are also proposed.
The paper provides a useful measure of quality performance of HEIs, showing a holistic view to monitor HEI quality from three fundamental missions. This instrument might assist HEI managers for both assessing and benchmarking purposes. The paper ends with recommendations for university managers and public administration authorities.
Acknowledgements are due to all HEIs that kindly agreed to participate in this study. In addition, the SMART-QUAL team acknowledges the efforts and the insights provided by all the managers during the interviews.
Funding: This research was funded by the European Commission, through an Erasmus+ Project, under the program KA2 – cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices – strategic Partnerships for higher education. The project title is “SMART-QUAL: Structured indicators to manage HEI Quality System.” The project started in September 2020.
Adot, E., Akhmedova, A., Alvelos, H., Barbosa-Pereira, S., Berbegal-Mirabent, J., Cardoso, S., Domingues, P., Franceschini, F., Gil-Doménech, D., Machado, R., Maisano, D.A., Marimon, F., Mas-Machuca, M., Mastrogiacomo, L., Melo, A.I., Miguéis, V., Rosa, M.J., Sampaio, P., Torrents, D. and Xambre, A.R. (2022), "SMART-QUAL: a dashboard for quality measurement in higher education institutions", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-06-2022-0167
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