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Article

Lynne Bowker

Using a descriptive case study approach, this paper aims to validate academic librarians’ perceptions that they are marginalized by faculty during academic program reviews

Abstract

Purpose

Using a descriptive case study approach, this paper aims to validate academic librarians’ perceptions that they are marginalized by faculty during academic program reviews, and recommends ways for the two groups to collaborate more effectively to make program reviews more meaningful.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes a case study at a Canadian university where the six types of documents produced as part of the program review process for ten graduate programs were analyzed using corpus analysis tools and techniques, such as keyword generation and key word in context analysis. For each program, documents were examined to determine the volume and nature of the discussion involving libraries in the self-study, library report annex, site visit itinerary, external reviewers’ report, academic program’s response and final assessment report.

Findings

The empirical evidence from the corpus analysis validates the findings of previous perception-based studies and confirms that librarians currently have a minor role in program reviews. Best practices and gaps emerged, prompting five recommendations for ways in which academic librarians can play a more meaningful role in the program review process.

Practical implications

The results suggest that programs are not currently putting their best foot forward during program reviews, but this could be improved by including librarians more fully in the program review process.

Originality/value

The present study contributes to the existing body of knowledge about the role of academic librarians in the program review process by providing direct and empirical measures to triangulate previous perception-based investigations that rely on surveys and interviews. It summarizes limitations of the current institutional quality assurance process and the benefits to be gained by involving librarians more in the process. It offers recommendations for policymakers and practitioners with regard to potential best practices for facilitating librarian involvement in academic program reviews.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article

Lynne Bowker

This paper aims to investigate the potential benefits and limitations associated with aligning accreditation and academic program reviews in post-secondary institutions…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the potential benefits and limitations associated with aligning accreditation and academic program reviews in post-secondary institutions, using a descriptive case study approach.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes two Canadian graduate programs that are subject to both external professional accreditation and institutional cyclical reviews, as they underwent an aligned review. The process was developed as a collaborative effort between the academic units, the professional associations and the university’s graduate-level quality assurance office. For each program, a single self-study was developed, a single review panel was constituted, and a single site visit was conducted. The merits and challenges posed by the alignment process are discussed.

Findings

Initial feedback from the academic units suggests that the alignment of accreditation and program reviews is perceived as reducing the burden on programs with regard to the time and effort invested by faculty, staff and other stakeholders, as well as in terms of financial expenses. Based on this feedback, along with input from reviewers and program evaluation committee members, 14 recommendations emerged for ways in which an aligned review process can be set up for success.

Practical implications

The results suggest that aligned reviews are not only resource-efficient but also allow reviewers to provide more holistic feedback that faculty may be more willing to engage with for program enhancement.

Originality/value

The present study contributes to the existing body of knowledge about conducting aligned reviews in response to external accreditation requirements or institutional needs. It summarizes the potential benefits and limitations and offers recommendations for potential best practices for carrying out aligned reviews for policymakers and practitioners.

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Article

Sheelagh Wickham, Malcolm Brady, Sarah Ingle, Caroline McMullan, Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl and Ray Walshe

Ideally, quality should be, and is, an integral element of education, yet capturing and articulating quality is not simple. Programme quality reviews in third-level…

Abstract

Purpose

Ideally, quality should be, and is, an integral element of education, yet capturing and articulating quality is not simple. Programme quality reviews in third-level education can demonstrate quality and identify areas for improvement, offering many potential benefits. However, details on the process of quality programme review are limited in the literature. This study aims to report on the introduction of a standardised programme review process in one university.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a standardised template, the annual programme review (APR) process captured student voice, external examiner reports, statistical data and action/s since the previous review. Following completion of programme reviews across the university, the APR process was itself evaluated using questionnaires and focus groups.

Findings

Findings showed that the programme chairs understood the rationale for the review, welcomed the standardised format and felt the information could inform future programme planning. However, in the focus group, issues arose about the timing, ownership and possible alternate use of the data collected in the course of the review.

Research limitations/implications

This case study demonstrates the experience of APR in a single third-level institution, therefore, limiting generalisability.

Practical implications

APR offers a comprehensive record of the programme that can be carried out with efficacy and efficiency. The study illustrates one institution’s experience, and this may assist others in using similar quality evaluation tools. Using APR allows quality to be measured, articulated and improved.

Social implications

Using APR allows quality, or its lack to be to be measured, articulated and improved in the delivery of education at a third-level institution.

Originality/value

This study demonstrates the experience of the introduction of an APR process in one higher education institute. Programme review is an important and essential part of academia in the 21st century. At third level, quality assurance is, or should be, a central part of academic programmes and delivery. The review of the first implementation has provided valuable information that will inform future programme review processes. Academic programmes grow, evolve and need to be reviewed regularly. It is hoped that the information reported here will aid others developing academic review procedures.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article

Sedig Ahmed Babikir Ali, Mohammad Nazir Ahmad, Nor Hidayati Zakaria, Ahmed Mohammed Arbab and Kamal Badr Abdalla Badr

Standards should provide a means for transparently comparing academic programmes delivered by higher education providers and the research activities they carry out. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Standards should provide a means for transparently comparing academic programmes delivered by higher education providers and the research activities they carry out. The purpose of this study is to investigate the different sets of standards related to the quality assurance of academic programmes in four countries with regard to the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG), developed by the European Association for Quality Assurance, for internal quality assurance within higher education institutions. The main aim is to find the convergence and divergence points and to test the consistency of terminologies in use which may impede international collaboration to develop one comprehensive international quality assurance system.

Design/methodology/approach

The study relied solely on desk-based research and no fieldwork or interviews were conducted for data collection; a point-by-point comparative approach has been applied to explore the standards related to quality assurance of academic programmes.

Findings

Although there is a great deal of convergence between the different sets of standards compared in this study, fundamental differences still exist.

Research limitations/implications

This study compared the standards of academic programmes in four countries with the ESG. To generalise the findings of this study, future research may include other standards for comparison.

Originality/value

This study engages in the debate of how quality of higher education will remain maintained, in times, when higher education is facing challenges such as internationalisation, which requires new initiatives and integrated mechanisms to facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications of students and staff moving across borders.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article

David Eastwood and Jennifer Blumhof

This article is written by the chairman and a panel member of the UK Benchmarking Group in Earth Science, Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. In it we have…

Abstract

This article is written by the chairman and a panel member of the UK Benchmarking Group in Earth Science, Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. In it we have discussed the broad “purpose” of benchmarking and the timescale and remit afforded to the group. As far as the benchmark statement itself is concerned, we have reviewed the statement section by section concentrating especially both on the rationale underpinning each section and the way in which the statement may be used for the purpose of academic review. Finally, we have looked briefly at the process of academic review itself, in so far as it is understood at the moment. Although we are confident that the Benchmarking Group as a whole would agree with the vast majority of this article, nonetheless it must be seen as representing only our own views.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article

Daniel W. Lang

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the province over time has addressed problems that are generic to many jurisdictions in assuring quality: level of aggregation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the province over time has addressed problems that are generic to many jurisdictions in assuring quality: level of aggregation, pooling, definition of new and continuing programs, scope of jurisdiction, role of governors, performance indicators, relationship to accreditation, programs versus credentials, benchmarking and isomorphism. The paper will pay particular attention to the balance between institutional autonomy in promoting quality and innovation in contrast to system-wide standards for assuring quality. The Province of Ontario has had some form of quality assurance since 1969. For most of the period since then, there were separate forms for undergraduate and graduate programs. Eligibility for public funding is based on the assurance of quality by a buffer body. In 2010, after two years of work, a province-wide task force devised a new framework.

Design/methodology/approach

The structure of the paper is a series of “problem/solution” discussions, for example, aggregation, pooling, isomorphism and jurisdiction.

Findings

Some problems are generic, for example, how to define a “new” program. Assuring quality and enhancing quality are fundamentally different in terms of process.

Research limitations/implications

Although many of the problems discussed are generic, the paper is based on the experience of one jurisdiction.

Practical implications

The article will be useful in post-secondary systems seeking to balance autonomy and innovation with central accountability and standardization. It is particularly applicable to undifferentiated systems.

Social implications

Implications for public policy are mainly about locating the most effective center of gravity between assuring quality and enhancing quality, and between promoting quality and ensuring accountability.

Originality/value

The approach of the discussion and analysis is novel, and the results portable.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Book part

Edward Lumande, Babakisi Tjedombo Fidzani and Silas Oluka

This case study looks at building partnerships and networking relationships that developed in the course of implementing a three-year (August 2009–August 2012) Information…

Abstract

This case study looks at building partnerships and networking relationships that developed in the course of implementing a three-year (August 2009–August 2012) Information Literacy (IL) in Higher education project “Developing an Information Literacy Programme for Lifelong Learning for African Universities” funded by Development Partners in Higher Education (DelPHE). The process leading to the end of the project has been enriching and opened windows to various professional networking relationships and institutional cooperation within the African region and with those abroad. The contacts have opened new avenues for further research and collaboration in areas such as monitoring and evaluation of the IL programs in Higher Education (HE) institutions. The University of Botswana (UB) has benefited from these collaborative initiatives and this chapter traces the partnerships that evolved in the course of institutionalizing and embedding information literacy at UB, its participation in the DelPHE project, and how the leadership took advantage of opportunities that came along in order to augment and enrich the activities and outcomes of the project as well as promote the university’s vision and mission. The chapter concludes by highlighting some of the benefits and challenges of collaboration among institutions, organizations, and individual professionals in advancing the institutional policies, strategic plans, and interests which may be at variance and how some of these challenges can be overcome.

Details

Developing People’s Information Capabilities: Fostering Information Literacy in Educational, Workplace and Community Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-766-5

Keywords

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Book part

Denton L. Collins, Kirsten A. Cook and Matthew T. Hart

Research readings groups represent a recent innovation in accounting doctoral education that appears to be spreading at research-oriented universities. In this chapter…

Abstract

Research readings groups represent a recent innovation in accounting doctoral education that appears to be spreading at research-oriented universities. In this chapter, the authors describe how accounting research readings groups can serve as a mechanism to engage doctoral students in the consumption and discussion of research throughout all phases of the doctoral program. An accounting research readings group supplements the breadth of knowledge gained in doctoral seminars by adding depth of knowledge in a focal research area. The authors offer insights from the educational psychology literature to justify research readings groups as a form of team-based learning and then offer suggestions on the formation and operation of these groups. The authors enumerate the many benefits that these groups afford to both doctoral students and faculty members. The authors also distribute a survey to faculty organizers of the existing accounting research readings groups and share the results of this survey to supplement their advice with firsthand experiences, the authors also share the results of a survey distributed to faculty organizers of existing accounting research readings groups. The authors’ goal is to encourage the use of accounting research readings groups to inspire, foster, and enhance the research culture within accounting departments and doctoral programs.

Details

Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-540-1

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Article

Norman Jackson

Examines the proposals made by the National Committee of Inquiry in Higher Education (Dearing Report) for a national quality assurance regime that is focused on academic

Abstract

Examines the proposals made by the National Committee of Inquiry in Higher Education (Dearing Report) for a national quality assurance regime that is focused on academic standards. Provides a simple conceptual aid to explain relationships between the elements of the policy framework. Considers the methodologies that are being developed by the Quality Assurance Agency and the implications for institutional and academic practice. Identifies factors and issues that will need to be considered during policy development.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Book part

Megan Y.C.A. Kek and Sara Hammer

In this chapter, we report on a meta-analysis of 30 refereed journal articles published between 1996 and 2015 by academic developers from Australasia, Britain and South…

Abstract

In this chapter, we report on a meta-analysis of 30 refereed journal articles published between 1996 and 2015 by academic developers from Australasia, Britain and South Africa. We used a disciplinary lens to examine academic development research during this period. Specifically, we analysed the academic development literature to identify ‘ways of knowing’, the extent of explicit use of theories and research methods. Findings indicate that academic development research continues to be largely experiential, under-theorised and fragmentary. Articles analysed tended to fall within three research clusters, including education and educational psychology; professional learning and scholarship of learning and teaching; and sociology and philosophy. Qualitative research methods and psychological and sociological disciplinary lenses were dominantly referenced and adopted.

Details

Theory and Method in Higher Education Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-287-0

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