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Article

Noha Elassy

This paper aims to create a theoretical model of student involvement in the institutional quality assurance process at their universities.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to create a theoretical model of student involvement in the institutional quality assurance process at their universities.

Design/methodology/approach

The model suggested in this paper was created and developed from a critical examination of relevant literature on stakeholder involvement in decision making and quality assurance processes, regarding different disciplines.

Findings

This paper presents a theoretical model of student involvement in the institutional quality assurance with its diminutions, categories and 20 rungs of student activities. It suggests a definition of student involvement term, regarding participating in the quality assurance process at higher education institutions. The importance of involving students in quality assurance procedures has been discussed. The paper provides some international experiences about student involvement in institutional QAP depending on the categories of student involvement activities that were suggested in the theoretical model.

Originality/value

The paper reveals a comprehensive model of student involvement that allows a full understanding of the extent and nature of the activities which higher education students undertake when they involve themselves in the quality assurance process at their institution.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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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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Article

Abdulai Abukari and Solomon David

This paper aims to critically examine the quality of professional doctorates (PDs) from the perspective of programme supervisors in terms of how quality assurance

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to critically examine the quality of professional doctorates (PDs) from the perspective of programme supervisors in terms of how quality assurance provisions have to meet their expectations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employed an interpretative approach, using semi-structured interviews and online semi-structured questionnaire to generate data from 25 programme supervisors across universities in the UK. Data analysis and interpretation were carried out using the interactive data analysis approach (Miles and Huberman, 1994), the “bottom–up” approach to data analysis (Creswell, 2012) and the interpretative strategy recommended by Mason (2002). Four themes emerged from the data that encapsulated programme advisors’ perspectives: characteristics of supervisors; opportunities in institutional quality assurance provision; challenges in quality assurance process for PDs; and supervisors’ views on how quality assurance in PD can be enhanced.

Findings

Quality assurance provisions have not adequately provided for the unique characteristics of PDs owing to a number of issues including lack of clarity on the philosophy and focus of PDs and conflicting perspectives among PD supervisors relating to what should ideally constitute a quality assurance process for PDs. This paper argues that to develop a relevant and robust quality assurance provision for PDs, it would be essential to ensure that the PD fundamental philosophy and focus are coherently explained. In addition, it is crucial to ensure that quality assurance provisions cover not only the academic rigor of higher level learning but also the value and potential impact of outcomes on practice and the professions. The paper also highlights a list of useful suggestions from supervisors on how to enhance quality assurance.

Research limitations/implications

The research identifies a number of issues confronting quality assurance in PDs and the need for academics and policymakers to work together to deal with these to achieve the full value in PDs. As the research was based on a sample of 25 supervisors in a conference, it would be difficult and unsustainable to generalise. Hence, further research using large sample sizes of supervisors and other stakeholders based on whole programmes would be useful to achieve a sustained understanding of how quality assurance provisions of PDs have to meet expectations of the professions and professional contexts.

Practical implications

To get the practical value and benefits of PDs, all stakeholders (academics, policymakers and professionals) would need to work together to ensure that appropriate quality assurance processes are developed to reflect the unique nature of the programmes.

Originality/value

The paper provides a critical perspective to the current debate on quality assuring PDs from the perspective of PD supervisors who have generally been left out. It highlights issues related to quality assuring PDs, the misalignment between quality assurance provisions and the philosophy and expectations of PDs, and suggests ways through which these can be appropriately addressed to enhance quality assurance in PDs. The main contribution from this research is that it brings to the fore what supervisors, who are a part of the major players in the PD process, think about the current state of quality assurance and what can be done to make it more effective.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article

Daniel A. López, Maria J. Rojas, Boris A. López and Oscar Espinoza

The purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between quality assurance, the traditional a priori approach, and a more recently developed empirical…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between quality assurance, the traditional a priori approach, and a more recently developed empirical classification of universities, as a means of assessing whether the different classification systems fulfill their original purpose. The study analyzes Chilean university classifications because they have been used in setting up higher education public policies.

Design/methodology/approach

The existing classifications of Chilean universities were identified in the literature. Researchers determined categories, criteria and/or indicators used, as well as their main purposes as described by the authors of the classifications. All the criteria and indicators identified were directly related to the quality of academic activities and to the results of the university accreditation processes. The institutional accreditation outcomes and variables were studied using univariate and multivariate statistical analysis.

Findings

The a priori approach proved to be consistent with the results of institutional quality assurance, despite of the variability in individual performances. The empirical systems, however, do not show any contribution to the improvement of public policies in higher education. The results clearly show that classifications based on performance do not necessarily ensure improvements in institutional quality.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, this analysis is the first study of the relationship between university classification and quality assurance. The growing number of proposals for different empirical classifications in Chilean universities is evidence of institutional diversity only. However, the classification designs did not respond to purposes such as public policies improvements and other expected results from these instruments.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Book part

Malivan Praditteera

The academic library is an important component of any university and is responsible for providing academic and research support to all members of the university community…

Abstract

The academic library is an important component of any university and is responsible for providing academic and research support to all members of the university community. At present, higher education institutions in Thailand are trying to evaluate and improve their quality by implementing quality assurance models/mechanisms. Libraries, as critical supporting organizations in these institutions, also need to improve their quality. As a service organization, academic libraries are faced with the need to satisfy their clientele and to measure and evaluate their services. There is a need, therefore, for librarians to take positive steps to insure that their clients receive quality services.

Details

Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-284-9

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Article

Daniel A. López, Maria J. Rojas, Boris A. López and Daniel C. López

The purpose of this paper is to conduct a quantitative analysis of the university accreditation processes in Chilean universities. The aim is to determine the effects of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conduct a quantitative analysis of the university accreditation processes in Chilean universities. The aim is to determine the effects of the different variables, especially the type of institutions (state- and privately owned, with and without state financial support) on the results obtained.

Design/methodology/approach

Univariate and multivariate statistical analysis of official data.

Findings

Results indicate consistency in the accreditation processes in Chilean universities, as those variables directly associated with the processes accounted for approximately 70 per cent of the variation in the length of accreditation periods (between 0 and seven years), these variables being the ones that defined the type of universities. High dispersion was found in six state-owned universities that behaved as if they were private universities and in two private universities that behaved as if they were state universities. However, a high percentage of the universities included in the analysis maintained their affiliation to their corresponding legal group, when their performance in accreditation processes was analyzed.

Originality/value

The results of the university accreditation processes in Chile have been the focus of a intense debate due to the legal and economic conflicts between the different types of universities. This study constitutes the first scientific analysis of the results of these processes, especially in terms of the performance of the different types of universities, thus enabling a better interpretation of the results. This information is useful not only in the terms of the legal reforms that are being carried out in Chile, but they also help the understanding of the processes of accreditation of higher education in other Latin American countries.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 23 no. 2
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

Norman J. Jackson

The article introduces the idea of programme specification and background to the development of policy by the Quality Assurance Agency. Programme specification will…

Abstract

The article introduces the idea of programme specification and background to the development of policy by the Quality Assurance Agency. Programme specification will promote an outcomes approach to learning and the specification of standards across UK higher education and provide the basis for a new national quality assurance framework that focuses primarily on academic standards. It argues that the process of producing and justifying programme specifications will have an important influence on academic and quality assurance practices and the product (the programme specification) will result in new types of information about higher education learning.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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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…

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

Mantz Yorke

The external examiner system in higher education is, for a variety of reasons, widely believed to be under strain: as a result, the role of the external examiner has, in…

Abstract

The external examiner system in higher education is, for a variety of reasons, widely believed to be under strain: as a result, the role of the external examiner has, in recent years, come under particular scrutiny. Reports a survey of current and desired practice regarding external examining in higher education courses in art and design. Suggests that, in these disciplines, it is generally desired that external examiners act in an auditing role rather than become involved in details of assessment practice. The manifested desire for external examiners to take the role of “course consultant” introduces a tension which may not be capable of resolution under existing expectations of external examining. Claims that there is a need to reconstrue the role of the external examiner within a broader framework of quality assurance processes if maximum benefit is to be gained from an external perspective.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

Keywords

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