Student Involvement in Quality Assurance in Higher Education The case of Norway presented by Tove Blytt Holmen
The Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Norway • 42 state-owned HEIs (6 full-scale universities, 5 specialized universities, 25 university colleges, 2 academies of fine art and 4 military colleges). 70% of the students attend state-owned universities. • 20 private HEIs with financial support from the state (1 specialized university, 1 university college, 18 not accredited as institution). 30% of the students attend private institutions for higher education.
Governance at the Institutional Level • The Board of each state-owned HEI will consist of eleven members: four academic representatives, one representative from the technical and administrative staff, two student representatives, four external members appointed by the Ministry • Student representatives should have at lest 20% of the seats, two seats at the minimum, in all executive bodies of the institution • For a private institution the Board shall be composed by at least five members and have representatives from the students and staff. If the Board has more than ten members, the groups representing studients and staff shall have at least two members.
NOKUT’s Board • Overall responsibility for NOKUT’s activities and decisions • Eight members: one student, one staff, the other six are not defined Appeals Board • Six members of which two are students
Institutional Autonomy Power to establish any study programme (BA, MA, PhD) Power is limited. The institusjonen can not offer study programmes in the field without accreditation and a final decision by The Ministry of Education.
The Norwegian Model of Quality Assurance Accreditation HEIs and their portefolio QAS Revision of accreditation Audit Revision of accreditation
Standards for institutional quality assurance systems • Satisfactorily documentation • Applicable to the whole process of teaching and learning • Capable of revealing poor quality • Includes routines to ensure continous improvement of the system
Programme accreditation; standards and criteria • Curriculum • Staff • Internationalisation • Infrastructure • Quality assurance The criteria are fairly detailed, but gives the experts room for qualitative judgements All criteria have to be met at a certain minimum level
Experts - Important competencies • High level of academic understanding • Regarding the institution as a whole (audit and institutional accreditation) • Regarding the specific programme (re-accreditation of programmes) • Experience on how to communicate on equal basis • Personal integrity
NOKUT will search for experts within it’s own network • Generally NOKUT will not ask for proposals from institutions on expert candidates • … other than from the student unions
Training of experts • Training of experts will differ concerning standing committees for auditing and ad-hoc committees for accreditation of programmes • Experts from society/employers and student are two of a kind • Re-use of experts from one evaluation to another • We will try to engage former (student) experts to tell about their experience when a new panel meets for the first time
… something to think about? • Students are natural members of panels that evaluates quality assurance systems, study programmes and HEIs for accreditation purposes • Students act as board members of QAAs • If we believe in student value, involving students in external evaluation of higher education as well as of QAAs will be a proof of this • If we don’t believe in student value – why be afraid to try? (As long as we have such a profound belief in the other members’ capasity)