Building Quality Assurance Systems in Higher Education Jenni Soronen Planning and development Services
Background • Building Quality Assurance System in University of Oulu
European development • Building the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) • Competition in the global market • Higher education should be transparent and credible internationally • Student and labour mobility • Quality assurance is one of the key development areas in efforts to construct EHEA • European standards and guidelines for quality assurance
The Finnish model • Universities and universities of applied science develop QA systems covering all their operations • Each institution determines independently the objectives, organisation, principles, methods and development of its own system • QA Systems are evaluated regularly by Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council (see audit manual in English: http://www.kka.fi/pdf/julkaisut/KKA_406.pdf)
The quality assurance systems should: • meet the quality assurance criteria of the European Higher Education Area, • be part of the operational steering and management system, • cover the entire operation of the higher education institution, • be interrelated as part of the normal operations of the higher education institution, • be continuous, • be documented, • enable the participation of all members of the higher education community in quality work. The higher education institutions have the principle responsibility for the development and quality of the education they provide.
The goal of the audits • To evaluate how well the QA system works as a tool for quality management and enhancement • Audit looks at the qualitative aims institution has set and the processes and methods it uses to manage and enhance the quality of education and other activities • The aim is to determine if the QA system functions as intended, provides information needed to improve operations and leads to effective improvement measures
Auditing targets: • Definition and documentation of objectives, procedures, actors and responsibilities of the QA system 2) Comprehensiveness of quality assurance: a) Degree education b) Research/R&D c) Interaction with and impact on society, and contribution to regional development d) Support and other services (such as library and information services, career and recruitment services, and international services) e) Staff recruitment and development
3) Interface between the quality assurance system and management/steering 4) Participation of staff, students and external stakeholders in quality assurance 5) Relevance of, and access to, quality assurance information • within the HEI • for external stakeholders 6) Monitoring, evaluation and continuous development of the QA system 7) Overall structure and internal coherence of the QA system
Audit process: 1. The HEI registers for an audit. 2. An audit agreement is signed between the HEI and Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council. 3. The HEI collects the audit data and other material. 4. A meeting is arranged to prepare an audit visit. 5. The audit group visits the HEI. 6. An audit report is prepared. 7. The results are published, followed by a feedback meeting.
Background • QA system in teaching was developed in 1994 • There are many projects aiming for developing operations (Development projects in support services, management system and human recourses development) • International research assessment in 2007 (see more: http://ntsat.oulu.fi/rae2007/s/timetable.html) • Quality assurance benchmarking project with the Universities of Jyväskylä and Tampere • Quality work steering group was founded in 2006
The basic principles of QA system • Collaboration / cooperation • The QA system is based on and evolved as a conscious and systematic collaboration of the scientific community members in all operations • The QA system requires defining individuals and organs responsible for QA work, as well as the collaboration between them 2. Enhancement-led evaluation 3. Sharing best practices
Evaluations 3. External evaluations • For example international evaluations 2. Internalevaluation at university level 1. Self-Assessment in departments • Annual documentation • Reporting at intervals of three years • Performance negotiations between university administration and Faculties • Selecting and awarding quality units • Internal audits
OBJECTIVES OF QUALITY ASSURANCE RESULTS OF QUALITY ASSURANCE Research: More innovative and significant Ensuring and developing activities of the academic community on its own terms Learning: deeper and more cumulative COOPERATION/COLLABORATION University will reach its objectives and quality standards Services: respond better to the needs and interests of university and its operational environment ENHANCEMENT-LED EVALUATION Preconditions for innovative activities prevail Support services: supportcore operations as well as possible SHARING BEST PRACTICES Staff and students develop university activities together All operations are managed so that university willachieve its objectives and quality standards Best practices are developed and used Best practices are shared and spread better