The past 20 years have seen significant investments in Quality Assurance infrastructure across Europe, thanks largely to the focus on quality assurance provided by the Bologna Process. Starting with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) and European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET,) a multitude of standards provide guidance as to what constitutes quality. Quality approaches in institutions vary widely, and despite efforts to the contrary, often quality assurance is reduced to a “commitment to quality culture” supported by a bureaucratic and time consuming set of checks, often in the form of evaluation questionnaire of various kinds.
In fact, according to analysis from the European Commission contained in the Modernisation Agenda for Education, educational institutions are not:
- Equipping enough people with the right skills for modern society
- Doing enough to tackle social divisions, in particular with regards to people from low socioeconomic and migrant backgrounds
- Contributing enough to innovation in the places they are located, and
- Organized and funded in a way that allows them to work well.
Quality assurance policy in Europe has either been unable to detect or unable to resolve these issues. It is our hypothesis that this is due to quality assurance which is applied nearly exclusively a course/programme level rather than at institutional-strategy level, where it can be a lever for organizational transformation.
In analysing this phenomenon, we have identified a lack of formalised expertise in quality management amongst institutional top management as a key barrier limiting uptake. Often institutional leaders will have never received any formal training in QA-management, and thus, while having significant expertise as to what constitutes quality education, will have limited expertise in how to translate that mission and vision into a management system based on clear quality objectives, backed up by steady processes that will assure the adequate planning and realization of activities leading to the achievement of those objectives, as well as monitoring and analysing processes that will enable continual improvement.
The QA Lead project aims to address this gap by developing training & resource specifically tailored to supporting institutional leaders in their strategic role towards Quality Assurance.
Why this course?
Higher Education needs more than ever internal Quality Assurance Management at different leadership levels. Whether a state regulated educational institution or a private institution there is always a bond between the ministries of Education and the educational institutions.
Moreover, the stakeholders both internal and external are various in todays educational institutions and they all look at Quality assurance from a different perspective, so it is important for Leaders to understand from which angle each of their stakeholders look at quality assurance.
This course is directed to Higher Educational Institution Leaders at various levels. We believe there is no one size fits all, but some areas are of common interest to all. This course is both theoretical and practical at the same time, as you can experience from the various theory and various case studies and forms for practical use. This course is based on the experience and qualifications of the different partners of this project. The content applies on general terms to each Educational Institution. Therefore, we invite you to follow these modules titles:
1 Strategic Leadership
In this module you will learn about 8 elements that leaders must contemplate on and how to lead in a centralized or de centralized system. Communication is also a key aspect, and this module gives a different perspective on how to get the message across.
2 Purposes of Quality Assurance
In this module the purpose of Quality assurance is different to different stakeholders- learn through examples how this is seen and handled by leaders.
3 Creating a Quality Culture
In this module you will learn how to examine your Institutions and department culture and how to progress after evaluation.
4 Setting Quality Assurance objectives
In this module you will learn how to set quality assurance for programs and the Institution itself. It will make you reflect if you also have the correct organigram to carry out quality and also how to create the best quality assurance Unit.
5 Monitoring as part of Quality Assurance
In this module you have step by step what to do with data and monitoring. You will find a handy form to use or discuss a similar one in order to document your monitoring.
6 Acting on Feedback
In this module you will find steps on how to act on feedback and also how to create a communication channel for actions on feedback.
7 Rewarding Quality
In this module a healthy self reflection is created whether awards are the way forward or if they should be scrapped and replaced by Key performance indicators.
8 Specific Techniques
This module deals with specific tools to be used in order for quality assurance to remain sustainable.
The Learning outcomes for the above Modules are specific as underneath and due to the workload for each module the partners have chosen a selection of learning outcomes under each topic. This is a short course to help Leaders comprehend theoretically but at the same time help them practically to think, analyze and organize any further action required by their responsibilities in the areas they work in.