Frequently asked questions regarding the Guide to the Certification of IQAs Implementation
The purpose of review is to analyse compliance with the standards and dimensions in the certification guidebook using IQAs procedures. An evaluation is therefore made of compliance with the standards and dimensions, but not the procedures.
The faculty needs to demonstrate that it fosters a culture of continuous improvement and enhancement. It is important however for institutions to design and implement procedures that address their actual needs and situation.
This is one of the key aspects of the review, the purpose of which is to analyse the coherency and alignment of the faculty's quality policy and objectives with those of the institution. It is therefore not an evaluation of the quality objectives of either the faculty or the institution.
The quality policy and quality objectives are understood to mean different things. The quality policy mirrors the overall intentions and the approach to quality assurance adopted by the faculty. The objectives of quality assurance, on the other hand, set out the quality policy and as such will need to include definitions relating to actions, indicators, those responsible and deadlines. The faculty will need to continuously monitor the objectives that are set.
The aim is to verify that the procedures are introduced and operational.
One important aspect is to show that the procedures are analysed and improved. This will help to establish whether a quality culture really has been instigated or not.
The most important thing is to control and improve the procedure. If there is a lack of coherence between the written instructions and what is actually undertaken, the IQAs should provide for the correction of any such disparity.
The faculty has to define the procedure, implement it and, most importantly, gather information so that those responsible for the procedures can make decisions in order to improve the outcomes of the procedures.
The focus of university-wide procedures is that they are carried out at university level, i.e. they are not the responsibility of the faculty.
It is the higher education institution that decides whether a procedure is to be carried out at university or faculty level.
Data acquired from university-wide procedures are for use by the faculty for analysis and enhancement purposes (i.e. they serve as indicators for the faculty).
Yes, in order for a procedure at university level to be improved and to control and improve the way in which it is applied at faculty level. For example, an improvement might be a proposal to a vice-rector or decision-making body in the faculty to improve the university-wide procedure.
The critical thing is to define the chain of responsibility.
In the majority of cases there will be just one person who is in charge of this. There may, however, also be a committee (this situation should only occur occasionally).
The person in charge of the procedure will need to be attentive to the results and outcomes of the procedure and will thereby need to have decision-making capacity. In cases where the responsibility lies with a committee, the committee moderator/chair shall be responsible for the procedure.
A procedure is identified according to the person who is usually defined as being in charge of the procedure, although somebody else may be responsible for specific stages of the procedure.
For example, there is somebody (usually the vice-rector) in charge of programme design. At a particular point in the procedure, this (programme design) is assigned to the faculty and then afterwards it again becomes the responsibility of the vice-rector. In this example, the vice-rector is responsible for the procedure, with the programme coordinator being responsible for the academic design of the study programme.
A revision of the system means "everything". In addition to a revision of the procedures themselves, the results and efficacy of the procedures need to be reviewed, together with the quality policy and the progress made towards policy objectives.
The objective is to provide an overview of the situation: effectiveness of the outcomes resulting from the revision of the procedures, the quality policy and objectives, and the decisions made to ensure that the IQAs functions correctly.
Revision of the IQAs implies quality assurance in both the present and the future.
One important aspect that is taken into account is decision-making, which may be referred to in a proposal for enhancement.
The revision of the system might form part of the day-to-day running of the faculty, for example, at the level of the faculty's governing board.
There are currently certain scheduling issues between these two revision procedures, and so the objective is to prevent actions that have already been carried out from being repeated. If IQAs revision is described in the faculty's monitoring progress report, it is proposed that it is referred to here, with the revision of the IQAs being left as a meta-evaluation procedure.
The enhancement plan should at least include: a definition of the enhancement measures, the tasks to be carried out, the person in charge, the deadline and an indicator, and prioritisation. The enhancement plan will need to specify the measures that are the faculty's responsibility and the ones that are not (for example, those that are the responsibility of the vice-rector's office).
In cases where enhancement measures depend on the faculty, the faculty is responsible for referring them to the corresponding person in charge so that they are carried out.
A check has to be made that actions that have been defined have actually been undertaken. This should be at least twice during the academic year.
For example, the level of compliance of enhancement actions from previous academic years can be checked in the revision of the IQAs (dimension 1).
This decision is up to the faculty. Ideally, one enhancement plan will be drawn up as this will provide the faculty with an overall enhancement plan.
This is linked to the institution's structure of leadership.
The purpose here is to analyse whether those in charge of each procedure can easily access all of the documentation associated with the procedures.
This can be done with either a system of digital folders (for example, Office) or an IT platform (document manager).
There are indicators for procedures and quality objectives.
If quality objectives are set, "objective" values need to be established for these.
A "pass" assessment will be given if the faculty has indicators and measures them.
A "satisfactory" assessment will be given if the faculty has indicators, measures them and sets an objective value to be attained.
The stakeholders are specifically identified in standard 1.1. This aspect however affects all of the dimensions. The stakeholders will therefore need to be identified in each procedure.
Mechanisms are in place to work on and enhance the reliability of results. For example, the institution is aware of its results and implements measures to improve their reliability.