University of Southern Denmark’s quality enhancement system is linked with external quality assurance systems (i.a. programme accreditation), and it corresponds with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (www.enqa.eu/pubs_esg.lasso
The activities regarding educational quality are as a natural fact closely related to each single education. The framework conditions for offering educations and the quality documentation requirements are, on the contrary, common for the entire palette of educations.
We divide the activities regarding educational quality into three focus areas:
- The quality organisation – common, unifying and rooted in the Executive Board
- The quality policy – University of Southern Denmark’s eight sub-policies for the educational area
- Documentation of the compliance with the requirements set by the eight sub-policies for the educational area and other internal and external activities with importance to quality development
First of all the quality organisation is characterised by clarifying the overall responsibility of the Executive Board in securing that policies and external requirements regarding educational quality are converted into good practice. This is due to the fact that managerial endorsement generally is decisive for the success of quality development activities. Secondly the management of the quality organisation reflects the formal management hierarchy from rector to dean and head of studies. The true realisation of the quality efforts has to take place as close to the learning environments and places of study as possible. That is partly through head of studies and student administration, partly through the individual teaching activities linked to the departments. The quality organisation is linked to the management structure through the Quality Enhancement Council (KUR-U) and the Student Administrative Coordination Group (SAK). The Quality Enhancement Council coordinates the development of the quality policy and monitors and takes stock of the educational quality in compliance with the established policies. The Student Administrative Coordination Group (SAK) supports and contributes to the implementation of approved sub-policies at faculties and the Central Administration.
The quality policy reflects the students’ progress from potential applicant to student and graduate. The quality policy represents a set of goals and standards for quality expressed through eight sub-policies regarding admission and market communication, study start, development of new education programme, study management and student administration, university pedagogical practice, study environment, form of examination and evaluation of teaching and labor market and lifelong learning. The sub-policies contain a number of elements each expressing an objective, a standard, a number of guidelines stating examples of best practice, and one or more indicators with a clear indication of the one responsible for the goal achievement. The sub-policies were formulated in 2006-2009 in a bottom-up process involving students, teachers, management representatives and administrative staff.
Gathering, analysis and usage of relevant information
How well we comply with the requirements set by the eight sub-policies for the educational area is documented as part of the third focus area. Besides these internal activities the documentation may also include a number of external standards and sets of requirements with different contributions to educational quality (accreditation of programmes, national regulations, the qualifications framework and benchmarking, among others). For more specific information on the national system for accreditation of programmes we refer to the website of ACE Denmark, the Danish Accreditation Institution: www.acedenmark.eu.