Can Invitational Institutional Audits make a Cost-Effective Contribution to Quality Enhancement?
Second International Conference on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 17-19 September 2007, Can Invitational Institutional Audits make a Cost-Effective Contribution to Quality Enhancement? Willie Clarke-Okah & John Daniel, Commonwealth of Learning // Most national quality assurance agencies conduct quality audits of higher education institutions in their jurisdictions. This paper draws lessons from institutional audits that were carried out on the initiative of universities themselves, either in anticipation of a future audit by the national QA agency (UNISA, South Africa) or as a catalyst for reform (University of Ghana). These audits provided useful guidance but their direct and indirect costs were considerable (at least $100,000 in out-of-pocket expenses and many hours of institutional staff time) because they involved large international teams of experts. Can such audits be made more cost-effective whilst retaining their credibility? The paper suggests four measures for doing this. // First, most QA agencies require self-assessments to be conducted prior to audit visits using set procedures. These should also be carried out before invitational audits under procedures agreed by the institution and its audit team and should include any student or graduate survey data. Where self-assessment is a novel experience, this process has the additional benefit of providing a basis for ongoing QA structures and processes. // Second, the institutional authorities (Vice-Chancellor/President; Governing Board Chair) must be committed to the audit and the audit team must understand the context for reform and any major national or institutional constraints. The institution should make experienced staff available as a secretariat for the audit team. // Third, an invitational audit will likely highlight significant issues of governance. Audit teams must be equipped to analyze them and institutional leadership be ready to address them. // Fourth, in inviting members to join the audit team, the institution must choose both local and international figures likely to be perceived within the institution as both credible and objective. The team should include (or be able to call on) expertise in academic programmes, governance & management, and infrastructure & resources. // If this model is followed it should be possible to provide the institution with a cost-effective audit on the basis of a visit of a week or less by a team of not more than six members.
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Quality Assurance and Cross Border Higher Education in the Commonwealth: The Work of the Commonwealth of Learning Daniel, John; Kanwar, Asha; Clarke-Okah, Willie (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2006-09-21)We shall begin by looking at the current situation of Crossborder Higher Education (CBHE) in the Commonwealth and ask whether crossborder HE providers are latter-day pirates or contribute significantly to the educational ...
Clarke-Okah, Willie (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2008-02-11)I'm here today to talk about quality in higher education in keeping with the theme of Quality Assurance Week, "Promoting Quality in Tertiary Education through Leadership."// I'm going to tell you a bit about the Commonwealth ...
Daniel, John; Clarke-Okah, Willie; Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2008-01-31)I am honoured to have the opportunity of presenting two brown-bag seminars at the World Bank in two days. Today the general issue that I shall address is the renewal of African universities. I shall focus on this through ...
Clarke-Okah, Willie; Daniel, John (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2010-01-28)In countries where quality assurance systems are not well established universities can find it useful to invite external visitation panels to advise them on quality improvement and wider issues. However, these can be costly. ...
Coomaraswamy, Uma; Clarke-Okah, Willie (Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 2009)The massification of higher education in many countries is placing tremendous pressure on higher education institutions (HEIs) to open up their doors to increasing numbers of students as demand for access to higher education ...