Learning Our Lesson

Learning Our Lesson

Review of Quality Teaching in Higher Education You do not have access to this content

Institutional Management in Higher Education

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Fabrice Hénard
09 Feb 2010
9789264079281 (PDF) ;9789264079274(print)

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Leaders and academics can improve the quality of higher education teaching, and thereby the quality of their graduates, by reflecting on institution-wide practices. This book explores the interplay between actors within institutions, organisational structure, commitment of senior leadership, involvement of faculty and students, and evaluation instruments.

Based on an OECD review of 46 quality teaching initiatives in 20 countries, the report highlights the significant impact of the institutions’ environment, trends in the quality of academia, teaching methods and learning conditions. The sample represents 29 higher education institutions, from technological and vocational institutions to business and economic schools, from small undergraduate institutions to multidisciplinary postgraduate universities. 

The book illustrates the following factors with examples from around the world:

  • the aims of institutions when fostering quality teaching, their options and the guiding philosophy behind a quality approach;
  • concrete ways to apply quality teaching initiatives, challenges to implementing them, and key actors in their dissemination;
  • evaluation systems and the impacts of institutional support on teaching, research and quality culture;
  • how institution-wide approaches can be combined to enhance quality teaching in a sustainable way.

The book also analyses the effects of quality teaching on institutional leaders, faculty members, quality units and students.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements
    In the context of the sustained growth and diversification of higher education systems, the higher education sector and wider society is increasingly concerned about the quality of programmes offered to students. As a result, there is an increase in public assessments and international comparisons of higher education institutions, not only within the higher education sector but in the general media. However, evaluation methods tend to overemphasise research, and to use research performance as a yardstick of an institution’s value. If these assessment processes fail to address the quality of teaching, it is in part because measuring teaching quality is complex and difficult.
  • Executive Summary
    Higher education is becoming a major driver of economic competitiveness in an increasingly knowledge-driven global economy. The imperative for countries to improve employment skills calls for quality teaching within educational institutions. National and transnational debates like the Bologna Process, direct state regulations or incentives, competition among private and state-owned institutions all prompt institutions to put quality teaching on their agenda. Moreover, national quality assurance agencies push for reflection on the subject, even if their influence is controversial.
  • Institutions and Quality Teaching Initiatives under Focus
    This chapter illustrates the distinctive features of 29 higher education institutions from 20 OECD and non-OECD countries, collecting information and setting benchmarks on the quality of their teaching. It provides a general overview of institutions and shows how their main commitments to enhance quality teaching are valued differently depending on their profile. The institutions are grouped into five profiles based on four criteria: size of institution, level of study, major discipline(s), and level of autonomy and selection of students. It examines the extent to which each institution is involved in quality teaching initiatives with its different target audiences.
  • The Origins of Engagement in Quality Teaching
    This chapter discusses the engagement of national authorities, and state regulations or incentives in quality teaching. It also outlines the impact of quality assurance systems on quality teaching. In the context of increasing awareness of quality teaching, it draws on how external factors at the national and international levels foster a climate that recognises teaching quality as a priority. Finally, it reveals the inherent role of institutions in ensuring quality teaching through explaining the different objectives that institutions are pursuing when supporting individual or institutional quality teaching initiatives.
  • Implementing Quality Teaching Support
    This chapter examines the methods to effectively initiate and implement an institutional policy to support quality teaching. It analyses the different roles of faculty members, students, the department, the central university and the state, and the right timing of their involvement in constructing the effective institutional policy to support quality teaching. It identifies longterm improvement factors for teaching staff, decision-making bodies and institutions. It explores the ways to maximise the implementation of the policy through optimising the roles of each cluster in the institution.
  • Monitoring and Measuring Quality Teaching
    As many higher education institutions struggle with identifying methods for measuring teaching quality, this chapter first reveals the institutional challenges in appraising quality teaching. Then, it illustrates innovative approaches to include more objectivity in the appraisal of impacts in order to make up for the shortage of appropriate evaluation instruments. The emergence of more qualitative measurement tools, a dedicated evaluation on the overall impact of quality teaching, simplifying the evaluation, making quality and teaching meaningful, and interpreting the subjective results of the evaluation are the examples of institutions’ responses to the challenge of the lack of reliable instruments. Finally, this chapter examines the impacts of quality teaching on: teaching, research and the culture of quality.
  • Conclusions and Implications for Institutions
    This chapter draws together implications of engagement in quality teaching for institutional actors: institution’s leaders, teachers, students and quality teaching units. It examines ways to contribute to reflection on outcome indicators for higher education in order to connect the quality of input and the quality of results. It recommends pragmatic approaches to link practices and tools among the four groups of institutional actors.
  • Bibliography
    The project is an international review of the quality of teaching in institutions. It allows stakeholders (staff and leaders at institutions and external bodies in higher education) to discuss common topics, collect information and set benchmarks. The participating institutions set out their own practices on the support for quality of teaching.
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