Developing higher education institutions as effective learning communities

Conference proceedings article


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Publication Details

Subtitle: approaches, practices and policy levers at one portuguese university
Author list: Jesus-Silva, N., Morais, P., Caramelo-Gomes, J., Costa-Lobo, C.
Publication year: 2018
Start page: 4941
End page: 4947
Number of pages: 7
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


Abstract

In Europe, when speaking of quality assurance of Higher Education Institutions (HEI), the point of

reference is the Standard and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area

document, devised by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. This

document establishes a set of guidelines for the Internal Systems of Quality Assurance (ISQA) of the

HEI and, also includes, guidelines for the creation of quality assurance agencies, such as the

Portuguese Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES), Agency which

establish standards, evaluate and ensure the quality of the HEI in the different member countries of

the Higher Education European Space. In Portugal, the A3ES created a Manual for the ISQA audit

process which specifies the objectives, the form of organization and operation of the institutional audit

model adopted by the A3ES, so as to certificate the ISQA in the HEI. Besides the two stated

references which are aimed, specifically, to the HEI, when discussing management systems

certification, it’s also relevant to mention the ISO norms. The ISO 9001 is the most used norm of

management systems worldwide, establishing itself as international reference for the Certification of

Quality Assurance of Management Systems. The adoption of a Quality Assurance System is,

according to this norm, a strategical decision of the organization. The strategy formulated to ensure

quality in Higher Education uses internal systems of quality assurance, of the institutions

responsibility, and also external systems, of the quality assurance agencies responsibility. The

development of quality assurance systems demands a balance between the HEI’s actions and the

external procedures of quality assurance purposed by the agencies, in the case of Portugal, the A3ES.

HEIs are required to establish their own self-evaluation mechanisms. For this purpose, promoting a

solid internal quality culture is elemental to strengthen effective strategies of institutional evaluation.

Related to its continuous improvement process, Portucalense University, a private HEI, located in

Portugal, decided to certificate its quality assurance system, both by the A3ES and by the ISO 9001.

This article describes the developed practices in this double certification process. The perception of

the areas with greater need of being leveraged, the respective improvements to be applied, and the

better way of proceeding in regard to the continuous improvement of the processes, either of

management, value chain and support or services, stand out as results of this content analysis. With

this study, it is intended to contribute with good practices for the attainment of the certifications and the

continuous improvement of the HEI in question.


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:16