Rethinking Quality Management: Designing internal quality assurance and external accreditation as learning opportunities
Quality Management for Responsible Higher Education
Annika Boentert, FH Münster - University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Single presentation - 30 MinutesSingle presentation - 30 Minutes
When the FH Münster, a German university of applied sciences with 15.000 students, established a quality management system ten years ago, the main goals were to reduce bureaucracy and to create systematic occasions for communication on quality issues in all the faculties. For example, an instrument called „biannual quality talks“ was established to reflect upon past experiences and develop ideas for future improvement.
The university’s quality management system was accredited in 2011, being the first system accreditation of a German university of applied sciences. In 2016, the concept was transferred to the next level: When the university had to apply for its institutional reaccreditation, a procedure called „cumulative accreditation“ was invented. It replaced a peer review every eight years with so called “development cycles” of two years. Each of these cycles focusses on a quality management issue of high relevance for the university, including a symposium with inspiring examples of good practice and a workshop with competent experts.
On both levels, the author experienced that academics are motivated to act responsibly when they encounter trust and autonomy. On the other hand, convenience and faculty cultures sometimes hinder desirable changes, especially if all formal accreditation criteria are already met. How can quality management offer even better “learning opportunities” for teaching staff members so that they become inspired promoters of institutional change?