Who should be asked about quality in higher education?

by Dawid Wosik

Since quality in higher education can be described as “… a multidimensional, multi-level and dynamic concept, (…) which depends among other things on requirements set by different groups of interest (…)” (Vlãsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., Pârlea, D., 2007), thus all those groups should be asked about its evaluation. University accreditation is quite a holistic evaluation (institutional accreditation in particular as opposed to program accreditation), whereas opinion survey of employees, students, graduates or employers is a partial measurement as it presents only selected aspects of quality. For instance, the employees opinion survey will provide data on the climate at a university. This factor has great impact on the employee’s (internal customer) motivation to fulfill their duties and determines to some extent student’s satisfaction (external customer). There is no satisfied external customer without satisfying an internal customer first.

Feedback obtained from employers or university graduates is likely to entail the need of adjustments in courses’ contents, especially in cases where one or more expected educational outcomes have not been fully achieved.

There is no doubt that the complex approach to quality evaluation in education should include not only students opinion survey, but also opinion surveys of employees, graduates and employers.

[1] Vlãsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., and Pârlea, D., 2007, Quality Assurance and Accreditation: A Glossary of Basic Terms and Definitions (Bucharest, UNESCO- CEPES) Papers on Higher Education.

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