QA Framework Implementation Plan
Dr. Raed Shadfan
This document illustrates an implementation plan of the QME system adopted from this general framework to help Deans and their associates to apply the framework within their faculties.
In view of the increasing calls for placing Quality Assurance (QA) programs within UOP nationally and internally, the QAC proposed a general framework to induce QME systems to govern the consistency and quality of delivery within higher education institutions. The idea in brief is to:
- Identify institutional activities,
- Order them in processes with distinguished aims that achieve the set of internal/external references selected for the model,
- Appoint a management structure for each process,
- Draft the process procedures,
- Build the system records,
- Define a set of (metrically or otherwise) measurable objectives and intended outcomes for each process to fulfill its aims,
- Conduct periodical reviews to examine the degree of achievements and attainments of process objectives (compliance) and outcomes (performance),
- Map the objectives to the process references (conformance) and to compare outcomes to internal/external benchmarks and intended outcomes (system efficiency).
If aims are not fulfilled, then the process is improved through a series of corrective,preventive and/or enhancement actions to improve process implementation. If, on the other hand, the aims are fulfilled, then aims, objectives and intended outcomes are reviewed and replaced by ones of even higher levels. This cycle will induce the needed continuous enhancement of the process and its outputs in terms of consistency and quality.
The Faculty QME system Model
The previously explained QME system structure can be applied to any process implemented within the university; this section is intended to adopt this general structure to create a faculty model.
Goals and Aims
The main goal of developing a faculty QME system is to put in place a robust management system that will monitor, manage and enhance the quality of the faculty provisions. Faculty provisions mainly refer to the degree programs offered by the faculty (e.g. a BSc. in Computer Science.) For a faculty QME system to be effective and useful as a model, it should be made:
- Comprehensive (includes as many faculty processes as possible).
- Dynamic (it is a live system that keeps on developing and enhancing).
Another major goal to achieve is to build a QME system that is easy to use. Generally speaking, introducing QM measures implies an added bureaucratic burden on existing staff. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable when implementing the proposed QME system in the faculty. What can be done is to introduce the system with minimum amount of bureaucracy, to introduce it at a paste that will allow easy transition and to allow staff to actively participate in building the system and thus control the level of bureaucracy needed within the system. Bureaucratic burden can also be considerably reduced by the extensive use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
Implementation strategies and plan
To achieve the previously said goals and aims, the implementation strategy will be based on:
1. Extensive staff induction and training on the design and use of the system
and spreading the QA culture.
2. The involvement of every faculty member in designing and executing the
system by organizing them in the various management entities (committees)
needed to handle and control the processes within the system.
3. Establishing a QM unit within the faculty to promote, monitor, manage and
sustain the system, retain its records and draft faculty audit reports and
measure compliance, conformance, performance and efficiency of faculty
4. Devising a time plan that allows staff to absorb QA culture and QME system
notation and to adapt to the use of the system.
5. Minimizing the system bureaucracy and maximizing the use of ICT when
designing and implementing the QME system (as much as possible).
The implementation plan can be summarized in the following steps:
1. A good starting point is to identify the set of references for the faculty model from outside the faculty needed to be conformed to by the system. For the FIT model, this would include:
a. Vision, Mission, Goals, Objectives and Intended Outcomes (VMAOIOs) of the
university as defined by the university top management board.
b. External references. For example, for the faculty of IT, external references
would consist of (but not limited to):
Jordanian MoHE accreditation directives and benchmarks.
ABET – CAC (USA) program specific standards and accreditation requirements.
ACM (USA) standards and references for computing curricula.
QAA-UK guidelines, codes of practices and benchmarks.
ISO9000:2000 standards applicable to non-academic and administrative Processes.
c. University’s own references such as university policies, rules, quality manual
2. Next, the faculty’s own references are drafted by adopting the references mentioned earlier and adapting them to the disciplines of the faculty. This consists of the following activities:
a. Drafting VMAOIOs of the faculty as a whole (as an example see the document
titled "Suggested VMAOIOs for the Faculty of IT" I have drafted sometimes
b. Drafting the Aims and Objectives of the various faculty departments.
c. Deciding on the aims, objectives and intended learning outcomes (ILOs) for
each program offered (see the document I have prepared on the differences
between objectives and ILOs the way I understood this subject!).
d. Deciding on the faculty’s policies and guidelines on issues not covered by
references in point 1 above.
3. The system is then initiated by identifying its scope (the set of processes) that needs to be implemented in order to fulfill the stated references (see for example the hypothetical system scope prepared for the Faculty of IT I have prepared earlier and included below). The set of system references scope is usually decided by the highest management rank in the faculty (the Dean and the faculty council).
4. At this stage, the Dean and the faculty council will appoint an internal QM unit headed by a coordinator called who (together with his/her team) will be responsible for:
a. Promoting the system by disseminating awareness on the system and
spreading the culture of QM within the faculty.
b. Initiating, supervising, administrating, managing, monitoring and maintaining
c. Scheduling and performing periodical internal-audits and reviews.
d. Establishing compliances and conformances.
e. Measuring collective performance and efficiency.
f. Holding management review meetings.
g. Reporting compliances, conformances, performances, efficiencies,
corrective/preventive actions and enhancements to the top management.
h. Supervising and engineering the induced changes and enhancements to the
5. Once the set of the processes are identified, a management entity (e.g. faculty council, department council, staff committee or individual personnel) is then appointed for each process to carry out the following tasks:
a. Clarify the aims and goals of the process, which state the intent and purpose
of the process and should be outlined to fulfill the faculty’s own references
(refer to point 2 above) in the first instance, in addition to the other
references from outside the faculty (refer to point 1 above). The process
management entity will be responsible for preparing a matrix of conformance
to map the aims and goals to higher references.
b. Select related benchmarks or intended outcomes as applicable. As stated
earlier, benchmarks are either internal (set by the university) or external (set
by an external auditing body, for example QAA guidelines).
c. Identify the objectives (deliverables) of the process that are needed to fulfill
the process aims and goals. As stated earlier in the general framework,
objectives should be formulated with a set of measurable parameters with
defined metrics as much as possible. A matrix of conformance that will map the
objectives to their respective aims and goals (and other references as
necessary) will also be prepared by the process management entity.
d. Prepare the procedure(s) of the process that will systematize the delivery of
the objectives and build the structure of the system records. This will require
listing the activities and tasks that will achieve the objectives of the process
in a step-by-step manner to form the procedure. The majority of the steps
will include designing forms and/or logs to be filled by the operator (a person
who is implementing the procedure). Forms are designed in a manner to guide
the operator during the execution of the related step. Logs are designed to
assimilate aggregated data and form summaries that will aid the operator to
check the status and progress of the procedure. Filled forms and logs will
compose the records of the system and will constitute the evidences needed
e. Develop the set of statistical methods that will be used to measure
compliance and performance. This will include statistical formulae that can be
applied on the produced records and/or statistical indicators induced by
means of surveys directed to those considered as stakeholders of the process
(e.g. students, instructors, prospective employers, alumnae…etc.).
f. Monitor and control the implementation of the process procedure(s) and
maintain its records. In most cases, the management structure will be directly
involved in the execution of the procedure and will have a major role in
building and retaining the records of the system.
g. Hold stirring meetings as needed to foresee the correct implementation of the
procedure(s) and iron out any related problems.
h. Perform periodical self-audits to ensure the adequacy and integrity of the
records built during the execution phase of the procedure(s), and establishing
compliance by applying the previously formulated statistical methods and
objectively deducing the degree of how close/far the objectives had been
achieved at the end of each process cycle.
i. Measure the periodical performance of the process. This is done by applying
the statistical methods developed earlier to measure the process outcomes.
Performance is then compared to the pre-selected benchmarks or intended
outcomes to measure the related efficiency of the system.
j. Hold a review meeting at the end of the process cycle to discuss the results
of the self audit during that cycle. Review meetings will result in correction
actions, preventive actions, system enhancements and/or revising the
process elements. These conclusions will be formally fed into the system
through the communication procedure in the form of Action Requests (AR). An
AR contains the summery of the change actions needed to enhance the
system and the related parties involved/affected. It is collected by the QM
unit who will engineer the change process and follow up its implementation
with the related parties until it is finally executed and closed (filed). ARs
produced in a review meeting of a certain process could affect that process
or other processes across the system. They could also affect the choice of
references that regulate the QME system as a whole.
6. Once the system is in place, implemented, its records are built and self-audited; the
faculty is ready for internal/external audits to validate process implementation and gain accreditation/certifications for the institute.
The above implementation plan is illustrated in the attached figure.
System documentation levels
The proposed QME system would result in the following 5 documentation levels:
1. Quality Manual which includes faculty VMGOIOs, polices and inter-relation of
processes and matrices of conformances.
2. Management Manual which includes organizational structure and chart,
management hierarchy, process management entities.
3. Procedural Manual which includes process procedures and related forms &
4. The System Records which includes filled forms and logs following the
implementation of the various processes, including auditing.
5. Technical Hand Book which includes the various holdings of the faculty
(library, machines, personnel, courses, suppliers, labs, lecture rooms ... etc.)
Scope of the model:
The scope refers to the identification of the set of processes that characterizes the QME system. There are two distinctiveness sets of activities that are generally performed at the faculty:
1. Academic Activities: These include all the activities related to the teaching
and learning functions within the faculty.
2. Supportive Activities: These include all the activities related to the
management of the faculty needed to support the academic activities.
Based on this distinction, a typical scope of the faculty QME system that would fulfill its vision, mission, goals, objectives and intended outcomes could be devised as follows:
1. Main Academic Processes:
a. Curricula Design, Content & Organization (CDCO): Courses, Tracks and
b. Teaching Affairs (Teaching Modes).
d. Students Affairs, Progression and Services.
e. Learning Resources.
2. Main Supportive Processes:
a. Faculty Meetings and Review Meetings.
b. Communication (internal and external).
c. Document Control.
d. Personnel (HRM).
f. Maintenance and Calibration.
g. Internal auditing.
i. Promoting & Marketing.
k. Outsourcing Services.
The above main processes have been worked out based on the typical functions of any faculty with provision to meet internal/external academic references and to fulfill the vision and mission of any common university. The aims of the main academic processes would be adopted and formulated to fulfill the specific VMGOIOs of the institution. The majority of the main supportive processes (from 2.a to 2.k above) have been stemmed from the ISO9000 standards, borrowed as needed for the function of the faculty. The rest are related to the faculty role in sustaining itself and outreaching the society (see the Scope for IT faculty document as an example).
This document has presented a faculty QME system based on a generic QME system framework that will monitor, manage and enhance the quality of the faculty provisions. The model incorporates appropriate academic references mixed with ISO9000 methods that are used as a vehicle to quality assurance. An implementation plan and strategies for system implementation and a basic system scope are also included. It is foreseen that by developing and deploying an adequate faculty QME system, the faculty will achieve efficient and effective approaches in directing and controlling its various activities within the faculty, particularly those criteria associated with quality and fulfilling its vision and mission .