Quality Assurance: An Imperative from Within
“Effective student learning is our very mission as an educational institution,” Francis Evangelista believes, and the work of quality assurance (QA) can be a powerful tool for sustaining a culture of excellence at a college or university. But too often, Dr. Evangelista has found, the real benefits of quality assurance processes are overlooked. “Quality assurance is often associated with accreditation, certification, and evaluation,” he said, “but QA should not be pursued merely to comply with the requirements of the education department, accrediting agencies, or other external authorities.” Dr. Evangelista, as head of the Quality Assurance Office at Miriam College in the Philippines, wants his colleagues to understand QA as “an imperative from within.”
Quality assurance can help a higher education institution translate its vision, mission, and goals into desired learning outcomes and establish a proper learning environment, according to the Philippines Commission on Higher Education (CHED). It ensures that there are mechanisms, procedures, and processes in place to ensure that the desired quality in education is delivered.
Faculty, in Dr. Evangelista’s opinion, should play a central role in the QA process – not merely reporting on outcomes but helping to develop a QA framework that is “informed by the distinct nuances of various departments or units.”
Creating that level of engagement from faculty – who may already feel overwhelmed with teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities – can be a challenge. Dr. Evangelista gained some insights on how to build that kind of support during his participation in the 2017-2018 United Board Fellows Program. The 2017 Summer Institute, in particular, gave him a new understanding of how to lead change within an institution. “To be a successful leader, one must learn to influence others without always using one’s formal authority,” he said. “To be an effective leader means to be caring and empowering, to have a sincere concern for people’s interests and their personal and professional development.”
Dr. Evangelista has only been in his role as head of the Quality Assurance Office for a year, but his efforts have already resulted in progress: Miriam College has formally been given International Standard Organization 9001:2015 (quality management) certification. “I am truly grateful that the school has been internationally certified,” he said, “but more important than receiving such recognition is that through our ISO initiative we were able to enhance and improve our internal QA mechanisms, making us more capable and effective in providing quality education to our students.”
Please click on the following individual’s names for additional perspectives on quality assurance from Nichanan Sakolvieng (Assumption University), Lakshmi Priya Daniel (Stella Maris College), and Kennedy Andrew Thomas, CHRIST (Deemed to be University).