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Thursday, June 23 • 15:00 - 16:00
CON08.05b - Quality Assurance: Juggling Tensions between Accountability and Enhancement of Academic Programs

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Higher education across the globe is experiencing a significant change in its student base. Increasing enrolments, greater diversity of the student body and stronger links between school and workplace are being requested by those enrolling, by parents, and by governments (Biggs & Tang, 2011). As such, government agencies and institutions are called upon to manage assurance systems that ensure standards are maintained and are accountable to professional accreditation bodies and public expectations (Kis, 2005; Nicholson, 2011).

For many academic programs under review by quality assurance systems, processes related to this type of evaluation are perceived as an administrative hurdle imposed by distant senior administrators for the purposes of accountability (Kis, 2005; Nicholson, 2011). Academics complain that little is discussed in terms of collaborative effort toward program opportunities, enhancement and growth (Cheng, 2014; Harvey, 1998, 2002).

This 20-minute paper presentation examines the viability of using participatory evaluation, a form of collaborative social inquiry with a primarily problem solving and instrumental orientation, to inform quality assurance processes (Cousins & Weaver, 2007). How might a more participatory approach to assurance processes be accountable to external stakeholders (e.g. students, parents, society and governments) all while engaging those internal to institutions (e.g. faculty, departmental chairs and staff) to become further invested in the sustained enhancement of their programs (Kis, 2005)? Stemming from the works of scholars in evaluation and quality assurance (e.g. Cousins & Earl, 1995; Houston & Paewai, 2013; Kleijnen, Dolmans, Willems & Van Hout, 2013; Zukoski & Luluquisen, 2002), benefits and challenges of adopting a participatory approach in higher education quality assurance will be discussed.

avatar for Jovan Groen

Jovan Groen

Jovan provides strategic and operational leadership in the design, development and implementation of a wide variety of teaching and learning support initiatives at the University of Ottawa. With a background in curriculum design, he teaches course design and works with departments... Read More →

Thursday June 23, 2016 15:00 - 16:00 EDT
UCC 58