INTERNAL QUALITY ASSURANCE SYSTEM (IQAS)
To ensure consistently high quality service offerings for students, Charisma University established its Internal Quality System (the System), administered by the institution’s Internal Quality Assurance System (IQAS) Team. The IQAS Team members shall include the Senior Vice President for Internal Quality Systems. IQAS meetings shall convene and be recorded the first Monday of each quarter via the WebEx platform. The Internal Quality Assurance System utilized by the IQAS Team is based on a framework designed to analyze and improve programs and is aligned with standards, procedures and guidelines established by the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation’s (CHEA) International Quality Group for international universities. Annually, the IQAS Team performs a review/evaluation to determine Charisma University’s performance in terms of the aforementioned CHEA framework for the overarching purpose of keeping course contents current and realistic, so that students become proficient at applying what they have learned in real-world settings. The specific targets of the IQAS Team’s annual review are Charisma University’s internal control systems, policy and objectives, course contents, instructional methods and materials, assessments, research, working environment, as well as administration. This manual describes the review process undertaken by Charisma University’s IQAS Team, as well as subjects specific to the annual evaluation that falls under the following categories: (a) program learning outcomes assessment; (b) instructional methods and materials; (c) assessment methods; (d) working environment; and, (e) administration. Overall, Charisma University quality assessments focus on protocols specific to “Program Learning Outcomes” and “Faculty Performance.”
Internal Quality System Goals and Principles
For Charisma University, the purpose of quality assurance is to:
- Enable the University to ensure that standards are relevant, competitive and consistently maintained,
- Assure that quality issues are promptly and successfully addressed;
- Facilitate continuous quality enhancement;
- Provide timely, definitive and accessible information to University stakeholders with regards to the academic experience; and
- Ensure that adequate resources support instruction and learning, such that in the process, quality learning outcomes are maintained and enhanced at the University.
The IQAS Team conducts its annual evaluation based on a number of key principles. Based on these principles, Charisma University is expected to:
- Develop and implement sound internal quality assurance systems supported by procedures which assure that standards are met and quality is maintained;
- Apply quality and standards at course level to enhance individual programs;
- Collect and maintain accurate, thorough and reliable information regarding the quality of its programs as well as uniform implementation methods;
- Stringently review:
- IQAS evaluation results particularly in terms of specific disciplines and programs;
- External reference sources, including subject benchmarks;
- Internal systems designed to support effective information management and how these contribute to the administration of quality and standards.
Program Quality Assurance Assessment
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) refer to statements of observable and measurable student performance that serve as foundations for evaluations of enrollees’ learning. These statements establish the specific competencies that learners should be able to achieve by the end of their enrollment in a program. To note, PLQs are different from course level outcomes because they represent the aggregate knowledge, skills, and attitudes learners are able to acquire by the time they have completed their entire degree program at Charisma University. In relation to these, the assessment of PLOs pertains to the process through which students are evaluated according to expectations on knowledge and competencies acquired. Hence, the assessment process provides insight to Charisma University leadership about how well their programs have enabled students to learn during their enrollment. At Charisma University, PLOs are established by all faculty rather than just a single instructor or Program head. Adequate consideration is placed on the reality that student learning occurs across the curriculum and not just in a given course. In light of these truths, Charisma University uses assessment tools and measures that provide accurate insight as to what students have learned through their individual programs.
Charisma University uses two types of assessment measures: direct and indirect. Notably, direct assessment measures encompass samples of student work, demonstrating learning acquired. In contrast, indirect measures are secondary data, which includes documentation regarding how students feel about their learning, as well as alumni inputs regarding their previous learning experiences at the University.
Direct Assessment Measures:
Typically, the IQAS Team compiles direct assessment measures based on individual class work or group assignments that students complete for evaluation as a graded submission. The IQAS Team considers individual student work as well as teamwork for direct assessment measures. Specific examples of direct assessment measures are discussion questions, research papers, and essays. At the Program level, other types of direct measures include such items as case studies, service-learning, field work, and internships.
Indirect Assessment Measures:
It must be emphasized that indirect assessment measures of PLOs are not samples of student work; instead, they seek to measure student/alumni opinions, rankings and beliefs by external persons. These measures are considered as indirect because they do not explicitly inform the IQAS Team about students’ actual learning but instead, student/alumni experiences provide insight about readiness for performance in the corporate structure, comparisons of university based proficiencies with work place colleagues, and overall stakeholder opinions.
Assessments, Teaching and Learning
As seen in the preceding discussion, there are many alternatives for assessment measures at Charisma University. The IQAS Team is responsible for making the appropriate choice of which measure to use. How does the IQAS Team know the appropriate measure to use? Considering that PLOs define expectations about student learning and competencies, assessment measures should be able to demonstrate how well students learned according to expectations from them. Therefore, assessment measures reflect the intersection between instruction and learning experiences in individual Programs and types of learning activities that students complete in those Programs.
Faculty members and students harness teaching and learning strategies, respectively. At the most fundamental level, student learning measured in terms of program outcomes are attained through the interaction of teaching and learning strategies such as lectures and discussions, assigned readings, discussion questions, research papers and feedbacks. In other words, instructional and learning strategies are closely associated with assessment measures. At Charisma University, the most commonly used assessment measures used in conjunction with fundamental level PLOs are research paper results, test results, and discussion questions results. Learners are not able to attain expected results without the use of effective instructional strategies. To meet Charisma University’s expectation that learners are able to achieve competencies and knowledge expected from them, instructional strategies and pedagogical approaches that appropriately promote learning are generously provided, defined, and applied. Without these approaches, it would be unrealistic to assess students on higher levels of learning, such as critical thinking/analysis and synthesis.
Based on the aforementioned, faculty members are encouraged to be creative in their instructional methods, techniques and strategies. For example, professors may use the lecture and discussion as defined within the confines of cyber approaches to learning in introductory courses to introduce learners to basic concepts and terminology. As learners proceed through the Program, they are exposed to a range of instructional methods and strategies, building up from fundamental to higher levels of expectations and methods for student learning. There is a need to emphasize that at the Graduate Program and Doctoral Program levels, professors have considerable leeway regarding the pedagogical approaches to use in light of the sophistication and advanced knowledge of learners at these stages.
At Charisma University, quality indicators facilitate the assessment process. These quality indicators are on Program structure, content, modes of delivery, student learning assessment, and resources.
It is expected that Program structure and policies are appropriate to fulfill specified PLOs and degree level expectations. Program structure shall support the integrity of the intellectual quality of students’ experiences and align with career development. For new Programs, there should be a clear underpinning rationale for Program length and depth so that Program requirements are justifiable in terms of the timeframe that students can fulfill expectations from them. For existing Programs, there should be adequate monitoring and management with regards to established Program length and requirements.
First and foremost, for Program content to be of excellent quality, it should reflect the current state of the discipline or area of study. Nevertheless, because of Charisma University’s aim of developing tomorrow’s global leaders, faculty members are expected to be innovative in their content development and delivery relative to other such programs. For graduate Programs, the IQAS Team should be able to find evidence through the review of content from online classroom student assignment submissions and interaction with professors that Charisma University accomplished this goal. For research-focused graduate Programs, there should be evidence of instances where student learners where afforded opportunities to demonstrate proficiency, show coursework mastery, and provide support for the conclusion that the activities undertaken at Charisma University are in sync with the offerings of longstanding universities within our global community.
Modes of Delivery:
The mode of delivery should be appropriate for distance online and onsite learning. This is measured in terms of effectiveness in meeting Program learning outcomes.
Assessment of Student Learning:
Through this indicator, it is expected that both direct and indirect assessment methods for student learning are used. Moreover, faculty members and Program heads must ensure that documentation and demonstration of level of performance of students are effective as well as consistent with the University’s degree level expectations.
All Programs should be able to fully maximize existing human, physical, and financial resources provided by the University, in such ways that the Program objectives are met. For new Programs, there should be demonstration of maximum utilization of existing human, physical and financial resources as well as commitments to supplement, where necessary, said resources sufficiently to support the program.
Collection of Assessment Evidence:
The collection of assessment evidence is based on an established procedure that is comprised of five components: a self-study report by the program being reviewed; external evaluation; internal response to review and recommendations; development and approval of implementation plan; and, monitoring on implementation of recommendations.
Self-Study Reports: The Self-Study Report serves as the foundation of Program reviews and establishes Program quality indicators against which every Program is assessed. IQAS Team members will assure that key performance indicators include an analysis of student outcomes based on the current year as well as year-on-year performance. Said analysis shall allow for adequate consideration of significant variations in student achievement between various program components. The Report is broad-based and reflective such that it should demonstrate how the Program contributes to the attainment of Charisma University’s mission. The Self-Study report presents evidence supporting evaluations of Program requirements, PLOs, degree level expectations, as well as the required human and physical resources to make them achievable. The Self-Study Report also addresses issues and recommendations presented in earlier reviews. To accomplish this Self-Study Report, IQAS Team collaborates with staff members at the Provost’s Office so that they can access institutional data as well as other key indicators of program quality. Preferably, the IQAS Team solicits comments from other Program members as well as other University stakeholders as necessary. After the Self-Study Report has been completed, it is submitted to the Dean who, in turn, reviews it prior to formulating an action plan.
External Assessment and Reporting: The IQAS Team, in collaboration with the respective Program Dean recommends to the Chief Academic Officer & Provost faculty leads who will serve as liaisons between university officials and external reviewers of each Program. These faculty leads should be tenured, active and esteemed in their respective fields. For undergraduate Programs, the IQAS Team requires that one faculty lead should be assisting external assessors in their completion of their processes, including gathering data for review, providing requested access, and other duties as assigned. On the other hand, for graduate Programs, two faculty leads shall be assigned to external assessors. Faculty leads may request assistance through Office of the President when data requests and associated tasks are labor intensive. External assessors are encouraged to engage with the IQAS Team as well as with other faculty, students, staff, and administrators. All participants are compelled to respect confidentiality throughout the process. The activities of the external assessors result in the submission of a final report to the appropriate Program Dean, Provost, the IQAS Team and University President. Charisma University shall rely on the services of educational providers such as Pearson and Spantran when consultation in necessary during periodic program reviews.
Response to Reports: The Dean and IQAS Team, upon receiving the external reviewers’ reports, will convene to review recommendations, categorize them based on priority, and to consider their viability with Charisma University goals and resources in mind. Moreover, the Dean and IQAS Team will collaborate to respond to the external assessor’s report and submit this data to the Provost. Included in this Report Response is a proposed plan for improvements based on external review recommendations as well as a proposed timeline for implementation and completion. In the event that these plans would entail additional resources as well as potential modifications to organizational structure, system or policy, the Dean will convey proposed measures about how these changes can be effectively undertaken to the Office of the President.
Gaining Approval: After receiving the Report Response, the Provost disseminates the Self-Study Report, the External Review Report as well as the Response Report to the Advisory Council and the IQAS Team. Again, utmost confidentiality must be assured in the handling, processing and responding to all of the reports and recommendations. The IQAS Team examines all of the assessment results and prepares a Final Assessment Report in accordance with its own Program assessment based on aforementioned direct and indirect measures. This Final Report synthesizes all of the assessment findings and recommendations, highlights the strengths of the Program being reviewed, and emphasizes the opportunities for improvement and enhancement. The Final Report also reflects agreed-upon plans for improvement made by the respective Program Dean.
During each FALL season, the IQAS Team, Provost and Program heads prepare an annual report to the Advisory Council pertaining to all program reviews accomplished during the academic year at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They provide updates to the Council regarding the progress on implementation of the recommendations from the Final Report and are a direct reflection of Charisma University’s reviews and incorporating action plans. Charisma University shall assure that reporting has addressed year-on-year student satisfaction, retention and achievement, staff performance, and resourcing issues. They also update the Council pertaining to the schedule of reviews for the next academic year. All policy and procedural concerns are discussed so that a meeting may be convened to consider such issues. In turn, all of these reports, recommendations and updates are forwarded to their final destination, which is the Executive Leadership Committee of Charisma University. This leadership team subsequently approves any additional proposed changes, as well as any requests for additional resources as necessary. Upon approval, the Final Report will be posted on the Charisma University website and sent to the IQAS Team to serve as the standard for all contemplated improvements to the assessment process.
Monitoring: One hundred and eighty (180) days after the Final Report and its revisions have been published and disseminated to interested parties, the Provost will ask the Program Deans to provide a Monitoring Report outlining progress that has been achieved in the implementation of agreed upon changes geared towards quality-related improvements. Formal reviews shall be completed annually thereafter. Enhancements are noted and further areas requiring enhancement are identified. A summary of the Monitoring Report will be furnished to the Advisory Council for review and archiving.