UEF’s quality system is participatory and open
The quality culture at UEF is participatory and open, and it is a clear strength of the university. The audit team observed that the quality system functions as a distributed network of individuals. People in charge of quality are located across the university in a diversity of units, integrated into the leadership of each unit, and coordinated via representatives who meet as the quality group. The audit team considers the distributed and integrated nature of the quality system as a strength, as it facilitates engagement by a wide variety of the university community.
Staff, students, and external stakeholders participated in the quality system in a purposeful manner. However, some interviews revealed that there were concerns about how external stakeholders who lacked personal connections to staff at the university could be engaged in the quality system. The audit team suggests both maintaining the current quality system’s distributed organizational system while enhancing the ability of external stakeholders to participate in relevant aspects of university operations.
The quality system is in place, but could be improved with increased coordination
The distributed nature of the quality system allows for the system to recognize and adapt to the context-dependent nature of quality work. However, this distributed nature of the quality system runs the risk of having widely divergent standards, applications, and indications. This were observed during the audit visit.
The operation of UEF’s quality system could be improved by collecting experiences, identifying common problems, and sharing more good practices. The system should also recognize the diverse nature of the units of the university and work to ensure that there is minimum common standard of practice for all units. The quality group seems like the optimal team at university to take on this call to action. It works as the central meeting point for people in charge of quality in the faculties and other units. The audit team recommends that the operations of the quality group should be strengthened, they meet more often, and be more involved in facilitating quality work at the university. The quality team could also implement internal and external benchlearning activities by utilizing UEF’s existing networks, such as the YUFE network. The quality group could also assist with planning and analysis at the organizational level, which considers UEF’s qualitative and quantitative indicators. The audit team recommends that leadership consider expanding the quality group’s role in university strategic planning as well.
The intent of these recommendations is to help the organization further build and enhance its quality system, not convert it to a centralized system strictly controlled by a particular group. The audit team feels that if these recommendations are implemented, the quality system will be better structured to facilitate the development and success of the university in this ever-changing, unpredictable world.