Systematic Quality Work
The quality system is the framework within which the quality work is conducted. It includes both the documented conditions, in the form of organization, division of responsibilities and internal control documents, as well as the routines and working methods used in the work with both quality assurance and quality development. The quality system also includes the activities through which the organization identifies the goals, processes and resources required for achieving the desired result.
The quality work at the University of Borås is the work performed within the framework of the quality system. This includes both quality assurance and quality development i.e the work done to ensure that both the education and research activities maintain high quality and the work done to develop the education and research activities.
The quality work is conducted at all levels within the university and involves all staff, students and doctoral students. The work includes both the daily operational and strategic activities within the programs, from program level up to central level. In the research area both ongoing peer review processes and strategic work with the research activities are included. Systematic quality work is defined as the continuous improvement work performed according to given processes and routines with the aim of securing and developing the quality of all educational and research activities.
The image above is a visualization of the systematic quality work at the University of Borås. The foundation is made up of the university's fundamental values, its quality policy and the quality culture that permeates the activities in all their parts. On the foundation the two pillars consisting of the academies and professional services to the left and the collegiate bodies (committees) to the right is resting. Based on the university's organization and division of responsibilities, they constitute the university's performance and reviewing bodies respectively. The pillars in turn carry the roof of the university's visions, goals and strategies. The heart of competence, the continuous improvement work and a process-oriented working method is the pulse that drives the quality work forward.
The roles and responsibilities of the committees differ to some extent between education and research. With regard to education at all levels, the committees have a direct scrutiny role concerning the structure, implementation and quality of education. Since the quality and relevance of the research is continuously evaluated both on a national and an international level through built-in, peer-reviewed collegial processes, this means that the committees do not have the same role within the framework of the university's quality system for research. Instead, they are expected to provide good conditions for research at a high quality level. The duties in this case include appointing criteria/aspects when research is evaluated.
The Quality House should be seen as a unity creating the best conditions for the students' learning, for the conduct of research and for the collaboration with the surrounding community.
Four key words
The quality work at the University of Borås is characterized by the key words integrated, uniform, transparent and sharp.
Integrated - Quality in the activities is achieved through the daily tasks and interactions of employees and students. Quality assurance routines are designed in consultation with the staff and students in such a way that they experience the benefits of the routines and feel involved and committed in their development.
Uniform - Routines for quality assurance and quality development are equally designed for all research and education activities unless there are special reasons for differences. The latter provides room for flexibility when needed. Unity creates clarity, efficiency and legal certainty, and promotes transparency.
Transparency - Openness and transparency should characterize the quality work at the university. The quality policy, the quality system, its routines and criteria, as well as the results and measures taken from quality reviews must be easily accessible to employees, students and other stakeholders. Transparency is a prerequisite for the understanding of how the individual efforts affect and are affected by the other operations.
Sharp - The quality work must be effective and result in continuous development. Independent, external quality reviews are conducted regularly. Identified strengths and weaknesses form the basis for development work and concrete actions.
The operating cycle
Operations are quality assured on the basis of the annual report - activity plans - activity dialogues - implementation.
The overall activity plan is based on the visions and goals of the University of Borås. From the visions and goals, the governing board of the University of Borås decides on a three-year plan with designated focus areas from which the academies and professional services prepare their corresponding activity plans. All activity plans are later used in the subsequent follow-up work. During the work cycle, regular activity dialogues are conducted between the management and the various academies/units. In connection with these, issues with a focus on quality are regularly raised.
The Vice-chancellor is ultimately responsible for the quality work at the University of Borås. The Vice-Chancellor coordinates quality work regarding education and research between committees and academies. This is done through the coordination functions at the professional services that support an overall university organization and management of the quality work.
Quality responsibility in the organization is further divided into the academies and professional services. The Dean of faculty is ultimately responsible for the systematic quality work at each academy. This responsibility includes regularly monitoring, evaluation and development of quality in education and research. Employees within the unit of professional services support the academies in organizing and operationalizing the quality work.
The unit manager at the professional services is responsible for the systematic quality work at this unit. The responsibility includes, in addition to collaborating with and supporting the academies in their work, also regularly monitoring, evaluation and development of quality in the administrative activities of the unit.