Raising Awareness of Quality Assurance for Administrators, Lecturers and Staff: Experience of Van Lang University
Quality assurance plays an important role in the development strategy of any higher education institution. The Law on Higher Education has specific regulations in this regard; it says: “Assuring the quality of higher education is a continuous and systematic procedure, including policies, mechanisms, standards, processes and measures to maintain and improve the quality of higher education” (Article 49, Clause 1). In order to perform quality assurance activities well, universities must have the responsibility to “maintain and develop the conditions for ensuring the training quality, including the teaching staff, administrators, and support staff; training programs, textbooks, teaching and learning materials; classrooms, working rooms, laboratories, libraries, information technology systems, practice facilities; financial resources, dormitories and other service facilities” (Article 50, Clause 4).
Figure 1. Administrators, lecturers and staff of Van Lang University attend an online workshop on quality assurance
Consequently, lecturers, administrators, and staff must play a key role in quality assurance processes. Being well aware of this, Van Lang University has regularly organized training programs on quality assurance and accreditation. Right from the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year, the University has organized a series of online training workshops on quality assurance and university ranking. Specifically, there are 5 workshops undertaken within 5 weeks, including:
- Fundamental concepts of quality, quality assurance and accreditation
- Undertaking accreditation according to MOET’s and overseas assessment standards
- Quality assurance of online training based on international experience
- University rankings
- Building quality cultures within higher education institutions
The contents of these workshops have been well-prepared with the references to domestic and international best practice. In each issue discussed, in addition to the theoretical background, there are specific domestic and overseas examples, and the parts directly related to the quality assurance activities of the University. At the beginning of each training session, there was a pre-test for participants to share their views through a number of multiple-choice questions related to the training topic. At the end of the training session, the participants would do a post-test to assess the level of knowledge that they gained. The training course was held online via the Microsoft Teams platform. Additionally the same training content was arranged at two different times of the week, so most administrators, lecturers and staff of the University could participate in.
Figure 2. One of the pre-tests
Van Lang University implemented its quality assurance and accreditation activities from early time. Van Lang University was among the first 20 universities selected by the Ministry of Education and Training to pilot the national institutional accreditation in 2006, and was recognized to meet the quality standards by the National Accreditation Council. Moreover, the University received its institution-level accreditation certificate from the Minister of Education and Training in 2018. Van Lang University also has 6 programs accredited according to the standards issued by the Ministry of Education and Training. At the moment, the University has completed the self-evaluation reports of 4 other programs, which are ready for external evaluation. In 2022, 8 undergraduate programs are going to be assessed by AUN-QA and 2 postgraduate programs are going to be accredited by the Ministry of Education and Training’s standards. It is also in the schedule that all the programs of the University that have at least a cohort of graduates will be accredited in 5 years.
Obviously, in order for administrators, lecturers and staff to participate in quality assurance and accreditation activities, they must be trained to understand the meanings and processes of quality assurance. It is important that through training programs, each administrator, each lecturers and staff member understands their role in the quality assurance process, including accreditation and ranking. Hence, they will have specific contributions to each quality assurance program and activity of the Faculty and the University, contributing to building a quality culture.
Dr. Nguyen Huu Cuong
Acting Head, Department of Quality Assurance
Van Lang University