UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION SUPPORT PROGRAM FELLOWSHIPS IN UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION IREX

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1 UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION SUPPORT PROGRAM FELLOWSHIPS IN UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION IREX QUALITY ASSURANCE : Internal Strategies in US Higher Education Institutions A Case Study at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln Liu LiHong Deputy Head General Administrative Office National Academy of Education Administration Beijing, P.R. China Fall

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Acknowledgements (3) 2. Introduction (5) 3. Purpose of the Study (5) 4. Questions of the Study (6) 5. Methods of the Study (7) 6. Findings of the Study (7) 7. Conclusions and Recommendations (51) 8. References (51) 2

3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Although there is one author s name on the title page, many people supported me along the study process. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge some special people. Thank to Sarah Hennessey, Daria Gelman and Lawrence Daks for their great support, constant attention to participants of the University Administration Support Program. Their effective management provided me this study process in the US. Thanks to my advisor, Dr L. Joe McNulty. I felt so fortunate to have you as a consistent variable in this study process. I appreciated your gentle, yet directive way of advising me through the process. Thanks to Dr. Alan Seagren who helped make this study a learning process instead of just an academic hoop. As a supervisor you did special things to help me feel like I could complete the process and helped make the study better through your efforts and caring. I appreciated your sincere efforts to support and guide me in this study. Thanks to my great colleagues in NAEA. Your continued support and friendship helped me keep going at times when it was hard to think this task could be completed. Special thanks to my vice-chancellors in NAEA. You were a source of support before the study process started. Your constant words of encouragement provided me with the needed direction and confidence to accomplish this task. Thanks to Prof. Del. Harnisch, the director of Nebraska Leadership for Learning Program. You gave me a chance to participate your class for training educational administrators, that broaden my knowledge and skills in leadership development/improvement and helpful for my case study and my 3

4 future research projects. Thanks to Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Evelyn Jacobson and David Wilson, Associate Dean of CEHS Jim Walter, Chair of the EDAD Graduate Committee Miles Bryant; Dr. Delivee Wright, Dr. Donald Uerling, and all of those who accepted my interview, their selflessness and friendship are vital to my case study and my future professional development. Cindy, you did not have to do with this, but you extended your professional courtesy and friendship to help me with the data collection process. I look forward to many more professional endeavors with you, and hopefully years of continued friendship. And to the new friends I gained in the process, friends who drove me to the airport in the very beginning of the day, picked me up from the airport in the cold evening of November, and attended the entertainment with me during the homesick weekend. THANK YOU! 4

5 INTRODUCTION With the proof of many facts, a famous university in the world must be the one with higher quality. The important and basic factor is to set up a system of Quality Assurance in Higher Education. Since the middle of 1990 s in last century, an upsurge in Quality Assurance in Higher Education has been taking place in the worldwide nations. Quality Monitoring, Quality Assurance and Total Quality Management(TQM) have become the main topics in Higher Education. Topic in 1980 s is efficiency, and the one in 1990 s is quality (L. Golobert, 2001). Therefore, UNESCO especially brought forward the dissertation of quality issues in the Declaration of the World Higher Education Conference in And with the helps of the World Bank, UNESCO had held an international seminar which focused on the quality of Higher Education on September, Now more than 100 countries in the world had set up the organizations for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. The government and the society in China have been paying more attention to the quality issues in Chinese Higher Education. Especially since the enrollment of students in Chinese Higher Education Institutions has increased in 1999, Quality Assurance in Higher Education has become the key topic in the research activities on Chinese Higher Education. By the end of year 2007, the number of students in Chinese postsecondary education institutions is up to 27 million, and the rate of enrollments from secondary schools to Higher Education institutions is about 23%. China has worthily gone to the popular stage of Higher Education. However, the national mission should be : to enhance the quality of Higher Education, to build an invigorative country with human resource, to increase national integration strength and international competitive capacity. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY The purpose of this case study, with the guideline of the University Administration Support Program (UASP)--- IREX, is to acquire knowledge and 5

6 understanding of quality assurance in the US higher education institutions in order to promote an improvement of internal quality assurance system in Chinese universities as well as the Academy where I work for. Hence, my study in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) will be focused on the brief introduction to Quality Assurance in US Higher Education, and a general description of internal quality assurance strategies of UNL (the policy and procedure of accreditation; monitoring and periodic review of academic programs and standards; assessment of faculty and students). Being an administrator in the National Academy of Education Administration, I have been involved in the Quality Improvement Project in the aspects of academic programs, faculty development, evaluation of teaching, learning, management and serving. I am interested in assessment of management. Therefore, this case study will be specifically focused on quality assurance in leadership behaviors, development and effectiveness. QUESTIONS OF THE STUDY Seven basic questions are raised in the study: 1. What is the Quality Assurance process in the US higher education? 2. How does the Academic Program Review work in the UNL? 3. What are standards of faculty development built to focus on quality improvement? 4. What are approaches of teaching quality evaluation in the US higher education? 5. What are standards of students learning experience evaluation in the US universities? 6. What principles and procedures of quality assurance used in the US universities could be implemented in Chinese higher education system? 7. What programs for leadership development would be applied for training courses in the home Academy? 6

7 METHODS OF THE STUDY Several methods were applied in this study. They are: Review Dissertations and Literature in terms of Quality Assurance in the US Higher Education. Review Internal Documents about the quality assurance at UNL. Interview experts of UNL who focusing on issues related to my case study with the question guidelines according to each person s position and responsibility. Interview the faculty and the undergraduate & graduate students. Participate presentations associated with education assessment. Participate the conference about online learning evaluation. Observe classes for experiencing the acdemic activities. FINDINGS OF THE STUDY 1. QUALITY ASSURANCE SYSTEM IN US HIGHER EDUCATION Quality Assurance in the US higher education has a long history. Its effective system of Quality Assurance guarantees the quality of higher education, consequently which promotes the development of the US society. Quality Assurance System in the US higher education consist of external review and internal self-assessment: the Accreditation of Higher Education, & the Self- Assessment of Universities. What is accreditation in US higher education? Accreditation is a voluntary process that aims to ensure enduring quality, accountability and improvement of educational institutions and programs of study, based on a continuous review process that is conducted by external evaluators from the higher education community. Accreditation is the institutional and normative type of external quality assurance in the US higher education. For ensuring the basic quality standards 7

8 in the US higher education institutions, the non-government organizations emerge as the time require, which are in charge of the accreditation of universities and professional accreditation. There are three sorts of accrediting bodies in the US : National Accrediting Organization, Regional Accrediting Organization, and Specialized and Professional Accrediting Organization. A. NATIONAL ACCREDITATION National accreditation refers to accrediting bodies that review and accredit specialized or special-interest institutions across the entire United States. Six National Accrediting Organizations: 1)Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) 2)Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) Commission on Accreditation 3)Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS) 4)Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) 5)Distance Education and Training Council Accrediting Commission (DETC) 6)Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools Accreditation Commission (TRACS) B. REGIONAL ACCREDITATION There are 6 regional accrediting associations whose role is to evaluate an institution as a whole. They are nonprofit, nongovernmental bodies organized by geographic regions. They accredit institutions according to the level of education offered by the institution. Six Regional Accrediting Associations: 1)Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) 2)New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASCSC) 3)North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) 4)Northwest Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NW) 8

9 5)Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) 6)Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) The following standards for accreditation are common to all of the regional accrediting agencies: An institution must: Have a stated mission and purpose that are appropriate to higher education. Have stated goals that are based on the institutional mission and purpose. Have clearly-defined, functioning systems and resources fiscal, organizational, and academic - that support the mission and goals and enable them to be realized. Have a system of continuous evaluation of progress toward the status mission and goals, and of planning for future progress. North Central Association of Colleges and Schools The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools since the association first started accrediting colleges and universities in The University has been a member of the Association of American Universities since Regional accreditation in the north central region is done by two Commissions: Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (CASI) accredits elementary and secondary schools as well as non-degree-granting postsecondary schools. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits degree-granting colleges and universities. The University of Nebraska Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The purpose of the Association is to require its Commission members to have accrediting processes that foster quality, encourage academic excellence, and 9

10 improve teaching and learning. The accrediting process focuses on Self-assessment of the university: Academic Programs Review. The Regional Accrediting Process working Steps: Step 1: Self-assessment according to the standards of the accrediting organization: The institution works with the accrediting organization to conduct a self-study and writes a report documenting how it meets the accrediting standards. If the institution is applying for initial accreditation, during this period the institution is be called a candidate for accreditation. Step 2: Peer review: A team reviews the self-assessment. The team is usually made up of practicing educators and administrators at other higher education institutions, and may also include other members. Team members usually work on a volunteer basis; they do not get paid. Step 3: Site visit based on self-assessment: The team visits the institution as a follow-up to the review of the self-assessment. The visit may include talks with administrators, instructors and students. A site visit is usually required for continuing accreditation as well as for the initial accreditation process. Step 4: Review of the team s recommendations and follow-up: After the site visit, the team may work with the institution on any areas that need clarification, additional work, or follow-up. Step 5: Accreditation organization s decision: The accrediting association makes a decision about the institution s status - approval of initial accreditation; reaffirmation of existing accreditation; probation for an accredited institution that has not continued to meet standards; denial of initial accreditation or revocation of continuing accreditation to an institution that has been on probation - and may make recommendations for further improvement or development. Step 6: Ongoing review, based on the accrediting organization s timeline for accreditation review. The review process is usually repeated every five years. The Importance of Regional Accreditation Regional accreditation is the most commonly accepted type of accreditation of postsecondary academic institutions in the U.S. It provides: 10

11 a basis for government and private funding of the institution, its programs, and its students; public confidence in the authenticity of the value of the education offered; a basis of recognition of degrees for academic and employment purposes; student mobility and transfer of credit; etc. Most regionally-accredited institutions recognize degrees and courses completed at other regionally-accredited institutions. C. SPECIALIZED AND PROFESSIONAL ACCREDITATION Specialized and professional accreditation is available for specific programs of study within an institution. These are : 1)Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) 2)American Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) 3)American Library Association (ALA) for library science 4)American Psychological Association (APA) 5)Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 6)National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) In some professions, a degree from an accredited program is required to be eligible to be licensed or certified to practice the profession. For example, various colleges, schools, departments, and programs within the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are accredited by above respective professional accrediting agencies (architecture, business, engineering, journalism, nursing, sychology). In the United States, the evaluation of the accreditation status of a higher education institution plays an important role in the following scenarios: 1.Assessment of an individual student s educational background for: Admission to postsecondary education Admission to graduate study (master s or doctoral level) Transfer of credit earned at one institution to another institution Academic eligibility for various purposes, such as scholarships, athletic activity, research grants, internships, etc. 2.An individual s eligibility for licensure or certification in a profession 11

12 that requires completion of an accredited program or a program at an accredited institution 3.An individual s eligibility for employment in a position that requires completion of an accredited program or a program at an accredited institution 4.Student eligibility for financial assistance from the US federal government and State governments 5.Educational institution eligibility for financial assistance from the US federal government and State governments. 2. SELF- ASSESSMENT OF UNIVERSITY --- A CASE STUDY OF UNL ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA The University of Nebraska, a state-supported institution, was chartered at Lincoln in 1869 as a land-grant college. Today, the University of Nebraska is the major higher education institution in the state. It offers a comprehensive, diverse array of academic and professional preparation programs---the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. The University is governed by a Board of Regents composed of eight voting members elected on a nonpartisan basis and four nonvoting student members, each representing a campus. The Board employs a President, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the system. There are four campuses in the system. These four campuses include: the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL), the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Each of the university s four campuses is headed by a chancellor responsible to the president. The Board of Regents enjoys all the power in resolving the issues concerning university activities, and, functioning within the frame of the federal legislation, laws of the Sate and the Charter of the University. The Board of Regents approvals the policy requirements for the award in new academic 12

13 degrees as well as specifies requirements to the educational programs. ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN(UNL) The University of Nebraska Lincoln, chartered in 1869, is an educational institution of international stature. A member of the Association of American Universities since UNL is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as a Doctoral/Research Extensive university. UNL is a land-grant university and a member of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC). The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. UNL will celebrate the 140th anniversary of its founding on February 15, Today, the University of Nebraska Lincoln is one of the nation's leading teaching institutions, and a research leader with a wide array of grant-funded projects aimed at broadening knowledge in the sciences and humanities. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is that part of the University of Nebraska system which serves as both the land-grant and the comprehensive public University for the State of Nebraska. Those responsible for its origins recognized the value of combining the breadth of a comprehensive University with the professional and outreach orientation of the land-grant University, thus establishing a campus which has evolved to become the flagship campus of the University of Nebraska. The Roles and Missions of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as assigned by the Board of Regents are follows: The role of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as the primary intellectual and cultural center for the State is fulfilled through the three missions of the University: teaching, research, and service. UNL pursues its missions through the Colleges of Architecture, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Human Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Hixson-Lied 13

14 College of Fine and Performing Arts, Journalism and Mass Communications, Law, the university-wide Graduate College, and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. To capitalize on the breadth of programs and the multidisciplinary resources available at UNL, a number of Centers exist to marshal faculty from a variety of disciplines to focus teaching and research on specific societal issues and to provide technical assistance for business and industry in order to enhance their ability to compete in world markets. Additionally, interdisciplinary programs promote integration of new perspectives and insights into the instructional research and service activities. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln promotes respect for and understanding of cultural diversity in all aspects of society. It strives for a culturally diverse student body, faculty, and staff reflecting the multicultural nature of Nebraska and the nation. UNL brings international and multicultural dimensions to its programs through the involvement of its faculty in international activities, a student body that includes students from throughout the world, exchange agreements with other universities abroad involving both students and faculty, and the incorporation of international components in a variety of courses and curricula. Teaching, research, and service take on a distinctive character at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln because of its status as a comprehensive land-grant university. These traits provide opportunities for the integration of multiple disciplines permitting students more complete and sophisticated programs of study. Its land-grant tradition ensures a commitment to the special character of the State and its people. For many years, the University was the only institution located in Nebraska that provided graduate studies in professional education; the University is still the only Nebraska institution public or private that offers a full range of doctoral programs in professional education. 14

15 SELF-ASSESSMENT OF UNL Studying the University of Nebraska-Lincoln s experience in quality assurance provided me an opportunity to review the following internal quality improvement strategies used in the US higher education: Academic programs review Systematic faculty evaluation Achievement-centered students learning evaluation Leadership behaviors and development A. ACADEMIC PROGRAM REVIEW I. Purpose A periodic review coupled with coordinated, long-range strategic planning is the essential procedure used to insure the quality of academic program, both instructional and non-instructional. Each institution within the University of Nebraska system is required by the Bylaws of the Board of Regents and by Legislative Bill 663 to periodically review all academic programs. The review is intended to be a periodic self-examination that will contribute to a strategic plan for the future. The primary goal of the review is to improve the program s effectiveness and quality. The objectives of the review are to provide a clear assessment of the program s strengths and weaknesses and to develop a guide for the program s future direction. An effective review is most beneficial to the program in planning for the future, is one that fully engages the faculty and administration from the development of the self-study to the program response to the final report to the implementation of accepted recommendations. To meet these goals and objectives, the review process has several components: 1) an internal self-study, 2) an external review of the program; 3) a final report that provides a clear plan for applying the results of the review; and 4) specific responses to the program review developed by the chancellor and vice chancellors, deans, department chairs, directors, and heads. II. Procedures 15

16 Academic program review(apr) at UNL is the responsibility of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs(SCVAA) and the Vice Chancellor for the Institution of Agriculture and Natural Resources(VCIANR). The Academic Planning Committee(APC) has the responsibility of monitoring the process of each APR. The APR process affords the opportunity to review program for the purpose of improving quality. According to the Bylaws of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the review must emphasize the need for and the goals of the program in terms of its relationship to the needs and goals of the State of Nebraska. Success in achieving past and current program objectives is an important criterion. The review will also articulate future program, objectives as part of the University s ongoing strategic and budget planning cycles. Programs shall be reviewed on approximately a seven-year cycle that would accommodate accreditation cycles. There are three reasons for this cycle: 1) it appears to fit either the cycle or half-cycle for accreditation re views, thereby reducing duplication of efforts; 2) or provides a manageable number of programs for review each year; 3) Legislative Bill 663 requires a review of all instructional programs on a rotating basis. III. The Review Team The purpose of the Review Team is to consider the role of the program in the UNL environment, in addition to an assessment of the program quality. The Review Team integrates external peers with UNL faculty and other representatives, such as members of industry, alumni, and staff, to provide the broad perspective required. The Review Team will submit a final report within 30 days of the site visit. All review teams are asked to relate their comments to the program or college strategic plans and to the core values of UNL. The team is encouraged to: 1) focus their recommendation on what can and should be done within existing resources, and 2) make one or two suggestions for new investment that would have the greatest impact on program quality. The team composition should reflect the University s core values---a diversity of 16

17 ideas and people, and should also typically include: External Members. At least two individuals from other institutions that have programs similar to the one under review, one of whom will serve as team leader. UNL Faculty. At least one faculty member from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who is not in the program under review who will be the designated member of the Office of the Vice Chancellor. APC Representative. The Academic Planning Committee shall designate a program review representative for each program review. The APC representative is selected from the faculty and academic deans who are members of the committee. Other Members. Programs may submit additional names for Review Team participation as desired and appropriate for example, alumni/ae or members of industry, students. IV. The Academic Program Review Self-Study The keystone of the academic review process is the internal self-study. It is expected that this self-study will express the university s unique culture and provide an opportunity for reflection and critical assessment of the academic program quality. Selected individuals within the program are responsible for conducting the internal self-study. However, an effective review is one that is most beneficial to the program in planning for the future, is one that fully engages the faculty and administration at each stage of the review. Each self-study should be the result of broad and appropriate faculty, student, and staff involvement in identifying program goals and priorities. It should provide the information necessary for the Review Team to provide an assessment of how successful the program is in fulfilling its mission and that of the University, how will it functions as an organization, the appropriateness of the program s strategic vision of its future directions and how it intends to move to a higher level of achievement. V. The Content of the Self-Study The internal self-study should: 17

18 1. Be factual and explicit. 2. Describe what issues it has addressed since the previous review and how. 3. Be clearly related to the program s strategic plan and demonstrate relationship to college/university/system plans. 4. Describe who we are in a foundational section that integrates data provided by the office of Institutional Review and Planning(IRP). 5. Assess how the program compares with disciplinary norms in terms of scholarly success and stature, areas of research, the structure of academic programs, and the quality of graduates and their placement. 6. Describe how the program contributes to each of the following areas, as appropriate: general education, undergraduate education, graduate education,distance education(including information on student recruitment and retention activities); outreach; research, scholarship and creative activity; climate. 7. Describe the challenges and opportunities that the program is currently facing in each of the following areas, as appropriate: general education, undergraduate education, graduate education,distance education(including information on student recruitment and retention activities); outreach; research, scholarship and creative activity; climate. 8. Provide an academic plan detailing how it will or would like to address the challenges and exploit the opportunities in each of the following areas, as appropriate: general education, undergraduate education, graduate education,distance education(including information on student recruitment and retention activities); outreach; research, scholarship and creative activity; climate. 9. Describe what the program plans to achieve in the period before the next review, indicating how it will redirect resources to accomplish these plans or generate new revenue to support them. Thus, it should be concluded that the Academic Program Review is designed to enhance the educational mission of the UNL, by providing 18

19 opportunities for programs and departments, and the university as a whole, to assess and improve its teaching and scholarship. The university is expected to take actions to address the findings of the review. An appropriate academic dean is responsible for design of a plan for acting on the recommendations. In subsequent years, the dean should review the program s activities in response to the APR. Such a review process allows the university to pursue existing new paths of inquiry, while also sustaining excellence in each academic area. B. EVALUATION OF FACULTY I. University of Nebraska-Lincoln s (UNL) Expectations of Faculty The needs of society, the state, the institution, and individuals change over time. Therefore, adjustments in the expectations for faculty members may occur over time in keeping with changing institutional and personal priorities. However, it must be clear that no special adjustments of norms for units or individuals shall alter the University s fundamental criterion: all faculty members must engage in scholarly or professional work that demonstrates creative achievement. For accomplishing the University mission, UNL is striving for excellence, and it is expected that each faculty member also should strive for excellence. The introduction to the UNL Guidelines for Evaluation of Faculty notes that the work of faculty members as independent professionals is not easily categorized or measured. Because it is inherently judgmental, the evaluation of faculty must be constrained by principles and procedures designed to protect academic freedom and to ensure accuracy, fairness, and equity. In this document broad principles are outlined to establish the rigorous and common procedures necessary to maintain the qualities in the faculty evaluation process. Faculty evaluation is considered an essential element of institutional quality. In recent years, pressures for accountability, changes in enrollment trends, and financial retrenchment have forced University of Nebraska-Lincoln to pay more attention to formal procedures for evaluating and improving the quality of their teaching. 19

20 Accomplishing the University mission requires a creative, collective intermingling of individual faculty talents. A 2020 Vision: The Future of Research and Graduate Education at UNL documents indicates that UNL has multiple missions. It is a land grant, an AAU, and a Carnegie Research I university. Consequently, each individual faculty member plays a unique role in the institution and a special assignment in terms of the focus and distribution of effort among instructional, research, outreach, and service responsibilities. In 2003, the Office of Academic Affairs released a document defining the faculty appointment categories: Teaching, Research/Creative Activity, Extension/Outreach (Public Service), and Service (Citizenship). II. Standards for Faculty Evaluations Because individual faculty members are hired to accomplish objectives of specific academic units and may contribute in different ways to the achievement of unit objectives, each is evaluated within the context of the individual appointment ---choose ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR as the examples. a. Standards for Teaching The CEHS(College of Education and Human Sciences) Guidelines for the Evaluation of Faculty provides Standards for Faculty Evaluations. The document stressed that the single common standard by which to judge the extent of achievement is that of excellence excellence in creativity and in significance of contribution. The pursuit of excellence in teaching is determined by the following standards; 1. Continued and substantive innovation in and evaluation of teaching Self-reflective documentation of innovative teaching and the pursuit of excellence. 2. Efforts toward improvement, enhancement, and development of excellence in teaching He/she participates in teaching development activities such as workshops aimed at teaching and activities that promote inclusion of current, relevant materials in courses. 20

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