The Directorate of Institutional Planning and Quality Assurance (IPQA) held a Workshop on Quality Assurance and Self-Evaluation Review (SER) concept for the Higher Education landscape. The workshop took place at Porche Villa Hotel on Thursday, 13 July 2023. The IPQA Directorate invited the Stellenbosch University (SU) Director of the Centre for Academic Planning and Quality Assurance (APQA), Mr André Müller who is a facilitator in the Training on Internal Quality Assurance (TrainIQA) project, offered to quality practitioners in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Attendees of the workshop

Dr Patience Mativandlela

Dr Patience Mativandlela, Director of Institutional Planning and Quality Assurance said the Directorate saw it fit for the University of Venda Community to have a workshop on quality assurance approaches, self-evaluation review (SER) guidelines, processes, and share best practices from another local institution. Dr Mativandlela further indicated that “we believe all non-academic and academic departments will better understand the Quality Management System concept and reflect on what makes UNIVEN better than other higher education institutions”.

Amongst the attendees were representatives from Executive and Senior Management as well as Heads of Departments from both academic and non-academic.

Mr Lufuno Netshifhefhe

Mr Lufuno Netshifhefhe, IPQA Head of Quality Assurance gave a presentation on Quality Assurance scope, current systems and SER at UNIVEN. His presentation touched on departmental and programme quality reviews with the higher education context, the UNIVEN context, and the process-flowchart. Mr Netshifhefhe explained the processes of Council on Higher Education (CHE) and how these operate to ensure institutions have their internal quality assurance systems in place to manage the quality of their activities and educational provision. When it comes to UNIVEN context, Netshifhefhe highlighted that UNIVEN is in line with the Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) and UNIVEN approved Quality Assurance (QA) policy, guidelines to ensure that a well-established and fully functional Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) systems which include: Appropriate plans, policies, structures, processes and networks; and the flexibility to assure quality across their functions and operations, including the core academic activities, governance structures and management, administrative and support services.

Mr Netshifhefhe explained that the QA policy needs to ensure and implementation of quality of the core business of teaching, learning, research, and community engagement, as well as that the supporting processes are maintained and improved through critical self-evaluation, followed by peer evaluation. He indicated that the CHE expects public and private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to have strong Internal QA systems to ensure that all aspects of educational provision are functioning as planned, the CHE expects institutions to conduct their own self-reviews as part of regular institutional quality review cycles and to collect evidence that would inform continuous quality improvement and enhancement.

Mr André Müller

The Stellenbosch University Director of Centre for Academic Planning and Quality Assurance (APQA), Mr André Müller, a facilitator in the TrainIQA presented quality reviews in the higher education landscape: Lessons from Stellenbosch University. He advised the workshop attendees to find ways that would assist them to be more relevant in this era. “Know how to plan, how to teach and how to tackle your research. Always aim to improve from your previous performance,” he said. He introduced the notion of “quality as sense making” as articulated by Marshall (2016). In his presentation amongst other things he spoke about self- evaluation, Quality Assurance Framework, tools for sense making, how to tackle challenges and student participation in quality assurance.
His guidance includes:

• Layers of quality reviews: self-evaluation, and peer evaluation and these are critical and need to be managed appropriately;

• Some institutions use quality reviews as a vehicle for transformation;

• Promote internal cross-disciplinary constitution of internal panels based on the quality of a person and not the portfolio or discipline;

• Introduce the scholarship of educational leadership, particularly for facilitative units/directorates because you are compelled to know a bit about everything colleagues are doing in their areas of expertise-departments, etc.

• Involve students, business partners and track your graduates.

Professor Vhonani Netshandama

The workshop was Chaired by Professor Vhonani Netshandama, Director Community Engagement, who in her concluding remarks, referenced Chris Brink’s book, The Soul of the university, why excellence is not enough, and other critiques which are unsettled when notions of quality are glossed through as quality benign. Standards are problematic if coming only from hegemonic paradigms and are decontextualised. UNIVEN has a task to ‘make sense’ for itself of what quality management systems and processes are transformative to assist UNIVEN’s identity and vision. Prof Netshandama encouraged colleagues to report back to their respective workstations the lessons from SU and conveyed gratitude to Mr Müller for an insightful presentation.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – Mr Botwe Kraziya

The closing remarks were conveyed by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr Botwe Kraziya, who encouraged colleagues to plan and budget appropriately for the next circle of planned reviews. “Tell us the review plans, costs and infuse them in your budgeting”, he said.

Institutional Planning and Quality Assurance Directorate staff members, interns and Mr Müller

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525 /8710
Date: 17July 2023

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