Quality Assurance

In order to ensure the systematic development of its operations, the quality assurance system at AUS designed to cover the whole range of institutional activities, including teaching, research, governance, administration, services and resources, and to be operated in close alignment with Part I of the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. Quality assurance activities provide relevant information and data to support the institution in achieving its strategic objectives, goals and the continuous development of its operations.
Quality assurance and enhancement serve the students' academic success, strategic achievements, the motivation and satisfaction of all staff members, and reassures external accountability. In order to develop and secure quality, the liberty and personal responsibility of all involved has to be supported. Besides, the top management levels have to create organizational prerequisites and must take the responsibility for the procedures and results of the quality assurance system.
The quality assurance system at AUS covers the following functions:

1.1.     Strategic planning

Considering its role in the monitoring of and reporting on the achievement of strategic objectives, the quality assurance system provides an effective early warning system that has the capacity to detect and signal irregularities, provide potential sources of the problem and support the solution finding. Also, the system includes a quality cycle which correlates objectives, operations, and results in order to enable a continuous quality improvement by closing the quality circle and ensuring that steps are taken to match the quality of the achievements with the strategic objectives.

1.2.     Governance accountability

The quality assurance system supports the institution in reflecting good governance principles, such as transparency and accountability, by overseeing the regulatory documentation of all decision making bodies and other Committees, and ensuring that they work in an open manner so as to facilitate access to its policies and decisions by the public.

1.3.     Policymaking

Coordination of the development and revision of the policies and procedures for all areas of the organization take place so as to ensure transparency, predictability, consistency and continuity. The policy making component is based on the principle of institution-wide participation in the formulation of policies, as well as timely implementation of policies and monitoring thereof.

1.4.     Data collection

The data function of the quality assurance system supports institutional planning, decision-making, management, and monitoring of all key institutional processes. It also facilitates the development of appropriate institutional systems, student, graduate, and employer surveys, and impact studies, as well as creates value from the generated data and helps in more proactive/seamless decision-making management and monitoring processes. This is achieved through a series of instruments designed to collect data later on used to improve the quality of education and learning outcomes as part of the monitoring and feedback segment of the quality cycle; this includes all internal and external stakeholders in the development of its operations.

1.5.     Academic quality enhancement

The quality assurance system operates in conjunction with the arrangements and instruments for the enhancement of academic quality, design, monitoring, and review of study programs, procedures established for the clarity, consistency, and quality enhancement of the student and staff life-cycle, with the overall scope of improving the quality of training and student learning experience.

1.6.     Quality culture

At AUS, quality culture is defined by two components that support and reinforce each other: a procedural component that enhances the organizational transparency by determination of responsibilities, identification of appropriate KPIs, standards, rewards and accountability mechanisms, procedures, and process descriptions; secondly, an attitudinal component involving all internal and external stakeholders in anchoring a quality-based thinking in the organization.
It is within the scope of the quality assurance strategy to contribute to the enhancement and development of a quality culture where everyone assumes and understands their role in the enhancement of quality as restless excellence, defined as a collective, commonly agreed goal.

1.7.     Continuous improvement

The quality assurance system is based on an improvement cycle which implies that strengths and weaknesses are identified and plans are designed for dealing with the challenges. This area is based on the quality assurance cycle detailed below, with the understanding that the core mission of the quality assurance system is to support and guide the decision making process based on data and close the feedback loops that contribute to the enhancement of institutional operations.

1.8.     Internal self-assessment

Within the quality assurance system, periodic internal assessments are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the system and smaller parts within it and seek ways to improve it. Self-assessments are conducted at institutional level, as well as within programs, as further detailed in the Policy and Procedure for Program Management.

1.9.     External compliance and accountability

Ensure that the organization is compliant with the expectations and requirements of regulators, accreditors and degree-awarding partners.