The Quality Assurance Department (QAD) has been established by the Dean of the college according to Articles 94 and 95 of the bylaws. The main objective of the QAD is to enhance quality culture at Ibri College of Technology. The Department comprises the chairman, head and quality officers.
During the academic year of 2017/2018, Ibri College of Technology is continuing to work towards its academic accreditation. The college is due to submit its Institutional Standards Assessment Application (ISAA) to the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) in June 2019. The OAAA’s audit visit to the college is scheduled for October 2019. Consequently, the Quality Assurance Department (QAD) at the college has been working in conjunction with the college staff to prepare for both the upcoming application and the audit visit. Below are details of some of the activities conducted by the QAD in the first two semesters of this academic year.
ISAA Review Meetings
During semesters one and two of this year, the QAU conducted 26 meetings as part of the college’s Steering Committee. The purpose of the meetings was primarily to review the college’s ISAA; to analyse and give in-depth feedback on the content of the most recent version of the application. However, the meetings also allowed the committee to identify potential areas for improvement within the college ahead of the completion and submission of the ISAA. The college’s Steering Committee is comprised of the dean, the assistant deans, the heads of centres and departments, the head of the Quality Assurance Unit, and the quality assurance officers. As the feedback was directed towards the application writers, the writers were also invited to attend the meeting that related to the specific criterion to which they were assigned. In the meetings, the writers were provided with constructive feedback regarding their criteria commentaries. The QAU took the minutes for each of the meetings and then shared these minutes with the writers so that each of the ISAA criteria could be updated. As a result of the meetings, 78 decisions were taken. These decisions were taken to help the college align its actions with the requirements of the OAAA’s ISA. The decisions were disseminated to the departments and centres for implementation. The QAU has arranged to visit each of the departments, centres and committees that were subject to a decision by the end of April in order to monitor the implementation status of each of the decisions.
The QAU and representatives of the college’s self-assessment writing groups met with the Ministry of Manpower’s Technical Support Team (TST) in order to receive their feedback on the college’s ISAA. The TST’s feedback was both helpful and positive, and the QAU members were pleased to note that much of the feedback the team gave echoed the findings of the college’s ISAA Review Meetings; a point that helps to confirm the efficacy of the Steering Committee’s role in reviewing the ISAA.
The QAU has been involved in overseeing both the college-level Self-assessment for the ISAA and the Self-assessment for the General Foundation Programme (GFP). Five Self-assessment writing training sessions were conducted for staff members involved in writing the ISAA. Four Self-assessment writing training sessions for staff members involved in writing the General Foundation Programme Quality Audit report. Each of the QAU members are involved in the self-assessments on a number of levels. The QAU members’ duties include:
- overseeing and monitoring the Self-assessments for the college and the GFP;
- organising and conducting Self-assessment training, briefing and awareness sessions;
- acting as a chairperson/member of one of the ad hoc committees conducting the self-assessments;
- making sure that the writers have access to all the documents they require through the QAU’s SharePoint;
- reviewing and proofreading the commentaries the ad hoc committees produce;
- providing any necessary support to all involved in the Self-assessment throughout the process.
The QAU worked in conjunction with the college’s Policy Management Committee (PMC) to identify and select policies for review. The PMC plans to review all of the college’s policies this academic year. As part of the first batch, nine existing policies have now been reviewed according to IbriCT’s Policy Management System. Five new policies were also identified for development. Of this first batch of 14 policies reviewed/developed through ad hoc committees, seven of the policies have now been approved by the College Council (CC). The remaining seven have been submitted to the council for approval and are due to be discussed in the CC’s next meeting.
The second batch of policies to be reviewed/developed has been identified by the QAU and the PMC. Nine polices have been identified for review, and three new policies and one new framework have been identified for development. The ad hoc committees involved in batch two have been formed, and received their briefing and training sessions on 19 April 2018.
As part of the policy review/development process, the QAU conducted briefing and training sessions for the writers, and developed guidelines and templates to assist them during the research and writing process.
The QAU and the PMC are working together with the ETC to develop a page on the college website that all stakeholders can access. This should be accessible by the beginning of the next academic year. To view the policies on the QAU SharePoint click here. You may need to log in with you college email.
The QAU organised and oversaw the annual Internal Audit in the college. In order to do so, the QAU provided training for the auditors in order to help them to conduct the audit efficiently and effectively. Senior staff members were selected to act as auditors. The training sessions took place on 13 and 15 March 2018. The audit itself took place from 21-27 April 2018. The questions asked in the audit were derived from the ISA standards and criteria applicable to the entity (department/centre/committee) being audited, as well as from the entity’s Operational Plan (OP). Once the audit was completed, the auditors were asked to submit their reports to the QAU. The QAU collated the findings and disseminated targeted recommendations to the departments, centres and committees.
QAU Awareness Training Sessions
The unit conducted training sessions for all of the staff in each of the college departments and centres in order to raise awareness of the QAU’s activities and progress regarding the ISAA. Five sessions were conducted in English and three in Arabic. Specifically, the sessions aimed to create awareness of:
- the differences between Stage 1 and Stage 2 Institutional Standards Assessment (ISA);
- the college’s current position in the ISA process
- what a self-assessment is, within the context of quality assurance in a higher educational institution;
- how the self-assessment is carried out in IbriCT;
- the ADRI (approach – development – results – improvement) model that is used to organise and write the ISAA;
- the upcoming stages of the ISA process and what the college needs to do to prepare for them.
Workshop on ISAA Writing to CAS-Ibri Staff
Ibri College of Applied Science (CAS–Ibri) invited IbriCT’s QAU to conduct a workshop for their staff about ISAA writing on 10 April 2018. Mr Guruprasath, QAU Head and Ms. Amal Al Abri, QAU Officer, conducted the workshop.
The workshop started at 12pm. At the beginning of the workshop, Ms Thuraiya Al Mamari, the Head of Quality Department at CAS-Ibri introduced the speakers and briefed the audience.
Mr Guruprasath gave a presentation about ISAA writing using the ADRI format. Using examples, he explained about the ADRI model and how to write the commentary of a criterion in the ISA application using the ADRI model. In his presentation, he included a method to identify the keywords in a criterion statement that helps the writers to accurately identify and address the criterion requirements.
After Mr Guruprasath had given his presentation, Ms Amal Al Abri gave the participants two activities on ISAA writing. The purpose of the first activity was to practice identifying keywords in a criterion statement. The second activity focused on how to write commentary for a criterion in ISAA.
Around thirty staff members from CAS-Ibri participated in this workshop.
Other Activities and Tasks:
IbriCT’s QAU also prepared for and completed the following activities during semesters one and two of the academic year of 2017/2018:
- Operational Plan review;
- Strategic Plan Achievement Report review;
- Annual Report review;
- The Ministry of Manpower’s Quality Department (QD) follow-up visit;
- Reviews and feedback on the ISAAs of other Colleges of Technology;
- A quality assurance induction for staff who have recently joined the college;
- Preparation for the QD audit;
- Collecting students’ feedback on teaching
- SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) pilot programme with the IT and Engineering departments.
The QAU has also been responsible for:
- Preparing Terms of Reference (ToR) documents;
- Preparing the minutes of meetings;
- Proofreading and copyediting college documents;
- Following up decisions that are being implemented in the college;
- Managing the QAU SharePoint.