INSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP AND LEEWAY – IMPORTANT ELEMENTS IN A NATIONAL SYSTEM OF QUALITY ASSURANCE AND ACCREDITATION: EXPERIENCES FROM A PILOT STUDY

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Experiences from the step-wise implementation of the Norwegian national system for quality assurance and accreditation provide the empirical base for discussing (1) the readiness among higher education institutions to take an active share in the national system and (2) the potential of a national quality assurance and accreditation system to fulfil a double aim of controlling and enhancing quality. The findings indicate that a key element for a successful implementation of the new system is the institutions' own understanding of the rationale behind the system. Internal evaluations, annual reports and quantitative institutional basic data must be considered and also used by the institutional leaders and the academic staff members as “tools” for meaningful internal quality work and not just looked upon as strange elements requested from “above”. The institutions' quality work must be considered a crucial “instrument” for strategic management of the entire institution.

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