Quality of teaching

Quality Assurance is an indispensable process that involves all those who work in the University, in which each individual's progress benefits the entire University and stimulates the kind of fruitful debate the university must aspire to in order to ensure its social role is effective and tangible.
QUALITY ASSURANCE means: defining quality policies that are aligned with the University's strategic directions, and reliable and robust procedures through which the governing bodies can implement them; implementing activities to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in all the University's internal processes, first and foremost in the service of the quality of education and research; creating awareness in all those who work in the University so that everyone's tasks are carried out competently and promptly, the services provided are effective, and a record is kept of what has been done to monitor and measure results.
For more information on Quality Assurance, please consult this page: https://www.unipr.it/en/AQ

Student Opinion Survey Questionnaire (OPIS)

The Student Opinion Survey Questionnaire (OPIS) is a tool designed to detect student opinion with a view to improving teaching, quality and the organisation of degree courses and is an integral part of the assessment system; for students it is an important opportunity to make their voices heard and actively participate in the life of their course, as a guarantee of better Quality Assurance: for this reason the University recommends that it is filled in punctually and accurately.
For more information on OPIS questionnaires, please visit the following page: https://www.unipr.it/en/didattica/i-corsi-di-studio/compilazione-del-qu…

Organisation and responsibility for Course QA

The organisational structure of QA are described in the documents:
- AQ_Model.pdf - The University of Parma's Degree Course Quality Assurance Model - AQ_Roles-pdf - The Quality Assurance Roles of Degree Courses, published online at http://www.unipr.it/presidio_qualita

Specifically, at the course level, the roles with QA functions are:
- the Director of the Department;
- the Department Council;
- the Course President;
- the Course Council;
- the Joint Professor/Instructor and Student Committee;
- the Review Group;
- the Quality Assurance Contact Person; - the Education Manager;
- the Departmental Administration Division.

It should be noted, in particular, that the degree course is responsible for scheduling the following day-to-day actions (activities and deadlines):
- proposal and approval of the course catalogue;
- drafting and approval of the prospectus;
- proposal of teaching assignments to be approved by the council;
- approval of the class schedule and of the calendar for exams, graduation sessions and thesis seminars;
- publication on the degree course web page of information relevant to students;
- advising/guidance activities;
- assessment of incoming students: evaluation of previous careers and organisation of interviews;
- organisation of tutoring activities;
- activation of internships and apprenticeships;
- promotion of international mobility;
- organisation of job placement initiatives;
- activities relating to course quality assurance  (annual monitoring form, cyclical review report).

Quality management is entrusted to the Review Group and the Course Quality Assurance Contact Person, who assists the Course Council President in implementing the quality improvement actions decided by the Course Council and monitors their implementation.
In particular the contact person:
- participates in the meetings of the Review Group
- coordinates the activities of the student tutors;
- organises regular meetings with students to check the placement of enrolled students, programmes of study and university careers, as well as any problems that may arise during the course of the year;
- supervises the internal survey of student opinion within the degree course, in addition to the surveys carried out by the University
- verifies the publication of the programmes of individual course units, any overlaps and redundancies and the need for additions, requesting, if necessary, the convening of the Course Council;
- periodically checks the course web page, verifying that student notices and exam schedules are published correctly.

The Quality Assurance of degree courses is a constituent element of the management, monitoring and measurement of the dynamics governing teaching, and the assessment of knowledge and know-how. Specifically, the Teaching and Student Services Management Area, with its various divisions, particularly as regards the 'Teaching Design and Quality Assurance’ division, performs various functions related to running the degree courses in a centralised way. More generally, the vocation of the area is to promote and prioritise the figure of the student. In this context, the area oversees the administrative processes aimed at ensuring the quality of the courses on offer, implements the re-engineering of processes in order to promote the dematerialisation of student services, and promotes the quality and efficiency of student services, supporting students in the process of integration into the world of work. The ‘Teaching Design and Quality Assurance’ division unit intends to promote, among other activities, the development of the Quality Assurance system for degree courses, supporting the process of accreditation, self-assessment and evaluation of first- and second-cycle degree courses, consolidating the University's Quality Assurance system in accordance with the indications of the national agency (ANVUR) and the European guidelines, guaranteeing its uniformity of use, while respecting the peculiarities of the individual degree courses, and favouring the construction of collaboration networks for the exchange of good practices. An adequate Quality Assurance System in the educational sphere makes it possible to provide answers corresponding to stakeholders’ expectations, in particular students, families and the employers, and to identify tangible actions for improvement, in a context of self-evaluation. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that educational quality is well documented, verifiable and assessable, to facilitate access to information, making it clearer and more comprehensible to students, families and representatives of the world of work, and to foster a virtuous circle of continuous improvement of degree courses. These processes must of course remain closely connected to the University Quality Assurance Body, which is in charge of promoting the culture and continuous improvement of university quality, and oversees the proper performance of Quality Assurance procedures within the Italian University System of self-assessment, evaluation and accreditation.

The degree courses, in particular, are at the heart of the educational mission of higher education institutions. They are designed through the identification of the ideal kind(s) of graduate profile in terms of scientific, cultural and/or professional characteristics and, consistently, of the training paths leading to the acquisition of the specific knowledge and skills associated with such profiles. Course design must involve students and external stakeholders most appropriate to the character and objectives of the course. The external stakeholders of the degree course include all the actors, organisations and institutions potentially interested in the cultural and professional profile of its graduates (organisations representing the production of goods and services, the professions and/or - if relevant - scientific societies, research centres, academic and cultural institutions of national or international relevance, etc.). Depending on the proposed project, stakeholders may be represented by a Steering Committee, comprising a representation of the Department's faculty and representatives from the world of work, culture and research representing the stakeholders of one or more degree course.
Degree courses should be constantly updated, reflecting the most advanced knowledge in the disciplines, also with a view to the continuation of studies in subsequent cycles, ensuring interchange with the world of research and the world of work.
In this context, the degree course is responsible for drafting the Annual Monitoring Form and the Cyclical Review Report. The Annual Monitoring Form consists of a concise critical commentary on the quantitative indicators calculated by ANVUR on student careers, attractiveness and internationalisation, graduate employability, quantity and qualification of teaching staff, and graduate satisfaction, to be drawn up according to the predefined ANVUR template.
The Cyclical Review Report is prepared at least every five years; it contains an in-depth self-assessment of the overall performance of the degree course, based on all relevant elements of analysis. In the Report, the degree course not only identifies and analyses the most relevant problems and challenges, but also proposes solutions to be implemented in the next cycle. In particular, the document is structured as a self-assessment of the status of the relevant Quality Requirements and, compared to the Annual Monitoring Form, has a more flexible format and is generally more extensive and detailed.
In order to guarantee a level of flexibility consistent with the organisational autonomy of each university, the window for delivering the Annual Monitoring Form to ANVUR is wide (from June to December). Cyclic Review Reports do not have a fixed deadline.

Lastly, it seems appropriate, in this context, to mention the role assumed by the Departments, since Law 240/2010 has given the Departments full responsibility for both teaching and research activities and the third mission. For this reason, the accreditation of universities, in addition to the Quality Assurance of degree courses, for which the Departments are primarily responsible, drawing up and approving their curricula and didactic regulations, and arranging for the coverage of educational activities, also provides for the QA of the research and third mission activities of the Departments.
With this in mind, the Department of Engineering and Architecture has set up the Departmental Quality Body (PQD) with the aim of monitoring and assessing the Department's teaching, research and third mission activities, as well as proposing corrective QA actions. Regarding the degree courses, the role of the PQD is to assist them and their respective Course Presidents in analysing student evaluations, identifying criticisms and preparing the documents required for QA.

 

Work scheduling and implementation deadlines for initiatives

Quality assurance of the degree course consists in the implementation of the QA Model proposed and coordinated by the Quality Assurance Body and the planning and implementation of the corrective actions described in the Review Report.

Corrective actions under the University's control are analysed by the Quality Assurance Body and forwarded to the University Bodies which, according to the ordinary organisational and management procedures, arrange for their implementation.

Corrective actions under the control of the Department and/or the degree course are planned according to the organisational and management arrangements of the Department and/or the degree course and are coordinated and monitored by the Quality Assurance Manager.
In particular, the Review Group of the degree course has compiled the Annual Report considering the activities of the degree course in the light of the Quality Assurance model and the criteria and methods for accreditation and periodic evaluation established by ANVUR.
The activities of the Review Group are currently as follows:
- annually drafts the Cyclic Review Report for the following academic year;
- annually drafts the SUA-CdS for the following academic year;
- periodically verifies the status of implementation of the improvement measures set out in the Review Report and assesses the overall progress of students' careers, in accordance with the quantity, quality and user-friendliness of the data provided by the University's relevant bodies.

The degree course in Information Systems Engineering currently lacks a Review Group and a Quality Assurance Manager (RAQ). They will be set up in time for the drafting of the first Review Reports.