Teaching quality

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 a fruitful confrontation to which it is necessary to aspire in order to make the social role played by the University effective and concrete.
QUALITY ASSURANCE means: defining quality policies in harmony and synergy with the University's strategic guidelines and reliable and robust procedures through which the governing bodies can implement them; implementing activities to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of 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 visit this page: https://www.unipr.it/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/didattica/i-corsi-di-studio/compilazione-del-questionario-di-valutazione-della-didattica-line

Organisation and responsibility for the QA of the degree course

Quality Assurance of the degree course is a constituent element of the management, monitoring and measurement of the dynamics governing teaching, the verification of knowledge and know-how.
Degree courses, in particular, are at the heart of the educational mission of higher education institutions. They are designed through the design of one or more output figures, defined through the identification of their scientific, cultural and/or professional characteristics and, consistently, of the training paths leading to the acquisition of the specific knowledge and skills associated with the output profiles.
Course design must involve the 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 the graduates drawn by the degree course (organisations representing the production of goods and services, the professions and/or - if considered relevant to the project - scientific societies, research centres, academic and cultural institutions of national or international relevance, etc.). Where functional to the proposed project, stakeholders may be represented by a Steering Committee, consisting of a representation of the Department's teaching staff and representatives from the world of work, culture and research representing the stakeholders of one or more degree courses.
The degree courses must be constantly updated, reflect the most advanced knowledge in the disciplines, also in view of the continuation of studies in subsequent cycles, ensuring interchange with the world of research and the world of work.
Course of study - Review Group - Quality Assurance Manager
For the purposes of Quality Assurance, each course of study is required to:
⦁    apply, as far as he/she is concerned, the policies and general guidelines for quality established by the governing bodies;
⦁    carry out self-assessment and review of its training and management of the course of study according to the analysis reported in the annual report of the Joint Committee of Teachers and Students (CPDS) and the data provided by ANVUR, the Evaluation Committee and the Management Control Unit (U.O.), also comparing itself with similar degree courses with a view to benchmarking;
⦁    promoting continuous improvement and assessing its effectiveness;
⦁    implementing the evaluation of teaching in accordance with the provisions of the University.
The Course Committee, through its President, is also responsible for the information reported in the ANVUR documents (SUA-CdS, Annual Monitoring Form, Cyclical Review Report).
To this end, each course of study sets up a Review Group (RG) made up of figures from within the course itself, able to contribute to the evaluation of the course from different points of view (teaching staff, technical-administrative staff, students). The Course committee is normally composed of the Course  President, the Quality Assurance Manager (RAQ), a student representative and an Education Manager from the Degree course's Department. The RG has the task of guiding the course of study towards the goal of continuous improvement of its results. The RG manages the self-assessment process, i.e. the process by which the school monitors its own performance and assesses its own results, also according to the guidelines established by ANVUR.
In the course of the self-assessment process, the Course council examines everything that can contribute to the analysis of the results of the degree course, and in particular:
⦁    the annual report provided by the Joint Committee of Teachers and Students of reference; the report of the Evaluation Committee;
⦁    the progress of students' careers;
⦁    the availability of contextual services (tutoring, internationalisation, guidance, internships, etc.);
⦁    consultation with the socio-economic system of reference (including the Steering Committee, sector studies, specific meetings with social partners);
⦁    the availability of resources (human and infrastructural);
⦁    the opinion of students on the degree course;
⦁    the availability of information on the degree course;
⦁    the quality of the services provided;
⦁    the quality of the teaching staff;
⦁    the quality of the teaching staff's training;
⦁    consultation with the socio-economic system of reference (including the Steering Committee, sector studies, specific meetings with social partners);
⦁    availability of resources (human and infrastructural);
⦁    students' opinions on teaching, on the organisation of the school and on the training pathway;
⦁    any other information provided by the RAQ, the Education Manager and the Coordinator/Responsible for the teaching quality service (see paragraph X).
The work of the Review Group takes the form of the compilation of an Annual Monitoring Form and the drafting of the Cyclical Review Report, which is discussed within the Council of the relevant Degree Course and forwarded to the University Quality Assurance Committee PQA and the University Evaluation Committee.
Finally, the Quality Assurance Manager (RAQ) has the function of monitoring and verifying the correct implementation of the improvement actions approved by the Degree Course committee. The RAQ is identified among the degree course teaching staff.
Departmental Quality Assurance In this context, the role of the Departments is of primary importance, as they are fundamental organisational structures for carrying out scientific research, teaching and training activities, as well as for the transfer of knowledge and innovation and for related or ancillary external activities. The Director and the Department Council are the governing bodies of the Department and are responsible for defining the Quality Assurance Policies for Departmental Research and Teaching.
The University Quality Assurance Committee (PQD) is set up within each department and is the operational and linking body between the department and the University Quality Assurance Committee.
The PQD:
⦁    disseminates the culture of quality;
⦁    applies, as far ashe/she is concerned, the policies and general guidelines for quality established by the governing bodies of the University;
⦁    assists the chairpersons of the course of study in the drafting of documents for the QA of the CDS (SUA-CdS, cyclical review report, annual monitoring form);
⦁    assists the Director in the drafting of research QA documents (SUA-RD, any programmatic documents of the Department);
⦁    supports the Director and the Department Council in the definition of policies and objectives for Quality and QA of research and third mission;
⦁    promotes continuous improvement in research and teaching through self-evaluation activities and evaluates the effectiveness of actions taken.
In addition, the PQD, through the Department Teaching Delegate (as provided for by the "Framework Regulation for the Functioning of Departments"), liaises with the Department Teaching Commission, a commission that supports the Director in carrying out his/her teaching duties (as provided for by the "Framework Regulation for the Functioning of Departments"), while, through the Departmental Delegate for Research Quality and Third Mission, he/she verifies the regular execution of the procedures for the drafting of the SUA-RD.
Department Director According to the Statute, the Director has the function of promoting, guiding and coordinating scientific activities. He/she supervises and evaluates research activities and the third mission.
The Director is assisted by the Department's Research Quality and Third Mission Delegate, who is entrusted with the following tasks
⦁    support in the definition of the Department's research quality and third mission policies with the identification of indicators that take into account the teaching commitment but also the quality of research and technology transfer activities;
⦁    definition of the Department's research quality and third mission assurance procedures;
⦁    annual monitoring of research products (as defined by ANVUR in the VQR call and in the SUA-RD), both in quantitative and qualitative terms;
⦁    structured management of the Department's Public Engagement activities.
The Director is responsible for the information reported in the QA documents (SUA-RD and any other Departmental policy documents).
In accordance with the Statute and with the University Regulations and the Framework Regulation for the functioning of the Departments, the Joint Committee of Teachers and Students (CPDS) of the Departments have been set up, composed of one teacher and one student for each course of study belonging to the Department. The SDPC may be divided into sub-committees if deemed necessary. He/she is chaired by one of the tenured Professors.
The CPDS is a permanent observatory on teaching activities.
⦁    monitors the range of courses offered and the quality of teaching, as well as the services provided to students by professors and researchers within the Department;
⦁    expresses an opinion on the consistency between the credits allocated to educational activities and the specific educational objectives set;
⦁    identifies and monitors indicators for the evaluation of results;
⦁    formulates opinions on the activation and suppression of degree programmes;
⦁    analyses data and information relating to the range of courses on offer and the quality of teaching;
⦁    submits proposals to the Evaluation Committee for improving the quality and effectiveness of teaching structures;
⦁    monitors the indicators that measure the degree of achievement of teaching objectives at the level of individual structures.
By 31 December each year, the CPDS draws up a report in accordance with the provisions of the quality assurance legislation and sends it to the Chairmen of the Boards of Studies related to the Department, to the Director of the Department, to the Coordinator of the University Quality Control and to the Coordinator of the University Evaluation Committee.
Departmental structures
At departmental structure level, coordination in all typical departmental administrative and management activities is carried out by the Head of Administrative Management (RAG). Among other functions, the RAG oversees and coordinates the activities related to administrative support to institutional teaching activities, including front-office work with students, in relation to the department's courses, the educational offer, the evaluation and self-evaluation of courses, supervising the processes related to the accreditation and quality of degree courses; supports and assists the Presidents of degree courses in functional coordination with the Teaching Area; activities relating to administrative support for institutional research activities and the third mission, including technology transfer, research grants, research scholarships, overseeing processes relating to the quality of research and the third departmental mission.
In the field of teaching, according to the University function chart, the RAG can avail himself/herself of a Service Coordinator for the quality of teaching (cat. EP) who coordinates, together with the RAG, the typical support activities for teaching, the educational offer, the front office with students, and the quality of courses, including PhD programmes. He/she coordinates the department's teaching contacts; he/she coordinates incoming and outgoing orientation initiatives; he/she coordinates the admission processes to degree courses and the management of activities relating to tutoring and graduating students; he/she supports the degree presidents the Joint Committee of Teachers and Students and the Supervisory Boards of the degree courses in the Department. He/she  coordinates activities related to internships, placements and international mobility. He/she carries out functional coordination of staff. He/she works in functional connection with the teaching area.
Alternatively, the RAG may employ a Head of Service for Teaching Quality (cat. D) who guarantees, under the coordination of the RAG, supervision of the typical teaching support activities as described above.
In addition, each school has an Education Manager (MQD) (Cat. D, C, B) which guarantees the organisation and functionality of the teaching of the course of study. He/she provides, in functional coordination with the head of the service for teaching quality, administrative support for everything concerning the organisation and operation of degree courses. He/she manages and updates the content of the degree course website in collaboration with the relevant structures. He/she works in functional connection with the teaching area.
As a member of the RG, s/he plays an essential reference role for the teaching organisation and is a professional figure of particular value for the Quality Assurance of Courses of Study.
In the field of Research and Third Mission, according to the University function chart, the RAG can avail itself of a Research and Third Mission Service Coordinator (cat. EP) who coordinates, in common with the RAG, the typical activities supporting research (national and international), the third mission, the quality of research, the enhancement of departmental know-how, also performing interface and connection functions with the technical staff of the department. He/she coordinates and supervises the support processes related to the proper implementation of the department's research activities, from participation in calls for proposals, to the management of research projects (including contract research), to support in the preparation of research contracts, to the reporting of all national and international projects and contracts. He/she supports the drafting of the SUA-RD. He/she carries out functional coordination of staff. He/she works in functional connection with the Research Area. Alternatively, the RAG may employ a Service Manager for Research and Third Mission (Cat. D) which guarantees, under the coordination of the RAG, the supervision of the typical research support and third mission activities as described above.

The minimum organisational structure of the course of study consists of the following entities:

⦁    Degree President,
⦁    Quality Assurance Manager of the Degree COurse (RAQ)
⦁    Review Group (GdR)
⦁    Steering Committee
⦁    Guidance delegate
⦁    Delegate for tutoring
⦁    Career guidance delegate
⦁    Degree tutors
⦁    Commission for international mobility (CMI)

The Review Group of the Second-cycle Degree Course in Architecture and City Sustainability (RG) is composed of the following members:

⦁    Prof. Michele Zazzi (Course President) - Responsible for the Review;
⦁    Prof. Barbara Gherri (Course Professor) - Quality assurance manager for the degree course;
⦁    Ms Cinzia Zilli (Education Manager);
⦁    Ms Chiesa Isabel (Student)

Work planning and implementation deadlines for initiatives

The quality assurance of the Course consists in the implementation of the QA Model proposed and coordinated by the University Quality Assurance Committee and in the planning and implementation of corrective actions, whose effectiveness is assessed annually through the analysis of the indicators in the Annual Monitoring Form and, in depth, periodically in the Cyclical Review Report (concluded for the School of Architecture at the end of 2018).
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 CSD and are coordinated and monitored by the Quality Assurance Manager (RAQ).
The degree course appoints an internal Review Group (RPM) whose activities are divided as follows: annually it elaborates the Annual Monitoring Form for the following academic year; annually it elaborates the SUA-CdS for the following academic year; periodically it verifies the implementation of the improvements proposed in the Cyclical Review Report and evaluates the overall trend of the students' careers, on the basis of the data provided by ANVUR.
The overall planning of QA activities leads to daily contact with student representatives, tutors, teaching staff and staff in the Academic Office and central offices. In connection with deadlines for documents or obligations (review, SUA form, beginning and end of semesters, examination and graduation sessions) activities intensify and take the form of drafting texts or collecting information.
More specifically, the planning activities relating to quality assurance at school level should be organised as follows: survey of demand for training (involvement of stakeholders): a meeting at least once a year with the Steering Committee, usually scheduled by May; definition/update of training objectives: by 31 January each year; verification of the relevance of the course catalogue: every year, if necessary, within the ministerial deadlines for the modification of the ordinamental frameworks; harmonisation of the teaching programmes: every year by September; updating of the teaching cards (Syllabus) for the following academic year: every year by 31 July; evaluation, by the RAQ, of the students' questionnaires: every year by 31 October; compilation of the SUA-CdS: every year according to the ministerial deadlines, normally between the end of May and the beginning of June; compilation of the Annual Monitoring Form: every year by 31 October; meetings of the Review Group aimed at monitoring actions and proposing improvement initiatives (at least three per year): one in January: analysis of the survey on the demand for training and possible redesign of the course catalogue; analysis of the annual report of the Evaluation Committee; monitoring of drop-outs and improvement proposals (didactic tutoring); one in March/April: analysis of the report of the Joint Committee of Teachers and Students; preparation of the SUA-CdS; harmonisation of programmes; updating of teaching records; preparation of the Prospectus; one in September/October: analysis of the results of the student opinion survey, analysis of the degree course indicators and preparation of the SMA; assessment of the status of the actions reported in the RRC; preparation of the SUA-CdS.
It should also be pointed out that for some time now, a process of revision of the courses on offer has been underway within the architecture degree courses (first- and second-cycle), which began in 2015 on the basis of an analysis of the quality and attractiveness of the courses themselves within our university (ref. meeting of 25 February 2015 on "Monitoring and qualification of UniPr courses on offer", promoted by the then Rector, Prof. Loris Borghi, and the former Vice Rector with responsibility for teaching and student services, Prof. Maria Cristina Ossiprandi), highlighting the more critical position of Architecture (in terms of attractiveness and student satisfaction) in the face of a general decline in enrolments in the degree programmes of our University.
On the basis of that initial discussion regarding the possibility of relaunching both the architecture degree courses, a number of documents were produced which, starting from a comparative analysis of enrolment data and student opinion, provided an opportunity to discuss not only the functional and organisational aspects but also the cultural approach to both training projects. We refer here in particular to the two documents, presented and discussed in the CCS, "Anamnesis of the Degree Courses in Architecture and Hypothesis for Revitalisation" (signed by a group of Faculty members in the ICAR/14 sector on 15.1.2015) and the one presented by the then Presidents of the degree course in Architectural Sciences (First-cycle Degree) and in Architecture (Second-cycle Degree): "Notes on the School of Architecture at the University of Parma".
The debate on the proposals put forward for the re-launch of the school and its cultural re-foundation accelerated at the beginning of 2017, with the establishment of an Architecture Design Committee (coordinated by the Director of Education and comprising representatives of the various disciplinary areas present in the degree course), which  after sixteen meetings and discussion with the external consultation bodies (Steering Committee)  produced a proposal to modify the current course regulations and curricula, which was presented to the relevant CCS (on 14.11.2017) and the Department Council (on 23.11.2017), and unanimously approved. During 2018, an in-depth Cyclical Review Report was completed, which allowed the critical aspects of the degree course to be highlighted in an even more in-depth and topical manner.
This proposal, also in the light of the results of the cyclical review report, while confirming the overall validity of the cultural aspects of our degree course, aims to improve its attractiveness and differentiation from other architecture courses in Italy, characterising it as "Architecture for the sustainable city".
The proposed cultural project, which has been in operation since the A.Y. 2019-2020, has been awarded a grant  (one year later than the Degree Course in "Architecture Regeneration Sustainability"),and wishes to present a response to the cultural challenges and professional evolution posed by current events according to different points of attention: from the cultural point of view of contents, through a characterisation of the course catalogue on the themes of urban regeneration and sustainability of building and urban transformations, in coherence with the most recent evolutions of the profession and the changing needs of cities, aligning itself in this way with the University Statute; from a methodological point of view, through the organisation of the programme of study by scale of intervention, rather than by thematic areas (architecture and urban planning-landscape respectively) which will see, in the face of a reduction in exams, a strong interdisciplinary approach, thus anticipating in the programme the complex and multidisciplinary nature of the architectural profession; from the point of view of attractiveness and international mobility, strengthening the choice, already made in the current programme and maintained in the new proposal, of providing the entire course in English.