Self-assessment of advanced programs in Water Resources Engineering and Civil Engineering under AUN standards
Nguyễn Văn Tính
Department of Educational Testing and Quality Assurance
1. The role of quality assurance in training programs and self-assessment
Curricula accreditation is an important and indispensable trend of universities in Vietnam with the aim to improving the training quality and branding of universities. The Ministry of Education and Training as well as education institutions have paid special attention to this work in the current period, which is a competitive stage of international integration in training, in which the quality of the training determines the size and quality of enrollment as well as the labor market.
The role of curricular accreditation can be seen in four aspects, including: a) Accurately evaluate the current status of training quality in each major; b) Evaluate the extent to which the social needs of each sector are met; c) Help the society and learners assess the quality of training quality in each faculty accurately, and d) Help universities to integrate more intensively into higher education in the world and increase their rankings on the ranking scales.
In order to implement the quality assurance process (external assessment), educational institutions must self-assess first (internal assessment), then the external assessment groups will carry out the work of assessment and recognize the standard of quality assessment if the standard is met.
The Thuyloi University has published a self-assessment report for two advanced programs in Water Resources Engineering and Civil Engineering.
The chosen set of standard criteria for the self-assessment report is the one which is built by the Asian University Network (AUN). This set is selected to apply by many universities in the Southeast Asia and Vietnam because of the suitability for the higher education conditions of many universities in the region. The standard version (version 3.0) consists of 11 criteria categories and 50 sub-criteria covering all the activities and resources of the training institution including: learning outcomes, curriculum, teaching and studying, quality assurance, facilities, chance of work after graduation, satisfaction of stakeholders, etc.
2. Objectives of the self-assessment of advanced programs
Advanced programs are considered as high quality programs by Thuyloi University, so the work of quality assessment and accreditation to achieve the certificate of recognition under the AUN standard is a goal set by the university. Achieving this goal will be the evidence to:
- Assure the good training quality.
- Enhance the prestige of Thuyloi University.
- Improve the admission quality.
- Ensure benefits for learners and society.
- Create the premise for other training programs in university to achieve the certificate of recognition under AUN standard.
In order to complete the self-assessment report, Thuyloi University has carried out the following tasks:
- Planned and established the steering committee, secretariats and reporting groups
Thuyloi University has set up a 22-member steering committee consisting of leaders of the university, departments and faculties for overall management and guidance. The Secretariat is responsible for facilitating reports writing such as gathering, summarizing, synthesizing data; organizing conferences, training workshops, etc. Each reporting group consists of three to five high-level lecturers with rich work experience and deep understanding of the training program.
- Organized training classes
The Vietnamese national organ for quality assurance in education is Hanoi National University which provides training workshops for writing self-assessment reports. The training was divided into two phases (in June and October 2014), in which lecturers involved in the report writing were provided with expert guidance and materials by the specialists in educational accreditation.
- Learned from other universities’ experience and held trainings to enhance the capacity
The university has organized the working sessions to learn from other universities’ experience at the Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City and the University of Technology and the University of Science (VNU). These schools have AUN-recognized programs.
In June 2014, the university sent a delegation to the AUN Secretariat in Bangkok (Thailand) to work. In December 2014, the university sent 8 teachers for training at the AUN Secretariat to get awarded the certificate of quality accreditation.
Staff worked with the AUN secretariat
Lecturers of Thuyloi University received AUN-QA quality accreditation certificates
In April 2016, Thuyloi University was officially approved as an associate member of the AUN-QA Network under ASEAN University Network. This is a prerequisite for getting external assessment in accordance with AUN-QA standards.
- Wrote self-assessment reports
The self-assessment report had been written from March 2015 and the final revision was completed in May 2017. During the process, the teams collected and analyzed the data for the report. The written reports had consulted different sources, and they had been reviewed and revised several times.
Upon completion, the reports of the advanced program were submitted to the Institute for Quality Assurance and Hanoi University of Science for review and evaluation. The review was conducted and Thuyloi University invited educational experts of the Institute to ensure the complete editing.
As planned, in September 2017, an independent team of experts from the Southeast Asian University Network will come to evaluate the two majors of the advanced program.
After the implementation of writing reports, the achieved results are really positive.
- Two self-assessment reports have been completed and have been reviewed.
- Improve the capacity and build a team to do quality accreditation in accordance with regional standards.
- Increase the awareness of the role and importance of quality assurance in staff, faculties and students.
In addition, through this work, there has been a deeper and broader engagement in quality assurance with other local universities, employers and alumni. /.