Academics’ Perceptions on Quality in Higher Education Shaping Key Performance Indicators
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4752; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124752 (registering DOI)
Received: 21 August 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Institutions in higher education (HE) continuously strive to develop and deliver impactful educational programs. At the same time, they should continue to fulfill their mission to educate students in basic applied subjects and in parallel respond to the need to equip students with
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Institutions in higher education (HE) continuously strive to develop and deliver impactful educational programs. At the same time, they should continue to fulfill their mission to educate students in basic applied subjects and in parallel respond to the need to equip students with new skills. For this reason, higher education institutions (HEI) perform periodical curricular reviews adhering to internal and external quality assurance systems. The subsequent curricular reforms are of a transformative nature, preparing graduates to tackle the challenges of globalization, unemployment and vanishing professions. For these reforms to lead to sustainable curricula, the integration of quality into educational programs is instrumental. A suggested way of achieving a transformative stance is to provide the context for the application and diffusion of quality metrics in teaching and learning. This research intends to provide a discussion of key performance indicators (KPIs) related to quality. This paper presents the second round of qualitative interviews with higher education administrators and professors as a promising vehicle for advancing towards the formulation of KPIs based on their understanding of the different independent dimensions of the quality construct. These KPIs will provide valuable insights into improving teaching, learning and assessment and will eventually lead to sustainable curricula. Research findings outline the significance of the time invested to design and update a course, indicate that technology-enhanced learning solutions are perceived as key quality drivers, and point out the need to align courses with industry requirements and real-world problems. Additionally, findings indicate that the quality and impact of teaching and learning is promoted by the multi/inter-disciplinary character of a course, the engagement of students in interactive discussions and student research as part of summative assessment. The main contribution of this research is an analytic discussion of perceptions of higher education administrators and professors about quality, leading to a significant enrichment of the relevant literature. A set of innovative generic KPIs which can be used in multidimensional quality assessment in higher education is eventually proposed.