‘Quality Assurance Proves, Quality Enhancement Improves’
To specify the framework for quality enhancement at James Cook University.
The framework principles apply across all the University’s activities.
Policy and Procedures
The approach to quality at JCU is enhancement led. This approach has its basis in sound quality assurance practices. Organisational quality assurance processes provide robust assurance that standards are being met. Quality enhancement builds upon quality assurance processes requiring planned changes to incrementally improve or enhance the quality of our student’s learning experience.
An enhancement led approach uses as its basis the model described in the Business Excellence Framework and adopted by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA); (AUQA was superseded by TEQSA in 2011); Approach, Deployment, Results and Improvement (ADRI) (see diagram below and Appendix One for more detail).
The model, when applied to any University activity, supports a systematic and continuous cycle of improvement. Quality enhancement is encompassed within each dimension through structures, processes and planned activities that encourage the continuation of this cycle. For example, the University planning process is the driver for the development and implementation of divisional strategies and the measure of results against targets. At an individual level each academic staff member can review and change practice to enhance the learning experience of their students.
JCU has developed a Quality Enhancement Framework in order to encourage a cycle of continuous improvement and to support the alignment of resources and effort in the achievement of the University intent and objectives.
The Quality Enhancement Framework reflects JCU’s commitment to:
- the intent, purpose and values of the University Plan;
- students and the continued enhancement of their learning;
- collaborative approaches to improving the student experience; and
- an emphasis on participative and critical supported self evaluation; shifting our focus away from audit and towards improvement; away from models based on inputs and outputs and towards one which draws on evidence for cultural change and improvement.
To further strengthen continuous improvement, and to encourage enhancement, JCU has developed a set of principles which should be embedded into all activities where possible:
- Aligning our activities with the University Intent, purpose and values;
- Encompassing the four phase cycle of ‘approach, deployment, results and improvement’ (ADRI);
- Encouraging a culture of self-reflection and peer review so that strengths and weaknesses may be identified and addressed;
- Collaborating with our colleagues across boundaries;
- Embracing a student focused approach where student participation and feedback informs all phases of the quality cycle;
- Actively engaging with the community to meet its needs;
- Using evidence based practice, informed by scholarly review, and utilising quantitative and qualitative data for effective decision making and strategy evaluation; and
- Identifying and using relevant internal and external benchmarks and good practice to set goals and strive for improvement.
The Quality Enhancement Framework
The JCU Quality Enhancement Framework is a key set of activities which support the ‘ADRI’ quality cycle and the enhancement principles as described above. Using this model, examples of the key activities that the University undertakes in each dimension (and to encourage an enhancement approach of planned changes) are set out below.
This includes the setting of the strategic intent, purpose and values of the University with the development of a structure and set of policies which provide a coordinated approach to their attainment:
- Development with stakeholder involvement of the strategic intent and University Plan providing a united intent, purpose and set of values;
- Availability of relevant data to undertake a comprehensive planning process;
- Development of University level performance measures and operational performance targets (OPTs) (for divisions and JCU Singapore);
- An annual planning framework and cycle based on core data analysis, which engages all divisions in:
- strategic planning;
- budget planning;
- student load planning;
- workforce planning and;
- risk management.
- Appropriate governance and committee structures with delegated authority to operationalise policy and plans;
- Policies and procedures for divisional and thematic reviews and for course performance and academic program reporting;
- A Performance Management Program to link individual’s work and development to the University Plan;
- Strategic priorities mapped to allocation of resources;
- Data provided to support decision making through divisional performance portfolios;
- Academic Board and its sub committees for Education and Research, Divisional Academic Boards and Associate Deans for teaching and learning and research; and
- Professional accreditation.
2. Management and Implementation (Deployment)
Implementation is through a management structure that operationalises goals through the application of resources, leadership and management, consultation and coordination of effort:
- Effective committees that implement planned strategies from divisional plans;
- Representation on committees from all relevant areas of impact;
- Community participation in relevant projects or committees and University representation at relevant community events;
- Engagement with University alumni;
- Divisional implementation of University policies and procedures;
- Allocation of funds to areas of identified strategic importance;
- Four year cycle of divisional and thematic reviews;
- Performance management program undertaken with all staff;
- Implementation of recommendations from divisional reviews;
- Implementation of student subject, course and lecturer evaluations;
- Participation in professional course accreditation;
- Student participation in various areas of student learning experience;
- Implementation of staff opinion survey;
- Student and stakeholder focus groups as part of divisional reviews; and
- Community members included in divisional reviews.
3. Monitoring and Review (Results)
- Annual review of the University plan to reflect current priorities identified during the quality assurance and enhancement cycle;
- Annual reporting of actual performance against both strategic (University Plan) and operational plans (divisions);
- Monitoring of KPIs, KPMs and OPTs to assist in assessing performance against strategic intent;
- Annual Performance Portfolio reporting;
- Monitoring implementation of recommendations identified through reviews by appropriate committee structures and managers;
- Monitoring of course accreditation requirements and outcomes through an appropriate committee structure and managers;
- Review of annual course performance and divisional academic program reports;
- Thematic reviews identified in key areas of operational risk;
- External peer assessment of performance through accreditation processes and divisional reviews;
- Review of annual student course, subject and lecturer evaluations;
- Review of staff opinion survey results;
- Comparisons and/or benchmarking of performance of organisational units internally and externally; and
- Divisional Performance Portfolios providing data to monitor progress towards the University’s goals.
4. Reflecting and Adapting (Improvement)
- Reflection on course performance reports and divisional academic program report outcomes and integrating strategies for improvement into divisional plans;
- Integration of recommendations of external reviews and course accreditations into the University annual planning cycle;
- Reflection on targets and adapting strategies to meet revised targets;
- Budget re-forecast reviews and changes made to reflect changing environment;
- Preparation of the self reflection document for divisional reviews;
- Development of actions to address recommendations on opinion survey with feedback to staff on opinion survey;
- Collection and analysis of student feedback and incorporation of results into curriculum and professional programs;
- Feedback to students on changes made as a result of course and subject evaluations;
- Whole of University approach to student learning experience;
- Reflection on community needs and integration of relevant strategies into divisional plans
- Benchmarking internally within divisions and externally with similar disciplines and industries and developing strategies to improve;
- Feedback sought from students on improvements as a result of student based questionnaires;
- Feedback sought from staff on improvements as a result of staff climate survey; and
- Communication of good practice from within University and within other relevant organisations and industries.
The ADRI Model
The ‘Approach’ includes the trail from an organisation’s mission, vision and values (i.e. its overall objectives) through to more specific goals and the planned arrangements for how these will be achieved. The latter may culminate in written policies and procedures. Broad focus questions include:
- What is this organisation about?
- What outcomes is it trying to achieve?
- What, if any, reference points (internal or external) are used in establishing the organisation’s objectives?
- How does the organisation plan to achieve its objectives?
- Does it understand its context and capabilities?
- Are the organisation’s objectives set against appropriate benchmarks?
- What risk management processes does it have in place?
- Is the approach aligned and communicated throughout the organisation and more widely?
The ‘Deployment’ dimension considers whether, and how effectively, the approach is being put into effect. Broad focus questions include:
- Is the approach being deployed in the best possible manner? According to whom?
- What standards and benchmarks is the organisation using to assess this?
- If the approach is not being deployed, why not, and how is this managed?
- Are staff appropriately trained, and resources appropriately deployed, to fulfil the approach?
The ‘Results’ dimension looks at an organisation’s results as a means of determining how well the deployment is achieving the planned approach. Broad focus questions include:
- Is the organisation achieving its intended objectives and outcomes?
- Does the organisation understand why and how it achieved those particular results, i.e. are the results a consequence of the approach and deployment?
- How are the results reported and used within the organisation?
The ‘Improvement’ dimension focuses on whether the organisation is actively and continuously engaged with understanding its performance in each of the A-D-R dimensions, and is using this understanding to bring about improvements. Broad focus questions include:
- Does the organisation know how it can improve?
- How does it know this (e.g. through the use of external benchmarks)?
- How is it acting upon this knowledge?
- Does the organisation have a sustained history of improvement?
Related documents, legislation or JCU Statutes
Reviews of Organisational Units and Thematic Areas - Policy and Procedures
Course Performance Reports and Division Academic Program Reports – Policy
Course Performance Reports 2017 - Procedures
Division Academic Program Reports 2017 - Guidelines
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources
Date for next review:
Updated to reflect Council approved organisational structure
Manager, Quality, Standards and Policy
Minor amendments including updated terminology and removal of footnotes that were originally associated with the image.