Systematic Quality Assurance at Noroff University College
The Quality Assurance System for Noroff University College (NUC) is based on § 1-6 of the Act relating to universities and university colleges, and Regulations on study quality in higher education and vocational school education § 2-1 (1).
University and University Colleges Act § 1-6. Quality assurance (see footnote)
Universities and university colleges must have a satisfactory internal system for quality assurance that will ensure and further develop the quality of the education. Student evaluation of courses must be included in the system for quality assurance.
Study Quality Regulations § 2-1. Requirements for systematic quality work
(1) Universities and university colleges are responsible for the quality of education through their systematic quality assurance, which ensures the quality and contributes to further developing the study programmes. Furthermore, the institutions must facilitate ongoing development of the study quality and enable detection of failing quality in the study programmes and ensure adequate documentation of the quality enhancement work. The institutions must quality assure all conditions impacting the study quality, from information provided to potential applicants till graduation.
The quality assurance is anchored in the NUC Board, and they must facilitate feasible, appropriate and systematic quality enhancement work. NUC must systematically enhance the quality of education through controlling quality indicators, further development of quality initiatives, uncovering failing quality, the workflows involved, practical management and securing comprehensive documentation. The quality is reported annually in NUC's Quality Report through measured quality indicators divided into 8 key categories:
- Quality of student recruitment and start of studies
- Quality of framework, resources, and learning environment
- Quality of study programs
- Quality of education
- Quality of learning outcome
- Quality of research
- Quality of relevance
- Quality of management
The quality enhancement work is based on NUC's System of Quality Assurance in Education, which provides an overall representation of the Quality Assurance System (QAS). The system description includes the core processes and illustrates the system structure, and how the studious quality assurance is documented in the Academic Teams and the study programmes, in addition to the responsibility and tasks delegation at NUC. The systematic quality assurance must cover all conditions that have an impact on the quality of education, from information and communication with potential applicants and through to completion of qualification or graduation. This includes:
- Strategic evaluation of NUC’s operations, compliance with authority requirements and the institution's future prospects.
- Continuous work with the study portfolio, including accreditation of new study programmes and further development of existing studies through annual and periodic evaluations.
- Evaluation of the academic quality.
- Evaluation of the academic- and the learning environment.
- Systematic collection of data and statistics.
Illustration of the Quality Assurance System showing the data and information foundation and the academic structure at the bottom, on either side is the support structures and students’ participation. Mid-to-top is the administrative links with management and up to the NUC Board.
Roles and Responsibilities
The NUC Board has superior responsibility for the strategic direction and the quality of education at Noroff University College. This involves decisions on superior guidelines, portfolio management, handling of relevant conditions and the collection of relevant information about operations, students and personnel.
The board approves the NUC Quality Report, which is presented annually (February) by the rector. The information and measures from the Quality Report forms a decision-making basis for the following year's plans and guidelines.
The Rector has the superior responsibility for ensuring and further developing the quality of education at NUC through a satisfactory Quality Assurance System. Rector reports directly to the board and must take initiative to raise relevant issues, proposals for quality enhancements, study portfolio improvements and present the annual Quality Report.
The rector is responsible for the academic delivery, the academic environment and the research that is carried out in the university college and with collaboration partners. Rector must ensure a proper and comprehensive academic environment, in addition to the personnel’s strategic competence development. The Rector works closely with the department heads and receives reports and cases, in scheduled meetings, for discussions and decisions on both short- and long-term conditions.
The Head of Subject has overall responsibility for the quality enhancements and quality assurance in the study programmes within their subject area. They are the area's communicator in collaboration with external partners and employers, educational and professional bodies, and they are the link between Senior Management and the academic environment. The head has personnel responsibility for the scientific and academic staff in their subject area. In addition, the head has the strategic and operational responsibility for the delivery of teaching, learning and assessment and quality enhancements in their study programmes. The Head of Subject reports to the Rector through participation in the Academic Management Team (AMT).
NUC’s heads must ensure good planning and capacity building within their academic environment. They must support the development of a stimulating, creative and collegial environment by ensuring that the scientific and academic staff have a balanced workload for teaching, research and administration. In order to ensure that the study programmes in the subject area deliver, especially in terms of student recruitment, follow-up, completion and satisfaction, the heads are responsible for supporting the Study Programme Leaders so that the study reflect recent changes in research, trends and industry, in addition to current thinking in the subject area.
The Study Programme Leader has the superior responsibility for the quality enhancements and quality assurance in the individual study programme through fulfilment of the requirements in the Study Supervision Regulation, NUC's strategic goals, the connection to the subject area and the students’ learning outcomes. They lead the Study Programme Committees and the work on further development of the study, follow-up on evaluations and measures on the study quality.
The Course Leader is responsible for the structure and completion of an individual course, such as student follow-up, learning activities, work requirements, assessments and evaluations. They are responsible for personnel follow-up and ensuring a good completion ratio. They report to the Study Programme Leader when the course has been completed, and they are an important part of the Study Programme Committee for their subject area.
Reporting is needed for documenting adequate quality up and down within the system, so that they contribute to the development of quality enhancements. Reporting at a level forms the basis for identifying challenges and possible measures for the level above. This way reporting is an important factor in the feedback loops to ensure quality is improving. NUC’s reporting lines begin at course level and all the way up to the board. At the same time, the feedback loops intend that the information in the reports is used on several levels and ensures continuous improvements.
- The Course Leader reports to the Study Programme Leader.
- The Study Programme Leader reports to the Head of Subject.
- The Head of Subject reports to the Study Administration.
- The Study Administration reports to the Rector.
- The Rector submits and presents the Quality Report to the NUC Board.
The Study Administration is responsible for the coordination and follow-up of reporting and the studious quality assurance within the study programmes. The administration collects information, data and documentation from all relevant levels and departments, forming the basis of NUC’s Quality Report.
Committees and Councils
The Education Committee is the highest committee for managing and developing the quality enhancements and the quality of education at NUC. The education committee is chaired by the Rector and is made up of all Study Programme Leaders, representatives from the Study Administration and two students appointed by the Student Parliament.
The Study Program Committee is associated with the individual study programme and is chaired by the respective Study Programme Leader. The committee must follow up the study quality through systematic and periodic development, evaluations, systematic analysis and results, to promote quality enhancement measures. The Study Programme Committee is chaired by the Study Programme Leader and is made up of affiliated Course Leaders and at least one student per year of study.
The Learning Environment Committee is an advisory and coordinating body to facilitate and ensure a safe and inspiring learning environment for the students. This applies particularly in the areas of teaching conditions, psychosocial conditions with relevance for the learning environment, physical conditions and students’ welfare and social conditions. The Learning Environment Committee must take initiative on measures that can contribute to quality enhancement. The committee has a particular responsibility for contributing to, and securing, the students' learning environment in relation to teaching, psychosocial, physical, welfare and social conditions. Both individual students and personnel can request that such matters are discussed properly. The committee is made up of three students and three employees. Student Unions and the Student Ombudsperson have the right to attend and speak at all meetings.
The Appeals Committee has been established in line with § 5-1 of the University and University Colleges Act and handles complaints about individual decisions made by NUC. The board has further delegated to the committee to make decisions in accordance with §§ 3-7 (8), 4-7 - 4-10 of the act, and to make decisions in other appeals that concern students (ref. Act §§ 5-1 (1) and 5-2 (5)).
The Industry Council is an advisory body consisting of representatives from relevant businesses, organisations and society. They advise on what NUC can do to add value to the labour market and communities. The council has an important role in the periodic study programme evaluations.
A good quality culture is built on great collaboration with the students. At NUC this happens through direct contact and feedback provided in teaching and learning activities, in addition to various evaluation schemes. Working with the different councils and committees and with the student representatives form a foundation for NUC’s quality culture. The students are central to the quality enhancements on all levels and particularly through the quality work in the study programmes. NUC facilitates elections and organises training for new student representatives and actively supports the representation from the student community in the board, councils and committees.
The Student Parliament
The Student Parliament represents the students towards NUC and organises the various functions of the structured student participation. This applies from being a representative of a study programme, participation in councils and committees to the NUC Board.
The Student Unions work to provide all students with a good welfare offer that contributes to providing the students with a holistic learning environment. The Student Union has the right to meet in the Learning Environment Committee.
This is an unofficial translation of the Norwegian version of the Regulation and is provided for information purposes only. In the event of any inconsistency, the Norwegian version shall prevail.