Advancing Academic Excellence: The University of Nizwa Quality Management System and Accreditation
Dr. Waleed AL-Rajhi,PhD., MSc., CertED.
Act. Dean of Planning andQuality Management
Ms. Rose Bahou, BCom (Eco/Mktg)., BA.
Quality Audit Officer
The University of Nizwa (UoN) is a faculty governed not-for-profit private institution, established in 2004 with the primary aim to provide a high quality education that prepares students to contribute meaningfully to the economic, artistic and aesthetic growth of the country and societies.
Although it is a recently established institution, the UoN developed and adopted a system of quality management to guide its performance as a non-profit higher education institution. This quality management system emphasizes ownership and accountability in the development, implementation, maintenance and assessment of University plans and responsibilities, at all levels. More importantly, its System is well integrated and has adopted the self-assessment model ‘ADRI’ (Approach, Deployment, Results and Improvement), proposed by the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) as a ‘tool’ for higher education institutions’ internal and external quality assurance reviews. Such integration between the University’s developed quality system and OAAA approach of continuous self-assessment is primarily to ensure a dynamic quality system and achieve institutional accreditation Nationally through the OAAA (Figure One illustrates the UoN integrated ADRI Quality Management System Model).
The UoN Quality Management System encompasses the University’s strategy and operational plans; simultaneously, encouraging administrative and managerial development, self-assessment practice amongst UoN faculty and staff, and achievement of continuous improvement through critical thinking, effective stewardship and deployment of resources through an outcome-based approach.
As the model illustrates, the UoN’s Vision, Mission, and Values incorporate the entire University’s performance, whereas the inputs of quality management are guided by a stakeholder-driven process that includes students and society. The regular operational functions are based on process management set goals/objectives (approach), developed implementation of initiated tasks (deployment), reviewed results and modifications where necessary (Results), and consequently improved performance based on formal reviews (Improvement) to initiate enhanced processes.
Integrating ADRI and the UoN Quality Management System has yielded a number of desired results. The UoN Quality Management System and ADRI Self-Assessment Model have been utilized, in combination, to pursue institutional accreditation as a University of Nizwa strategic goal; a quality enhancement process to advance its focus on academic excellence. It has also served to enrich the University culture of quality. The outcomes of the implementation of the aforementioned integrated system of quality and self-assessment have enhanced not only the culture of quality and its desired goal of achieving recognition through accreditation and rankings; but also have created a mindset among stakeholders that the UoN emphasis is on ‘quality’ and essential to support the University strategic and operational plans. Since the implementation of this System, the University continues to make adjustments to its quality system to ensure the viability of the mission and various strategic pursuits. Remaining current, adaptive and progressive are important fundamentals to support student learning and professional development.