The newly-established IQA unit is tasked to shoulder the responsibility of raising awareness about the merits of quality enhancement across the university and facilitating academic quality enhancement via collaborative interaction among all the stakeholders. After all, it takes all to excel, and excellence requires each and every member to develop a culture for a shared cause. Metaphorically speaking, culture is the vascular system that, although invisible, carries the water and minerals from the roots (HEI infrastructure, governance, academic programs, and staff) to the leaves (the students). An ailing tree suffers from a flaw in the conduit system, i.e., the quality culture. To instill the notion of teamwork from its very inception, the unit was designated a name that would reinforce teamwork morale and quality culture; SQUAD is the acronym for Standardization and Quality Assurance Department.
In our proposal to the IAU’s Office of Vice-president for Academic Affairs, we have proposed to design the SQUAD in the new organizational chart as an independent, autonomous body reporting to the branch chancellor as well as the IAU’s Central Organization, depending on the nature of the information and the expected follow up measures. The IQA teams need to be vested with the required authority to be able to implement their activities freely and with confidence.
Branch-wide, the SQUAD is a directorate tasked to work in close collaboration with the vice-chancellors for Academic Affairs, Research and IT, Finance and Administration, and their respective subsidiaries, in order to develop a comprehensive IQA Manual against which the performance of each unit is to be monitored and evaluated. In doing so, we shall pay attention to compose a contextually-fit-for-purpose handbook that would reconcile our existing, centrally-decreed rules and regulations with the standards and requirements stipulated in the UQAIB’s Quality Manual.
Individuals, organizations, communities and, eventually, our world would grow and improve only when each member organically contributes to the enhancement of what is.
The IQA department can merely realize its vision and missions provided that all the stakeholders of the university are actively engaged. Therefore, while all the stakeholders of higher education can be regarded as the members of the QA system, apart from an IQA director and an administrator, the team has been initially planned to have representatives from among the students, faculty members, administrative staffers, leadership actors, alumni, external peer advisors as well as employers as the members of our SQUAD, either on a permanent or substitute basis.
They are all expected to lend a hand in collecting information, evaluating the collected data, and contributing their analyses to the decision-makers for adopting evidence-based decisions and/or changes.
The composition of the SQUAD audit teams and council meetings is yet to be decided once the official approval of the central organization arrives and based on the financial resources allocation.