A culture of Quality Assurance
The long-standing positive attitude towards evaluation is not only an element of openness but also proof of the UAegean’s harmonization with international academic practices. Therefore, since the mid-1990s, the UAegean introduced a system of course evaluation by students in the context of Postgraduate Studies. Although nowadays it is a common practice in all universities, in the ‘90s it was not favoured by the academic community. In 2005, before the establishment of the National Framework for the Evaluation of Universities, the UAegean requested an institutional evaluation by the European University Association.
Quality policy statement
The Quality Policy of the University of the Aegean is expressed in the commitment of its Leadership/Administration, and is included in the official documents of the University regarding the provision of education and the production of new knowledge in conditions safeguarding safety, egalitarianism and transparency befitting academic ethics.
The Quality Policy is structured on two main poles: a strategic pole which defines the mission and the strategic quality objectives of the University and an operational pole which defines the procedures for quality assurance.
Supporting research initiatives and establishing research enclaves in cutting-edge subjects in Greece and internationally is a priority of the University of the Aegean. The scientific areas in which the University directs research activities include environmental sciences and technologies, social sciences, economic and administration sciences, information and communication technologies, exact sciences, humanitarian sciences and sciences of education. Research at the University of the Aegean has also contributed significantly to problem solving on a local scale, thus linking the University’s operation with local islandic communities hosting its various Departments. The University has also contributed to generating a high-level scientific potential that can in turn contribute substantially to research, university education and the production process.
- Mission and tasks
The Quality Assurance Unit, established under the Laws 3374/2005 & 4009/11, is the focal coordinating Committee, accountable for ensuring University of the Aegeans’ quality standards. The QA Unit organizes and coordinates all respective evaluation and accreditation processes, both institutionally and departmentally, under the quality principles, standards and requirements, set out by HQA and the Standards & Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG 2015). The QA Unit is responsible for applying the Internal Quality Assurance System (IQAS), which includes procedures for assuring quality in teaching, learning, assessment, research and other related academic activities, as well as UoA administrative services.
- The development of specific policies, strategies and procedures necessary for the continuous improvement of the quality of the University’s work and services which constitute the University’s internal quality assurance system.
- The organization, operation and continuous improvement of the Internal Quality Assurance System.
- The coordination and support of the evaluation procedures of the academic units and other services of the University.
- The support for the external evaluation and accreditation processes of the Departments’ Study Programmes/Curricula and the University’s internal quality assurance system, under the HQA principles and guidelines.
- The development of an evaluation data management information system in collaboration with ADIP/HQA.
- The systematic monitoring and the publication of the procedures related to the evaluation and their results on Institution’s website
More specifically, the Quality Assurance Unit is inter alia responsible for the following:
- The systematic revision/updating of the Quality Manual of the Internal System for Quality Assurance of the University.
- Monitoring its implementation and the periodic review of its operation in the fields of its application.
- Drafting and submitting to the responsible Administration bodies the internal evaluation report of the Internal System for Quality Assurance aiming to detect potential discrepancies and make recommendations for improvement.
- The observance of control procedures regarding criteria for the design, approval and revision of study programs aiming to safeguard the ongoing improvement of their quality.
- The collection, monitoring and analysis of quality data.
- The statistical analysis and depiction of quality data and evaluation outcomes which are significant tools for decision making on every level of university function.
- Indexing all types of reports highlighting weakenesses aiming to formulate proposals to responsible bodies regarding the enhancement of areas in need of improvement.
- Informing the Administration of the University about international trends and good practices regarding quality assurance in tertiary education.
- The establishment of advisory committees in order to assist the QUALITY ASSURANCE UNIT.
- Conducting research/ studies for the quality of academic/educational, research and administrative work accomplished by the University.
In particular, the QA Unit’s coordinating role includes the function of:
- Internal Quality Assurance System- IQAS
The Internal Quality Assurance System of the University of the Aegean was designed in order to ensure and continually improve the quality of University’s and its Departments’ teaching and research work, as well as the effective operation and performance of its services. The Quality assurance system of the University of the Aegean is established under the principles, criteria and guidelines of HQA and the international good practices for evaluation.
The Quality Manual is an official document of the Internal Quality Assurance System and is used as a guide to its implementation (provided only in Greek).
- Quality Assurance Information System
The Quality Assurance Information System of the University of the Aegean was internally developed, in order for Quality Assurance Unit and Internal Evaluations Groups to efficiently collect and manage the evaluation data that are required of the Internal Quality Assurance System (IQAS). The QA Information System enables the systematic monitoring of the evaluation data, including the following subsystems:
The Quality Assurance Information System consists of the following subsystems:
- Courses’ Evaluation Questionnaires
- Courses’ Evaluation Questionnaires results & KPIs
- Faculty members Self-evaluation Questionnaires
- Faculty members Self-evaluation Questionnaires results & KPIs
- Graduates Evaluation Questionnaires for studies & services
- Graduates Evaluation Questionnaires for studies & services results & KPIs
All authorized users may have access to the Quality Assurance Information System at https://modip.aegean.gr/is/
- Internal Evaluation Groups
The Internal Evaluation Groups of the Departments of the University of the Aegean, established under the Laws 3374/2005 and 3848/2010, are responsible for the departments’ evaluation and accreditation procedures.
In particular, the Internal Evaluation Groups responsibilities concern:
- The implementation of the internal and external evaluation procedures within the Department in cooperation with the Quality Assurance Unit of the University.
- The implementation of the accreditation procedures within the Department in cooperation with the Quality Assurance Unit of the University.
- The collaboration with the HQA for carrying out the external evaluation and accreditations.
- Quality Assurance Office
The Office of the Quality Assurance Unit of the University of the Aegean reports directly to the Head of the Quality Assurance Unit.
Its responsibilities concern the administrative support and the general management for implementing and executing the Quality Assurance Unit decisions and duties.
External Evaluation (2016 )
According to the External Evaluation Committee of the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (ADIP) in November 2015, UAegean satisfied the following positive points:
- Consistency and continuity in the University’s vision and strategic planning.
- Very high level of organization and collaboration among the different administration levels.
- Innovative research and educational programmes that have been designed according to the best international standards.
- Flexible methods and broad use of cutting-edge technologies in education.
- Strong promotion of the University through lifelong-learning programmes and summer schools.
- Continuous internationalization by focusing on networking, mobility, and collaboration-building with international institutions.
- Strategic location within a large, developing area and significant contribution to regional development.
- Emphasis on evaluation and quality.
- Excellent communication between students and the teaching staff.
“The External Evaluation Committee of the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency was impressed by the performance and the achievements of the University of the Aegean not only regarding teaching and research, but also regarding administration, leadership, and strategic planning, especially in the areas of innovation, internationalization, research, and promotion. On these grounds, the University of the Aegean achieved the highest ranking: Worthy of Merit”
This description, included in the final paragraph of the External Evaluation Report, sums up the conclusions of the Committee of Foreign Experts, thus confirming its role as a University-Network on the islands of the Aegean Archipelago, focusing its activities on each and every student.
For more information, see here.
The University of the Aegean has established its Internal Quality Assurance System (IQAS) under the principles, criteria and guidelines of the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (HQA), and based on international good practices for accreditation & evaluation. In this regard, the IQAS of UAegean was designed in order to ensure and continually improve the quality of University and its Departments teaching and research work, and the effective operation and performance of its services.
In 2018, the IQAS of UAegean was certified by the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (HQA) for its compliance with the HQA Quality Standards, and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG 2015).
The University of the Aegean received the highest possible rating, i.e., “Fully Compliant”, as indicated in the External Accreditation Panel’s Report.
According to the External Accreditation Panel, the UAegean satisfied the following positive points:
- “The University of the Aegean (UoA) has established a well-defined Quality Assurance (QA) policy that is appropriate for the institution’s mission and activities, the purpose and goals of which are communicated clearly to students, faculty, and staff.”
- “The Quality Assurance Unit of the UoA is well established and demonstrates transparent self-assessment practices among all six islands and all different departments.”
- “The UoA has an informative, well-organized, easy-to-navigate, and up-to-date website that includes all the necessary information pertinent to its activities.”
- “Communication (implemented through a state-of-the-art teleconferencing system) among campuses and islands is very effective and efficient.”
The Panel’s report emphatically indicates that “The UoA has created a strong international academic and research profile, having participated as a partner in many academic and research networks and having also participated in more than 210 bilateral and LLP Erasmus academic agreements”.
For more information, see here.