The Deanship of Quality Assurance, Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation was established in March 2011 as a central body to coordinate and control activities related to institutional effectiveness and accreditation throughout the university. The deanship supervises, assesses and plans issues related to institutional research, institutional effectiveness, accreditation and professional development by dealing with the following responsibilities:
- Coordinate and prepare for national and international accreditation and determine factors that are critical in obtaining institutional accreditation and assure that the University of Sharjah implements effective plans to address those factors.
- Prepare and maintain the University portfolio of programs by developing and implementing an institutional database for the University of Sharjah that will integrate data from all sources of information in all colleges of the university.
- Harmonize institutional effectiveness activities to ensure that all academic and administrative units achieve their outcomes and ensure consistency in all campus locations.
- Identify gaps in data, establish procedures to maintain quality of data, ensure the proper use of knowledge and internal / external assessment data.
- Enhance the implementation of appropriate learning and teaching methodologies suitable for each program.
- Design and update evaluation and assessment methods appropriate for each category of programs and verify all development plans.
- Ensure that all existing and planned curricula meet the required standards and have well defined outcomes.
- Prepare progress reports at all levels and periodically review and evaluate the implementation of the strategic plan and directions.
The University undertakes an institutional effectiveness process that integrates strategic planning, assessment and budgeting. The institutional effectiveness process is an integral part of the institution, a critical component of the planning, evaluation, and budgeting cycle, and is the basis for change and improvement. This process is a planned and continuous activity that is communicated across the organizational structure and is grounded in the University rule
The strategic planning process focuses the University's energy on working toward common goals, assesses and adjusts the University's progress toward these goals, results in a disciplined effort producing decisions and actions, and shapes and guides the University in a changing environment. Strategic planning begins with a review of the Annual Institutional Effectiveness Review reports to determine implications for changes of the strategic plan.
Assessment guides the strategic planning process by providing data for development of action plans and constructive change, development of priorities and allocation of resources. Components of assessment include developing student learning outcome criteria that reflect elements of both the Institutional Mission and the Strategic Plan; selecting appropriate methodologies to assess achievement of outcomes; gathering and analyzing data by applying the methodologies; sharing the results of the analysis; and making evidence-based improvements when necessary.
Assessment results guide resource allocation decisions that reflect institutional priorities based on the Strategic Plan. This process identifies costs and other resources to support implementation of planning and evaluation activities.
Definition of Assessment
Assessment is systematic and ongoing. It is the collection, review, and use of evidence about academic and administrative/educational support programs and services provided by the University for improving student learning and development. Assessment examines quantitative and qualitative evidence regarding student competence, uses this evidence to improve learning for current and future students, and presents results to stakeholders. Data is collected, analyzed and shared to determine skills, knowledge and values students have gained from the University experience. Assessment results are used to determine changes to improve programs and services. The impact of those changes is analyzed to close the loop.
Multiple Campus Institutions
The University of Sharjah has three main branches and two sub-branches for the Community college at five cities within the Emirate of Sharjah. The main campus is located in Sharjah city and is divided into five sub-campuses: Men's Campus, Women's campus, Fine Arts Campus, Medical Colleges Campus and Community College Campus. The University has two other branches at Khorfakkan and Kalba cities and two branches for the Community College at Malaiha and Dibba.
All branches and campuses are governed by the same governing bodies and the same bylaws and standards are applied. The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs supervises academic activities at all campuses except the Medical Campus which is supervised academically by the Vice Chancellor for Medical and Health Sciences Colleges. Financial and administrative affairs are supervised by the Vice Chancellor for Financial and Administrative Affairs for all campuses. Similarly, affairs related to community service and Alumni are supervised by the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs for all campuses. In addition, there is a campus coordinator for each satellite campus to supervise administrative affairs and coordinate with the administration in Main Campus.
The University has published The Campus Coordination Manual which includes ways of coordination between different campuses to ensure equal opportunities and access to resources for students and faculty. Furthermore, the Institutional Effectiveness Manual (Appendix 10) provides coordination procedures and data dissemination methods among all campuses to maintain similar effectiveness and quality measures.
Administrative and Academic Support Units
Administrative and educational support units provide essential services to the institution and to students. Administrative units do not impact instructional programs directly and include units such as Budget/Payroll/Grants/Contracts, Physical Plant or Receiving. Educational support units directly contribute to student learning and include Libraries, Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment services and Student Extracurricular Activities. These services are student-centered and are essential to the overall learning environment at UoS.
As part of the assessment process, Administrative and Educational Support Units develop a mission statement that supports the Institutional Mission.
The Assessment Cycle
The process of assessing how successfully an institution is meeting its goals—collecting data on how each department, program, or unit carries out its functions, reviewing data for areas that need improvement, and taking steps to make improvements—focuses on improving student learning and the delivery of services to the institutional community. The University of Sharjah implements systems and uses information technology tools to facilitate these processes.
Continuous Quality Enhancement
Principles and Procedures
The principles of institutional effectiveness followed at the university include the following:
- The central and ultimate goal of institutional assessment is to improve student learning in all programs
- Assessment is an ongoing cyclic activity with assigned responsibility for relevant bodies and timetable for regular reporting and review
- Assessment at all levels is continuous, valid, efficient, systematic, appropriate and ethical
- Take as a whole, institutional assessment addresses the cognitive, affective and behavioral aspects of student learning
- Assessment takes place in all programs that support student learning
- Faculty members are in charge of the assessment activities in their programs and the results of their assessment efforts must have an impact on planning and budgeting. Responsibilities for each component are assigned to specific person(s) or standing committees
- Assessment findings are used to strengthen programs in order to improve student learning. They may not be used to evaluate individual faculty members, to determine admission standards, or to grade students
- Assessment is integrated into the Administrative and Governance Structure and into institutional planning and budgeting for which administrators, committees, faculty and staff assume specific responsibilities for assessment in the various units.
- Assessment is integrated into academic departments, programs, and academic support services.
- Faculty and staff are educated about assessment on a continuous basis
- Program review is considered to be vital and meaningful process for faculty and administrators
Institutional Research System
The Institutional Research Unit (IRU) is an integral unit under the Directorate of Quality Assurance, Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation. It plays a pivotal role in assessing institutional effectiveness by gathering relevant data from all University units and performing extensive analysis and periodical reporting to facilitate data-driven strategic decisions.
The mission of the Institutional Research Unit is to support planning, decision-making and assessment. It is a service oriented unit that provides information for policy and management decisions for campus academic units, administrative units, and students and proposes alternative solutions to support the decision-making process. We also serve as an official point-of-contact for campus statistics.
The scope of the unit's responsibility is university-wide. The unit provides official reporting to the entire University community including the Board of Trustees, the colleges, their departments and other academic and administrative units. The unit also assumes the responsibility of either generating or supervising the development of official University data reports.
The Unit has the following Objectives:
- Collecting, analyzing, distributing, and assisting in the use of information about the University's students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
- Assisting in the analysis, interpretation, organization and maintenance of institutional data for decision-making and planning.
- Distributing standard and customary information in both traditional and electronic formats.
- Providing specific information required for program review as well as studies and reports requested by colleges, departments, and other administrative units.
- Analyzing and disseminating periodical reports on the activities of the University's units, programs and services.
- Using standard performance indicators, related to students, staff, research, and finance, to assess and compare University of Sharjah characteristics and performance; nationally and internationally.
The Institutional Research Unit coordinates with all programs at the University. Each program performs a detailed evaluation of its effectiveness using a variety of assessment tools. Results of these assessments are used to establish actions intended to improve the program(s). Program assessment results and correlated action plans are forwarded to the Office of Institutional Research on a yearly basis for analysis, thereby allowing for appropriate modifications in institutional resources, programs and services.Accreditation
Accreditation by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) in the UAE signifies that an institution has a purpose appropriate to higher education and has resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain that purpose. Accreditation indicates that an institution maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that it is successful in achieving its stated objectives.
Accreditation enhances educational quality throughout the region by improving the effectiveness of institutions and ensuring that institutions meet standards established by the higher education community, and serves as a common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions.
The University of Sharjah is licensed and all its programs are accredited by CAA. Some programs are accredited by international accreditation agencies.