Institutional Review 2014
All higher education institutions in Hong Kong are required to undergo periodic review of their procedures for assuring the quality of their teaching and learning. For the publicly-funded universities, the reviews are done through the Quality Assurance Council established by the University Grants Committee, while self-financed institutions are reviewed by Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ). This June, the University invited HKCAAVQ to conduct an Institutional Review of the OUHK, the third major review since the University was granted its self-accrediting status in 1996, and the sixth in the University’s history.
HKCAAVQ formed an expert panel consisting of seven panelists to conduct this accreditation test on the OUHK’s quality assurance processes on 3–5 June. The panelists held over 40 different sessions during their three-day visit at Ho Man Tin Campus and Kwai Hing Learning Centre. They also paid a visit to Jubilee College. In addition to their meetings with academic and administrative staff members, the panelists met with representative OUHK students, graduates, part-time tutors, members of the Council, and outside participants in the University’s quality assurance processes, such as External Examiners and External Programme Assessors.
The discussions touched on a wide range of topics in several major review areas, including: governance, management and the institutional structure; quality assurance; programme design, development and delivery; academic decision-making and academic planning; student admissions; student services; staffing and staff development; scholarly activities; and resources.
Commendations from HKCAAVQ
Upon completion of the Institutional Review, HKCAAVQ concluded that it is of the view that the OUHK has mechanisms in place to provide adequate assurance for the academic standards of its awards and of the quality of students’ learning experiences.
In its final report issued in August, HKCAAVQ commended the OUHK for its robust quality assurance process, especially in its new course and programme development and review. HKCAAVQ gave high praise to the commitment to teaching and student learning by our knowledgeable and dedicated full-time and part-time teaching staff. HKCAAVQ also praised the University for using LiPACE to extend its reach to the community through the provision of flexible full-time and part-time lifelong learning opportunities for personal development, career advancement and life appreciation.
Vice President Prof. Danny Wong said, ‘The University appreciates the approbations of HKCAAVQ, and is deeply grateful to each and every colleague for their sustained and concerted efforts.’
‘As a self-accrediting institution, it is crucial to maintain an effective quality assurance mechanism to ensure our academic programmes and administrative practices meet a recognized standard. The Institutional Review is an effective self-evaluation process that helps us to identify the areas for improvement and the successful initiatives for further development,’ he continued.
Prof. Wong added that HKCAAVQ also made several recommendations on how we can further improve our quality assurance process. ‘For example, it recommends that the OUHK consider benchmarking its performance against other universities where appropriate, and that the OUHK adopt easily understood and easily measurable indicators of performance and progress linked to the University’s plans. HKCAAVQ also suggests that we develop greater clarity and consistency in rewarding, recognizing and celebrating outstanding teaching as appropriate in a teaching-focused university. These are all useful suggestions and pointers for our further improvement. The management is now exploring ways to address these suggestions.’
The University believes that the Institutional Review is a valuable exercise through which the University can benefit from external experts and build on its strengths to make even greater strides in promoting quality education. Thus, it will continue to undertake external periodic reviews at an interval of five to six years.