Assess the Management Quality of Your Academic Programme
Student quality assessment of academic programme management (SQAAPM) has begun. This year marks the assessment programme’s second cycle, and it now includes an overall assessment of the performance of academic programme leadership (programme academic supervisors and programme office managers). HSE University Life spoke with some managers and an academic supervisor whose programmes received positive reviews last year about how they maintain communication with students and how their transition to distance learning has gone.
SQAAPM allows students to evaluate the collective work of the management of their programmes—the programme’s academic supervisor and programme office manager—in accordance with 12 criteria. It also gives them the opportunity to personally assess the performance of individual employees of the programme office in 3 categories. Students are asked to assess their performances over the course of the academic year as a whole. In all sections of the assessment, it is possible not only to select a rating, but also to write comments.
As with other surveys, questions related to the transition to distance learning are especially important this year. Students will be asked to evaluate the online transition of both their programme and the University at large.
The first part of the survey is designed to help the University leadership understand the management quality of different programmes, as well as common and specific issues that should be taken into account and resolved when appointing new academic supervisors and programme office managers or working with colleagues at the faculty and university levels. The second part of the survey (personal assessment of programme office staff) provides the University with data for part of its system of key performance indicators (KPI), which it uses to evaluate programme office employees.
Students of our programme know that they can always contact the academic supervisor or programme office with any questions in a way that is convenient for them. Most often, this takes the form of face-to-face communication or a collective letter. These kinds of appeals provide an opportunity to improve how the programme is run and make procedures more transparent for all of parties involved.
The most important thing in distance learning, as well as in my work, is to minimize students’ feelings of stress. It is important that they feel that no one has forgotten about them and that they can have all of their questions or problems handled just as effectively as before, albeit remotely. I hope I have succeeded.
Receiving systematized, timely feedback from students is extremely important. A significant portion of students naturally prefers social media as a communication tool. And now classes have been transferred online. This has instantly nullified a lot of problems and allowed us to bypass a lot of formalities, which of course cannot replace the work of the programme office, but nonetheless has helped us learn of problem areas firsthand and find solutions. In general, students perceive me, the programme academic supervisor, as a kind of ombudsman who they can come to with any problem—from asking me to help them switch dormitories to resolving a misunderstanding with a specific instructor. In these situations, I act as a mediator and always try to facilitate a dialogue between all parties while maintaining objectivity. During the online transition, our students encountered a number of issues, particularly those related to technical difficulties, that we had to resolve.
Feedback from students is a necessary element of the quality management of an academic programme. It allows you to learn the opinions of all participants in the educational process and take them into account when making strategic decisions.
The remote work format is a new and completely different work experience. But all our programme staff quickly mastered it; it took no more than a week to adapt. Both teachers and students evaluate distance learning differently, but everything has been going smoothly.
Now students have a lot of questions and concerns about the upcoming final exam session and, in particularly, online exam proctoring. All university employees involved in the educational process have been doing their best to solve these issues.
I think that the experience of programmes that have already used online proctoring for exams in the past shows that it works well. I would like to wish all students good luck on their exams! Exams can sometimes cause psychological distress, but they are an integral part of the educational process.
The SQAAPM questionnaire is available until June 28. Students of the Moscow campus can evaluate the performance of their programme leadership in LMS in the special module ‘Employee Assessment’.