The quality assurance system at AUS covers the following functions:
1.1. Strategic Planning
Considering its role in the monitoring of and reporting on the achievement of strategic objectives, the quality assurance system provides an effective early warning system that has the capacity to detect and signal irregularities, provide potential sources of the problem and support the solution finding. Also, the system includes a quality cycle which correlates objectives, operations, and results in order to enable a continuous quality improvement by closing the quality circle and ensuring that steps are taken to match the quality of the achievements with the strategic objectives. The Quality Assurance Strategy and the Strategic Plan communicate to each other closely and support each other’s implementation.
1.2. Governance and Administration
The quality assurance system at AUS ensures that the organizational structure and governance bodies are designed in a way that meets basic conditions to operate independently, is fit for purpose and supports AUS in fulfilling its mission and achieving its strategic objectives. In doing so, the quality assurance system ensures that all internal and external stakeholders including students, administration, faculty and representatives of the labor market are appropriately represented.
Furthermore, the quality assurance system supports the institution in reflecting good governance principles, such as transparency and accountability, by overseeing the regulatory documentation of all governance bodies, and ensuring that they work in an open manner so as to facilitate access to its policies and decisions by the public. The quality assurance system ensures that the administrative and academic staff are qualified to fulfill their roles and, to this end, it contributes to processes relating to recruitment, periodic performance assessment and career development of staff.
1.3. Policy Management
The policy management component is based on the principle of institution-wide participation in the formulation of policies, as well as timely implementation of policies and monitoring thereof. The quality assurance system serves as a single point of contact for all formal arrangements at AUS and ensures that all policies, procedures and processes are defined, communicated and applied systematically, transparently and consistently; furthermore, it ensures that all relevant areas are regulated, and that policies do not contradict or overlap each other.
1.4. Data support and evidence-based operations management
The data function of the quality assurance system supports institutional planning, decision making, management and monitoring of all key institutional processes. It also facilitates the development of appropriate institutional systems, student, graduate, faculty, staff and employer surveys, and impact studies, as well as create value from the generated data and help in more proactive/seamless decision-making management and monitoring processes. The quality assurance system systematically contributes to providing relevant and current quantitative and qualitative information on which AUS relies to make current and strategic decisions. This is achieved through a series of instruments designed to collect data later on used to improve the quality of education and learning outcomes, as part of the monitoring and feedback segment of the quality cycle; this includes all internal and external stakeholders in the development of its operations.
1.5. Evaluation of teaching, learning and research activities
The quality assurance system ensures that AUS activities correspond to its type, specific features and strategic objectives, and are carried out in accordance with the principle of freedom and independence. To this extent, periodic evaluations of teaching, research and the results achieved in these areas are conducted.
The quality assurance system operates in conjunction with the arrangements and instruments for the enhancement of academic quality, design, monitoring and review of study programs, procedures established for the clarity and consistency, with the overall scope of improving the quality of training and student learning experience. In order to contribute to the quality enhancement of the student life-cycle and ensure that students are enabled to succeed in the AUS programs, the quality assurance system ensures compliance with the criteria for admission, for the assessment of the student performance and for issuing final diplomas according to the AUS mission.
1.6. Quality culture development
At AUS, quality culture is defined by two components that support and reinforce each other: a procedural component that enhances the organizational transparency by determination of responsibilities, identification of appropriate KPIs, standards, rewards and accountability mechanisms, procedures and process descriptions; secondly, an attitudinal component involving all internal and external stakeholders in anchoring a quality-based thinking in the organization.
It is within the scope of the quality assurance strategy to contribute to the enhancement and development of quality culture where everyone assumes and understands their role in the enhancement of quality as restless excellence, defined as a collective, commonly agreed goal.
1.7. Continuous improvement
The quality assurance system is based on an improvement cycle which implies that strengths and weaknesses are identified and plans are designed for dealing with the challenges. This area is based on the quality assurance cycle detailed below, with the understanding that the core mission of the quality assurance system is to support and guide the decision making process based on data and close the feedback loops that contribute to the enhancement of institutional operations.
1.8. Internal self-assessment
Within the quality assurance system, periodical internal assessments are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the system and smaller parts within it and seek ways to improve it.
1.9. External compliance and accountability
The quality assurance system ensures that the organization is compliant with the expectations and requirements of regulators, accreditors and degree awarding partners.