EDUCATION By way of introduction it entails more jobs for program and course directors at Sahlgrenska University Hospital but in the long run a convenient routine that improves the quality of our education. This will be the result of the new routines for the quality management that is now in place for all basic and advanced level courses at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ), which has previously reviewed the quality of higher education in Sweden, will now relinquish responsibility for overall reviews to the schools themselves. Instead, UKÄ will in the future focus on inspecting the school’s processes for quality management of their education. At the University of Gothenburg the principal has decided that quality management will take place in two parallel tracks: all education should annually evaluate its own quality and report it, and as well as this all programs and courses should undergo an external inspection every six years.
A group consisting of Frode Slinde, Kristin Falk and Eva Ronström has had been assigned by the dean to create templates for quality management at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, and these templates are now ready and have been sent out to all program directors.
The audiologists are the first ones out
One of the first programs to undergo an external inspection was the audiologist program, which has just finished its report.
“It has been partially a work intensive and challenging process, but at the same time it has been inspiring”, says Maria Hoff, director of the audiologist program.
She began the work, along with her colleague Kim Kähäri, by discussing the eight quality criteria. Together they described how the program works with these set criteria, with its starting point in an earlier analysis of the program’s strengths, weaknesses, possibilities and threats. They held meetings with student representatives and spent a great deal of time compiling the material that was asked for, such as course evaluations and regulatory documents.
Maria Hoff notes that evaluating themselves has resulted in a positive experience for the program and that it has provided them with constructive feedback that will be very useful in their future development work.
“We were the first ones out according to the new system for quality assurance, and in the beginning it was hard to imagine how the evaluation would be done. From the time when we found out that we were going to be evaluated until we received clear instructions about the process that was ahead, those of us who work with the audiologist program naturally had a lot of thoughts, One concern was how much time the project would consume. In hindsight I must say that the work has been smooth and that we have received good support from the quality assurance group. It has also helped develop us as a program”, she says.
What has surprised you most about the process?
“Something that was surprising in a way was that we through the process also received confirmation of everything good we do.”
The audiologist program has just received the confirmed assessment report and has still not begun discussing actions for improvement, which is an important part of the ongoing quality management. However, as early as last autumn they implemented a new course evaluation system, since they had been experiencing problems with a low answer frequency to the written course evaluations at GUL.
“After discussions with the students we are now carrying out the course evaluations through audience response instead. The evaluation is still anonymous and optional but so far we have an answer frequency of almost 100 percent. The evaluations are carried out in the course introduction of the following course, when most students are presen”t, says Maria Hoff.
Sllvana Naredi, vice dean of basic and advanced level education, stresses that the quality management in itself is not new to Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s courses, but that the new system for quality assurance entails that the quality management has an overall structure at the faculty:
“I think that the work method that we are now implementing will strengthen the quality of our courses, and that it will increase awareness for us since the quality management will have a clear structure and becomes a recurring task for all program directors”, she says.
A quality process
Frode Slinde, Kristin Falk and Eva Ronström have now crossed the finish line after a year and a half of working on this.
“One of our tasks has been to develop templates for the local follow-up work at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, based on the quality criteria that have been established by the principal”, says Frode, and continues:
“The templates are just word files, so technically they are very easy to handle. They ask questions and have been created to provide structure to the discussions about the quality of the courses. The idea is that they will serve as a foundation for process oriented quality work, where the programs and courses will find opportunities for development and solutions that help increase quality.”
However, some courses will still be reviewed by UKÄ. For Sahlgrenska University Hospital the selection includes the postgraduate studies in medicine, the medical program, the nursing program and some of the emphases in the specialist nursing program. UKÄ has still not provided any more detailed information than that.
High marks in sustainable development
Apart from reviewing the universities’ processes for quality management, UKÄ will also carry out an array of technical evaluations where the first one, on sustainable development in the course, has just been completed. GU was one of the schools that passed.
All courses and programs at the University of Gothenburg will publish their assessment reports and action plans on the quality committee’s website: http://medarbetarportalen.gu.se/kvalitetsarbete/utbildningsutvarderingar/
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN