FIG PUBLICATION NO. 19
Quality Assurance in Surveying Education
FIG Commission 2 Working Group on Quality Assurance
Prof. Peter Morgan and Prof. Robert Hodgkinson
Moores University, United Kingdom
Professor Stig Enemark
Chair of FIG Commission 2 1994–1998
1.1 The Creation of a basic QA system
1.2 The Changing Climate in Higher Education
2. QUALITY ASSURANCE
IN HIGHER EDUCATION
3. THE CONTEXT
2.1 What is meant by Quality Assurance
2.2 The Results of Quality Assurance
2.3 Quality Terminology
2.4 Maturity of Quality Assurance approach
3.1 The National setting of Higher Education
3.2 The Institutional Context
3.3 Quality of teaching staff and staff development
3.4 Transparency in teaching and currency of programmes of study
4. THE CULTURAL SETTING
5. MODELS OF QUALITY
4.1 Academic Power, Self Regulation and Funding
4.2 Attitudes of Governments
Other Cultural Factors
5.2 Six Aspects of the Total Learning Environment
5.3 The Student Learning Experience - The Seven Characteristics of High
5.4 Models which acknowledge the key roles of students and lecturers
6. A MODEL FOR QUALITY
7. CHECK LIST OF GOOD PRACTICE
6.1 The Models Programme
6.2 Using the Model
POLICY STATEMENT ON EDUCATIONAL QUALITY ASSURANCE
APPENDIX - QUALITY ASSURANCE IN PRACTICE
ORDERS FOR PRINTED COPIES
The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) is a UN non-government
organisation, which represents the interests of surveyors throughout the world.
The primary work of the federation is progressed through its
technical/professional commissions, each of which is concerned with a different
aspect of the work of the surveyor. This publication is developed through a
working group within Commission 2, which is concerned with all aspects of
professional education; although the main policy statement has been endorsed by
all members of the Federation.
A central element of the work of the Federation relates to the enhancement of
standards and professional competence. To achieve this objective FIG encourages
the dissemination of best practice in both professional and educational matters.
FIG also encourages the development and implementation of adequate procedures of
quality assurance as an important means of managing the challenges of the
future. This publication provides members of the Federation with information
about quality assurance and its applicability in Surveying Education.
The issue of quality relates to all aspects of our professional life. And it
is clearly a trend within the university world. The concept of quality assurance
allows for a refocus from traditional control to a more managerial approach to
university education. This publication seeks to expose some of the quality
issues related to surveying education and to propose a model of quality
assurance which can help institutions in member countries to enhance their
educational programmes for the future. In this regard, guidelines are also given
through examples of good practice from educational institutions throughout the
Prof. Stig Enemark
Chair of FIG Commission 2 1994–1998
Quality assurance (QA) in higher education (HE) is an international issue.
Over the last decade it has become an important vehicle for securing change in
HE institutions, with a view to enhancing the student’s learning experience.
Consequently, enhancing quality has become one of the principal issues for many
education institutions. Additionally, more stakeholders, such as the
professional institutions, are drawn into the debate and seek to exert
As part of this process, FIG Commission 2 has sought to examine and elicit
models of quality capable of meeting the demands of an internationally diverse
group of surveyors engaged in educating students in higher educational
This publication seeks to encourage the development of a network of
stakeholders dedicated to enhancing the conditions necessary for high quality
learning in surveying education. To support its findings, evidence has been
sought by using an extensive questionnaire addressed to FIG members occupying
academic posts in institutions of higher education offering surveying
The purpose of this publication is threefold.
First, to provide some guidelines on quality related matters to all those
members who are active in either pursuing or influencing the development of
surveying in higher education establishments across the world.
Secondly, to encourage a variety of approaches which take account of the
particular circumstances and context of surveying education in different
Finally, to provide pointers to good practice used in the delivery and
teaching of surveying courses, which can be shared by members and applied to
enhance student experience. Specifically, to offer a quality model for adoption
Today there is a growing appreciation of the transformative powers of higher
education in underpinning the social, economic and cultural development of
nations. It is regarded as a key element in the strategies of many nations
seeking to cope with the challenges and opportunities presented in both today's
and tomorrow's worlds.
"The second half of this century will go down in the history of education as
a period of extraordinary expansion in qualitative transformations in higher
education..." UNESCO, 1995
The reality in many countries, however, has been the struggle to maintain
quality levels in HE against a backcloth of rapid expansion in student numbers
and significant reductions in government funding.
The "quality gap" which can be detected between academic institutions in
different parts of the world is often a direct reflection of the wider economic
and social imbalances existing between developed and developing countries.
Additionally, the insensitive application of Western European quality
initiatives in certain countries, without recourse to detailed analysis of
specific needs and circumstances, has led to the misdirection of scarce
resources, with no increase in quality. Consequently, there is increasing
awareness of the need for HE in each nation to fashion quality processes that
fit the needs of their consumers and markets.
There is much confusion about the meaning of quality. It is often viewed as a
vague concept, being dependent upon one's own perspective, occupational position
and point of reference.
For example, the response of a lecturer involved in teaching students may be
at variance with the perspective of their Principal/Vice Chancellor. The former
may perceive QA as focusing on the teaching and learning experience defined in
their relationship with individual students. The much broader orientation of the
Principal/Vice Chancellor of a university would be likely to reflect
distinct institutional and national contexts.
Quality management, quality assessment, quality assurance, and quality
enhancement are often regarded as being synonymous, but this is not helpful.
Debate has led to the promulgation of a wide range of definitions. However, what
is not in dispute is that the provision of a quality approach both affects and
can enhance students' learning.
In recent years there has been a surge in interest in quality assurance
internationally, with governments determined to seek evidence of value for money
from publicly funded higher education institutions. What is meant by quality
assurance is dependent on a clear definition of what is being examined.
Within this report the focus is on both the framework and climate for the
delivery of surveying programmes in higher education institutions across the
world. Quality assurance is taken to refer to all those planned and systematic
activities used to fulfil quality requirements in HE institutions and can be
"....the means by which an institution satisfies itself that the standards
and the quality of its educational provision can be maintained and enhanced."
Quality assurance is usually demonstrated by documented systems comprising
policies and procedures, linked to those formal monitoring processes provided by
each institution. Its purpose is to provide a sense of order, continuity and
confidence that issues impinging on the quality of the students' learning
experience have been addressed in a formal manner which is reflected at all
levels in the institution. It is often rooted in common approaches and standard
ways of both undertaking and discharging activities, which facilitate comparison
and benchmarking between university departments and programmes. Examples of
these provided by FIG members in HE are set out below.
Internally imposed initiatives
Externally imposed initiatives
||Quality Assessment by
procedures for new and existing programmes.
standards for students.|
monitoring programme changes and developments.
||Definition of syllabus
content and duration of programmes.|
|Academic Codes of
||Appointment of external
|Formal systems for
staff appraisal and development.
appointment, job specifications and academic tenure.|
|Teaching observation of
programmes for new employees.|
|Formal processes to promote quality enhancing activity.
Outcomes may be either short or longer term, tangible or vague. They are:
|A common framework to
prescribe an institution's core activity.
||Complex systems may be
difficult and expensive to manage and control.|
|A confidence that
systems and procedures are operating.
||If changed too often,
they may promote disillusionment in teaching staff.|
|A basis for monitoring
||Difficult to understand
and may require significant investment in staff development.|
|A basis for comparison
and benchmarking across the institution.
||Can lead to bureaucracy
and limit the introduction of quality enhancement measures.|
|A standard approach and capacity for incorporating best
||Initial enthusiasm may not be matched with long term
Identified below are a number of definitions in common use, the majority of
which emphasise the institutional perspective.
"The means by which an institution satisfies itself that the standards
and the quality of its educational provision can be maintained and
Quality assurance is usually demonstrated by documented systems
comprising policies and procedures, linked to those formal monitoring
processes provided by each institution. Its purpose is to provide a sense
of order, continuity and confidence that issues impinging on the quality
of the students' learning experience have been addressed in a formal
manner which is reflected at all levels in the institution. It is often
rooted in common approaches and standard ways of both undertaking and
discharging activities, which facilitate comparison and benchmarking
between university departments and programmes.
"That aspect of the overall management function that determines and
implements quality policy."
Managing for quality may be seen as focusing on the maintenance
of academic standards, referring to all those aspects which relate to and
enhance the students teaching and learning experience.
"The operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfill
requirements of quality."
Quality control verifies that those systems used to monitor the
delivery of academic services are being carried out satisfactorily. Such
controls seek to compare existing patterns of activity against a standard
and to identify and rectify aberrant behaviour.
"The identification of those issues or problems which are attributable
to the influence or impact of any scheme for the assessment of quality of
educational provision in universities.
The emphasis is upon "measurability" against some framework,
which represent dimensions of quality. For example, a model may prescribe
specific aspects of quality and programmes of study are investigated to
discover how close they are to the model.
Refers to all those initiatives pursued as a result of reflection,
evaluation or appraisal, which lead to the introduction of positive
changes designed to improve the activities or process in higher education.
Quality enhancement is a continuing process involving all who
contribute to the student learning experience. This process uses quality
control procedures to monitor and check that each enhancing initiative
satisfactorily introduced ready for the next periodic cycle of assessment
of the quality provision.
The degree of QA maturity in a higher education institution will obviously
vary. For example, an institution displaying a well established quality system,
developed over a number of years, should have characteristics, which are clearly
distinguishable from a relative newcomer. To take this to the next stage,
reference can be made to a matrix adapted from Crosby's (1979) method for
measuring the status of an organisation's quality improvement processes which
embodies five distinct phases:
As the institution confronts the issue of quality assurance.
As it takes the first steps to the implementation of its quality
As it frees itself from prejudice and constructively addresses the
As it seeks to implement its accumulated knowledge on quality enhancing
Embodying the confidence that its quality provision is promoting
quality learning experiences in students.
The above can then be matched against the following six categories in order
to evaluate an institutions QA maturity.
This reflects the institution's/department's attitude to quality
activity i.e. the extent to which it has accumulated sufficient
information to define its policies on quality.
The extent to which the institution/department is restructuring to
facilitate quality initiatives in the form of systems and procedures.
The extent to which mechanisms are in place both to address and resolve
issues in order to secure effective quality management.
Cost of Quality
The extent to which quality activities are prescribed by resourcing
implications and the extent to which they are likely to secure value
Quality improvement actions
The extent to which enhancement activities are the norm.
Institutional quality posture
The institution's attitude to ensuring the underpinning of its
activities with meaningful; and robust quality measures, embodying the
principles outlined in the "quality cycle".
These elements can be combined to produce the matrix as shown below which can
be used to diagnose the current status of an institution's quality provision. It
provides a basis for mapping out the means for improvement and the relative
strengths and weaknesses of the existing systems which can be used in
conjunction with the quality model proposed in section 6.
Quality organisation status
Cost of quality
Quality improvement actions
Institutional quality posture
Having introduced QA at the local level it is now useful to consider how
national and cultural factors have an effect on quality implementation. Case
studies from different countries are described in the appendix.
Quality in HE depends to a large extent upon the contextual setting of a
specified system, the institution mission and standards within a given
discipline. The following lists some of the contextual issues, which will impact
upon the manner in which quality management at the national level is discharged.
- The diversity and range of institutional structures, academic programmes,
and the size and growth rate of the student population.
- Size and location of institutions (including multi-campus and federated/
- State investment levels in HE, and any links with social, economic and
cultural development strategies.
- The range of funding sources (cost sharing between customer and state).
- Inequality of student access, and concentration on less resource demanding
fields of study.
- Student body - age profiles and wider access context, the mix in type of
learning - full, part-time distance.
- The academic environment - the pattern of activity of lecturers (part-time
or full-time), their focus on research and/or teaching, funding of academics
including tenure, (whether or not academics work full time?).
- Whether or not Surveying is represented as a separate disciplinary
specialisation or part of a more comprehensive disciplinary context.
- National attitudes to standards and awards.
Decisions concerning the following help to identify each HE department's
unique approach to quality management, and will reflect the particular context
in which they operate.
- The organisation structure of the department with particular reference to
the delegation of tasks and responsibilities.
This can be best represented by the degree of integration and control
imposed by the structure. In some cases, such structures may be ill-defined;
in others, a rigid framework may exist. Consequently, the degree of
clarification and distribution of roles, duties and responsibilities will
vary. The response may also be a reflection of the size of the unit and the
level of consistency in structure imposed by the institution across its
- The way in which staff time is distributed between research, teaching and
The ratio of support staff to teachers and the numbers of part-time
lecturers also helps to characterise the uniqueness of each department. Such
an approach may in some cases be formalised into tightly regulated time
allowances prescribed for each activity undertaken by staff. This may have a
significant impact upon academic freedom, goodwill and flexibility.
- The impact of reduced resources.
This may impact upon staff development activity and ultimately teaching
quality and the maintenance of a quality environment for teaching and
- The relationships between support staff, administration and teaching.
Their influence may be evidenced by the extent to which they are
represented in key committees which impact upon quality.
- The degree and nature of changes experienced.
The speed and significance of changes introduced to effect transformation
of an institution/department will impact upon their efficacy and the means
taken to adopt them.
A key factor in the academic health of any university is the employment of
quality teaching staff and the promotion of an environment in which staff
development is fostered. A "needs" based approach to targeting staff development
through staff appraisal is desirable. In addition, a suitable mix between
personal staff development aimed at improving the currency of subject specific
knowledge and that linked to enhancing teaching and learning activity is
Practices vary from country to country as to how lecturers are employed.
Rigorous procedures for the appointment of teaching staff are seen as an
important element in promoting quality. The form of contract of employment of
academics can also significantly affect commitment to academic activity. In many
countries there is a growing trend to limit tenure and to promote temporary or
limited term contracts, as institutions seek to create greater flexibility in
their work force To promote a "learning organisation", however, requires long
term planning, investment in staff development and academics with secure
The culture of an academic community may favour teaching as an individual and
private process. The lack of transparency between student and lecturer that this
produces may point to a need for a change in the organisation's own culture as
well as the training of staff. Best practice promotes observation and assessment
of teaching staff in the classroom, together with targeted feedback from
students on their perceptions of its effectiveness.
Syllabuses and schemes for teaching programmes need to reflect up to date
practices. They should involve all stakeholders in the process. This includes
mechanisms to allow the students a say in enhancing teaching and learning.
Formal feedback should be regularly analysed to enhance the quality of the
provision for the key stakeholder, the student.
In addition, mechanisms to allow employers/professions to have a stake in the
development of teaching curricula need to be promoted. Employers forums form a
bridge between academia and the world of work, enabling courses to be designed
and methods of learning to be promoted which foster in students the key
attributes and transferable skills needed to secure jobs. Countries are now
recognising that academic courses of study should both promote intellectual
development in the individual and develop skills which help students make a
successful transition to the world of work.
Any examination of QA must acknowledge the impact of cultural diversity. The
differing political, economic and social dimensions and power structures help to
determine what is and what is not possible within institutions. Some of these
issues are considered below.
The means by which academic power and social control are exercised is evident
in their capacity to either facilitate or suppress quality initiatives. The
level at which the power to require action resides, be it ministry, institution,
faculty or programme, is likely to have a significant impact on structures
adopted for quality and on their chances of success. Countries differ in terms
of how and where such power and authority is vested. In some countries the norm
is for groups of universities to act in concert, in others, power is
concentrated at government level.
There is also a wide variation in the extent to which an academic culture of
self-regulation and evaluation has been promulgated. Some countries, such as the
USA, Canada and the United Kingdom have a tradition of individual and
collaborative assessment of their core educational activities. In contrast, some
of the classic research orientated universities in South America and Europe have
developed a pedigree which subdues the development of such cultures.
The degree of autonomy held by some departments or the strong centralised
control vested in certain education ministries, may be severely at odds with
promoting a quality orientation in teaching and learning. A key feature
underpinning quality assurance is for a university to acknowledge that it is a
self-critical academic community, striving to enhance the quality of its work.
In practice, the individual circumstances of the institution and its cultural
context may militate against this.
Countries also vary in the extent to which they have sought to gain control
or to delegate the monitoring of quality in academic institutions. In the United
Kingdom the last decade has brought greater emphasis on the centralisation of
quality monitoring with quality audits of systems and procedures and quality
assessment of practices rigorously applied. This contrasts markedly with the
current approach in the USA, which is largely independent of government and
based on self-regulation and peer review.
There is also a need to distinguish between the different types of university
within individual countries, by reference to the mix between state
funded/recognised, private, and off-campus branches of universities. Major
differences can emerge and have an obvious impact on the quality of provision in
Yet despite these significant variations that exist between countries and
cultures many are importing QA schemes from other countries with little
recognition of the changed context.
Fears have been expressed that such initiatives may not be well founded. For
example, Holland's quality model was an adaptation of Australian and Canadian
frameworks. The Dutch model of quality evaluation is now being promoted as a
panacea in Scandinavia and the European Community. Likewise, the American system
of accreditation is being promulgated in Eastern and Central Europe and in parts
Governments and the leadership that they provide can have a significant
impact on quality assurance and its evaluation. The political persuasion of the
government can affect the response to quality provision. Examples can be cited
of government approaches fostering public comparison, cost efficiency, and
financial incentives for excellence in meeting quality criteria. These can be
contrasted with governments who exercise much looser control, providing
financial support, encouraging greater autonomy of higher education institutions
by allowing them discretion to institute measures to police their own affairs
and define their own culture of quality. In contrast, governments have been seen
to force change by using the threat of unleashing competitive forces to activate
a response in those institutions who have failed to implement internal
regulatory procedures to underpin the quality of provision.
Culture is a prime driver of both individual behaviour, and its setting
within the overall functioning of the HE organisation. No model of quality can
expect to have international applicability, without acknowledging and catering
for the impact of national culture. Equally, for any quality initiative to be
successful, its concepts and theories must in part be prescribed by national
Culture and individual personality interact. Complex issues relating to
quality in higher education are closely influenced by cultural divide and
language. Quality is an abstract concept, with people from different cultures
likely to provide diverse definitions. This diversity may be significantly
compounded internationally, with simple statements of quality taking on
different shades of meaning within different cultures.
An individual's perception of quality will differ according to the position
occupied and power and influence wielded within the organisational hierarchy.
This will be tempered by individual experience and perception of quality issues
within higher education in a particular country.
Cross-cultural influences impact upon styles of management, organisation and
interpersonal communication within higher educational institutions. National
education systems influence both the structure of programmes of study and the
consequent human dimensions associated with roles, relationships and
communications within higher education establishments. This is likely to be
mirrored in the sub-organisational structures which exist at faculty, department
and individual programme levels.
Quality assurance cannot fail to be influenced by these features. The
particular frameworks embodied in an institution's response to quality assurance
and the rules and procedures underpinning it will vary. Equally the manner in
which the change to a greater emphasis on a quality assured environment is
undertaken, will be a product of the culture-led responses and decisions of the
university and its subdivisions. Clearly the implementation of any model of
quality assurance is not going to be entirely satisfactory, unless it takes due
account of some of the above features.
For example, a university in a particular country may undertake its
activities bound by few written rules and procedures. Attempts to ensure a
compliant and consistent response amongst sections of the organisation and
particularly, in individuals, may founder if the predominant culture mitigates
against standardisation of procedures. Often there is a middle way, with
expectations limited by what is considered as being realistic within the
prevailing culture and individual organisation. Managing change in the form of
QA procedures may consequently have undesired results. Inevitably quality
assurance initiatives may not always translate easily from one country to
another. Crude attempts to impose foreign systems without clear analysis of
cultural context may be self-defeating.
In this section different models of quality are explored and key elements
distilled. There are a number of existing models commonly in use from which
insight can be gained. These range from those which have been used to evaluate
quality in and across various European higher education institutions, to those
used in the United Kingdom to assess the quality of provision within programmes.
The models presented below are ones which contain aspects selected for inclusion
into the matrix model of quality proposed in the next section.
The model evolved by the European Association for International Education
(EAIE) provides a framework for external assessment by peer group review and
acknowledges the role of the various stakeholders in influencing and shaping the
educational process. It identifies areas and methods which express a common
basis for assessment between institutions and interprets quality by using
"aspects" of quality provision. The framework links the goals and aims of an
educational programme with the curricula, the design of student assessment and
the expected knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired by the student at the end
of his/her course of study.
Translation of goals/aims in
programme contents in the
examinations and the
what did he/she acquire with
Diagram A - Factors Defining Quality as developed from the EAIE model.
Some of the thinking behind the model described under section 5.1 is linked
to developments in the United Kingdom to both measure and assess the quality of
provision in higher education institutions. The elements of these aspects of
provision are used to describe the learning environment of students in higher
education. These aspects have been refined into six categories:
1. Curriculum Design, Content and Organisation
This includes all aspects of the content and design of a programme with
a particular regard for the ways in which they are integrated.
2. Teaching, Learning and Assessment
This explores how the programme is delivered, the range of teaching and
learning methods employed and the range and balance of assessments.
3. Student Support and Guidance
In this category all the mechanisms related to supporting and guiding
the student at a personal level, the departmental level and the university
level are assessed.
4. Student Progression and Achievement
This considers all aspects of a student cohort including entry
qualifications, pass rates, wastage rates, exit qualifications,
5. Learning Resources
Here, all forms of resource related to the students learning
environment are considered. These include teaching space, staff/student
ratio, library facilities, IT facilities, etc.
6. Quality Enhancement, Output and Outcome
This includes a review of all the quality systems in operation within
the University and assesses how effective they are at the level of the
In defining the characteristics of high quality learning a model identified
by Nightingale et al, has been used, which embodies the following seven
A. The conditions necessary which facilitate discovery of knowledge
by the student
- such as easy access to high quality information and programmes
designed to encourage student centred learning.
B. Long-term retention of knowledge
- encouraged by the programme design which emphasises understanding
rather than memorising.|
C. The capacity to create new knowledge
facilitated by the use of open-ended questioning and project based study.|
D. The climate which stimulates students to perceive and understand
the links between old and new knowledge
- supported by programme design and an active staff research
E. Favourable conditions which enhance the student’s ability to apply
knowledge gained, to solving problems
- encouraged by all forms of student centred learning and especially
the use of projects.
F. Situations which allow students to demonstrate their capacity to
communicate their knowledge to others
- facilitated by commercially sponsored projects with open
presentations and student organised conferences.
G. The stimulus for students wanting to know more
- a continual emphasis on the pursuite of excellence.
The summation of the experiences derived by students represents the total of
all the learning activities which have influenced their understanding gained in
pursuing a programme of study. Quality assurance measures can then be designed
which build upon the integrity of this transaction and acknowledge the
centrality of high quality learning as its goal. Styles of teaching and
learning, claimed learning outcomes, assessment strategies, all will have their
part to play in providing a rewarding quality learning experience, as will the
wider climate in which this learning activity takes place.
However, it is important to acknowledge that whilst individual interactions
have a cumulative impact on their learning experience, it is their summation as
represented by a course of study, which sets the tone of the student's
The central role of teaching and learning as a major determinant in
fashioning the quality of an educational programme is frequently acknowledged.
It is dependent on the quality of transfer of knowledge from lecturer to
student. This in turn is dependent upon the manner in which the framework for
learning is defined and the appropriateness of the learning environment.
Most models to date have sought to ignore this approach, as most institutions
have inadequate knowledge of the interaction since it requires formal classroom
observation. This, in turn, might point to the sterility of many learning
experiences and the need to both initiate and discharge strategies for staff
development and to enhance the quality of the learning environment.
6. A MODEL FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE
This section focuses on creating a model capable of meeting the demands of an
internationally diverse group of surveyors engaged in educating students in
higher educational institutions. The matrix model which emerges, attempts to
bring together distinct features which are thought to impact upon quality.
Most systems of quality assurance are formulated and centrally driven by
educational institution and cascade down to the levels of the faculty,
department and programme. In this way it is easier to effect common approaches,
standards, and compliance.
However, from the students' perspective, such quality assurance measures are
often formulated with insufficient sensitivity to the immediacy of their
educational experience. It is infrequently the case that students are allowed to
influence significantly the design of this process. This is paradoxical given
that students are the consumers of the process, so the following definition of
quality assurance is proposed which may help to resolve this ambiguity and
provide the contact for the model.
Definition of Quality Assurance in Higher Education:
All those methods and means which help to support and foster high
quality learning experiences in the student population and which serve to
promote a deeper understanding of the subject matter comprising their
programmes of study.
Simply stated, methods and means refer to those procedures and systems
designed to enhance the student learning experience. Examples might be: the
formulation of systems of staff appraisal and development to secure improvements
in the quality of teaching and learning; promoting staff selection procedures
which secure appointees with the requisite skills and potential to boost the
quality of student learning.
The purpose of the model is to provide a framework which attempts to mimic
key features which are thought to have significant impact on the quality
provision of surveying programmes internationally. The model is a dynamic
representation of reality which can be used to both demonstrate and explore the
quality interaction. It does this by presenting its components in the form of a
matrix which allows the user to define the weighting accorded each facet. It
allows the user to map out a unique framework for action, which helps to take
account of both the stakeholders, institutional climate and programme
characteristics. The model’s particular focus is the lecturer/student interface.
The model represented in Diagram B seeks to characterise the interaction
between students and lecturers by linking those seven elements of activity which
make a major impact on encouraging high quality learning with the six aspects of
provision, as outlined in Section 5.2. The outcome is a comprehensive
representation of the spectrum of activities which underpin learning activity in
a higher education institution. Each of the six aspects should be examined in
the light of the seven features of high quality learning to determine the
programme's and university's unique response. In each case questions can be
asked to determine how each aspect of learning helps promote the achievement of
each of the seven features of high quality learning.
Seeking out evidence for each of the characteristics of high quality learning
against the aspects constituting the learning environment may be quite complex.
Consequently, the model may also be used as a simple checklist to offer guidance
for those seeking to evaluate performance, from whatever perspective they are
viewing the educational process.
Six Aspects of the Total Learning Environment
teristics of High Quality Learning
Content & Orgs
|Teaching & Learn- ing
||Student Support and Guidance
||Student Achieve- ment
||Output and Out-|
|Long Term Retention
|Create a new Knowledge
|Links between Old & new Knowledge
|Capacity to Communicate knowledge
|Wanting to Know more
Diagram B. The interaction between Characteristics of High Quality Learning
and different aspects of the total learning environment.
Viewed from the perspective of the lecturer or student, the model embodies
guiding principles, rather than absolute truths. It can provide a basis against
which to establish targets and evolve teaching strategies for the lecturer and
promote learning strategies for students.
This basic model represents each of the six aspects of the total learning
environment as carrying equal weighting. However, in practice, one could apply a
greater weighting to, say, the quality of staff resources and the teaching and
learning strategies employed, if one considered such characteristics as central.
An example of the operation of the model is provided below, showing how it could
be used to address one characteristic of high quality learning.
The Diagram C below shows the link between the characteristic "Create new
knowledge" (C) and the six aspects of the total learning environment. The
conditions necessary to facilitate discovery of new knowledge by the student may
require frameworks to be put in place prescribed by combinations of actions
relating to the six aspects as described in the diagram. The answers given in
the diagram are general. Specific answers must of course reflect the national,
institutional and cultural setting of the individual university.
1. The capacity to create new knowledge vs. Curriculum Design and
the design of a programme of study which is sufficiently academically
rigorous, diverse, stimulating and periodically enhanced by formal feedback
and development procedures.|
2. The capacity to create new knowledge vs. Teaching Learning and
formalised teaching and learning strategies to encourage the design of a
range of experiences and assessments which promote independent learning.|
3. The capacity to create new knowledge vs. Student Support and
the design of academic support mechanisms to encourage students to develop
their own learning strategies.|
4. The capacity to create new knowledge vs. Student Achievement
- the capacity of students to create a new knowledge will in itself
lead to students achievement.
5. The capacity to create new knowledge vs. Learning Resources
facilitates strategies which promote students as independent learners and
encourage discovery of knowledge.|
6. The capacity to create new knowledge vs Output and Outcomes
|- developing strategies and systems which promote staff
development in areas of teaching and learning which actively stimulate
mechanisms to support discover of knowledge by students.|
Diagram C.The link between the characteristic "Create new Knowledge(C) and
the six aspects of high quality learning.
The simple example identified above shows how the model can provide a
significant aid for analysis and diagnosis.
Viewing the model of quality from the student's perspective, it is important
to acknowledge that whilst individual interactions have a cumulative impact on
his/her learning experience, it is the summation as represented by the
completion of a programme of study, which sets the tone for the student's
experience. This comprises a multitude of transactions and interactions between
a student and the learning experiences offered by lecturers within the framework
of modules comprising his/her programme of study.
In practice it may be difficult to isolate quality assurance strategies
emerging from an examination of each aspect as one aspect may impact on another.
Nevertheless, the process should become clearer and lead to the recognition or
establishment of a range of good practice that often goes across many of the
cells in the matrix. Example of good practice that have emerged to date are:
- Providing regular opportunities for discussing academic issues, both
formal or informal.
- Holding regular operational meetings with all relevant staff, to
report, discuss, resolve issues and obstacles to progress.
- Holding meetings/quality circles to discuss and identify
improvements and innovations in academic activity.
- Careful briefing and induction to new staff.
- Continual support for staff development and learning.
- Providing opportunities, resources/incentives to promote staff
training, innovation etc., backed by a system which helps/facilitates
the diagnosis of the above.
- Promoting good communications, effective dissemination of
information, consultation and feedback at all levels and on most issues.
- Promoting and publicising individual achievement and celebrating
- Rewarding good academic performance, both in teaching,
administration and research.
- Facilitating peer student networks.
- Encouraging collaborative developments in teaching and research.
- Promoting action research into teaching and learning within the
- Learning from other institutions, via, exchanges, visits,
presentation and conferences.
Maintaining regular contact with former clients and
Academics are encouraged to use the model in conjunction with the maturity
matrix identified in section 2.4.
The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) believes that a commitment to
Quality Assurance in Surveying Education is essential to provide a demonstrably
sound foundation for the future work of the professional surveyor. Consequently,
FIG, through its members associations will endeavour to provide support and
guidance to those surveyors involved in the professional education of future
surveyors in their endeavours to ensure that systems of quality assurance are
applied to the educational process.
FIG endorses the introduction and implementation of quality assurance systems
within the educational processes for professional surveyors and, in particular,
encourages and supports:
- Surveyors who operate as educationalists within further and higher
education in developing personal systems of quality control and
assurance in their teaching methodology;
- Surveying educationalists in their attempts to become involved with
the introduction of teaching quality assurance processes within their
departments and institutions;
- Member associations to either develop their own systems of quality
assurance or to work with other involved organisations in the
development of such systems so as to ensure that the education of future
surveyors is of a demonstrably high quality.
APPENDIX – QUALITY ASSURANCE IN PRACTICE
The following case studies of "Quality Assurance in Practice" provide a
representative sample of how a number of different countries and institutions
have developed and implemented procedures for quality assurance in their
surveying education programmes.
The case studies from Denmark, The Netherlands, South Africa, USA and United
Kingdom provide insight in different approaches to quality assurance reflecting
differences in the cultural, institutional and contextual context of the
institutions. The case studies are presented by using a common framework. This
should facilitate the understanding and comparison between the concepts
implemented in different countries.
Higher Education in Denmark is offered by universities and several
institutions of higher education through programmes as B.Sc. and M.Sc.
programmes. The programmes may be combined in the way that a three year B.Sc.
programme constitutes the first part of a five M.Sc. programme. This is the case
e.g. within engineering studies. Engineering studies at university level are
offered at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen and at Aalborg
University in the North of Jutland. Surveying education is offered only at
Aalborg University. The course is a unique five-year full-time study programme
for obtaining a M.Sc. in Surveying, Planning and Land Management. About 35
students in average graduate each year.
2. National Quality Initiatives
The Universities in Denmark are funded by the State and are governed by the
university bodies themselves. The funding of the educational process is
proportional to the number of exams passed by the students throughout the year
(the taximeter-principle). This principle of funding as well as the increasing
number of students put the educational process much more into focus. In the
traditional "elitist university" the responsibility for the learning process
(and for passing exams) lies very much with the students themselves. In the
universities of today it has become vital that the students are able to pass
exams and to obtain graduation. This does not mean that the standard of the
programmes is lowered - it means that the quality of the educational process and
of the management of the programmes must be in focus and increased.
This is the background on which one should see the increasing demand for
quality assurance and quality development in higher education. This may also be
the background on which the Danish Centre for Quality Assurance and Evaluation
of Higher Education (the Evaluation Centre) was established by the government in
1992. The Centre is responsible for periodical evaluation of the quality of the
programmes of higher education in Denmark.
Each evaluation is organised to include all programmes in DK within a
specific professional field. This means that a number of educational
institutions may be involved in each evaluation. A steering committee of five
external professional experts is appointed to conduct the evaluation process.
The Evaluation Centre then acts as the secretariat for conducting the process
and for compiling the final evaluation report.
The process includes the preparation of a comprehensive self-evaluation
report from each institution involved. The report is based on a common framework
composed by the evaluation centre, and includes all key issues related to the
profile and the quality of the programme. The steering committee will then visit
the institutions to meet and discuss with relevant groups, management bodies,
faculty staff as well as students. Furthermore, the Evaluation Centre conducts a
survey of the graduates to see to what extent the programme has been sufficient
according to the demands of different employment areas. The final report then
presents the views of the committee, including recommendations for changes and
improvements. The institution should then take action on these recommendations
to implement the validation report.
Here, it should be mentioned that Denmark does not have an accreditation
system for external approval of the programmes prior to implementation. The
content of the programmes is seen as a matter of self government for the Faculty
based on a general approval from the Ministry of Education. This flexibility
makes it easy to adapt and improve the content of the curriculum according to
the development within the relevant professional areas. The self-evaluation
report therefore is seen as a relevant and adequate tool to assess the quality
as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of the programmes.
3. Contextual issues
The academic staff at Aalborg University is employed in principle by half
time teaching and half time research. The staff members are organised in
Departments covering relevant interrelated scientific areas. This way, the
Departments are responsible for research activities while the Schools and their
Board of Studies are responsible for the educational programmes. The Departments
then provide the educational resources needed and required by the director of
the individual Schools. The system provides for a kind of competition between
the Schools and the Departments aiming to optimise the total management of
The surveying and engineering programmes at Aalborg University are
project-organised and problem-based from the day the freshmen arrive until their
Project-organised means that traditional taught courses assisted by
actual practice is replaced by project work assisted by courses. The concept
moves the perspective from description and analysing into synthesising and
assessment. Each semester has a basic structure of - in principle - equal
distribution of lecture courses and project work. The project work is carried
out in small groups of four to six students having a teacher appointed as
The curriculum is organised into general subjects or "themes", normally
covering a semester. This provides for the use of project work as a basic
educational element. The themes in total will constitute the general aim or
professional profile of the curriculum. The themes provide for studying the core
elements of the subjects included (through the courses given) as well as
exploring (through the project work) the application of the subjects in
Problem-based means that traditional textbook-knowledge is replaced by
the necessary knowledge to solve theoretical problems. The concept moves the
perspective from understanding of common knowledge into ability to develop new
knowledge. The aim of the project work is "learning by doing" or "action
learning". The project work may be organised by using a "know-how" approach for
training professional functions, or it may be organised by using a "know-why"
approach for training methodological skills of problem-analysis and application.
This way, quality assurance is to a large extent built into the educational
methodology and the organisational structure of the programme.
4. Quality related activities at programme level
The capability and the quality of the educational system should also be
evaluated within the educational system itself. This is done by the system of
external censoring and the system of internal evaluation at the end of each
The system of external censoring serves the purpose of external
professional and academic control. External examination is based on the project
report and includes a verbal presentation of the project and a following
discussion for the purpose of assessing the broad awareness and professional
knowledge possessed by each student. The examination is conducted by the teacher
appointed as the group-supervisor. A normal examination for a group of students
will last for about three hours. Two external censors are present. Normally, one
of the censors is representing the professional world/industries, and another is
representing the academic world/universities. The censoring system thus allows
for the control of professional relevance and academic standards as well as
control of the total educational system.
External censoring is normally used to cover at least one third of the
curriculum and of course for the examination of the final thesis. The rest of
the terms are examined by internal censoring using faculty staff and following
the same procedure as described above. By using the project-organised model all
marks at the diploma can be documented by the project reports and may be
assessed by the trade and industries e.g. when a graduate is applying for job.
Internal evaluation serves the purpose of monitoring the relevance and
the quality of the lecture courses as well as the quality of the total term
concerning the supervision, organisation, resources etc. The evaluation is
prepared by the students and assessed by the Board of Studies. The evaluation
report is then used for preparing and improving the following same semester.
The project-organised approach to education includes that the lecture courses
are designed to support the project work carried out at the specific term. The
knowledge obtained through lecture courses is therefore assessed through the
examination based on the project report. Some lecture courses especially in the
natural science area will, however, be assessed separately. The educational
model underpins the interaction between the lecture courses and the project
work. The process of internal evaluation is therefore seen as a crucial element
in the system of quality assurance and development.
A high-quality learning environment depends on the lecturer/student
interface. This, again, depends on the pedagogical skills of the teacher.
Assistant professors/lecturers must hold a PhD degree and they also have to
undertake a special course designed to improve their pedagogical skills and
skills for conducting the whole learning process. The assessment from completing
this course can then be used when applying for a permanent position as associate
professor/senior lecturer. Courses are also designed to improve the pedagogical
skills of the permanent staff whenever needed.
Finally, to reinforce the importance of a high-quality learning environment,
the Faculty has introduced the concept of appointing the "the teacher of the
year". The appointment is based on recommendations from students from each of
the Boards of Studies within the Faculty. The award includes a fiscal prize and
the concept underpins that academic merits relate not only to research but to
educational skills as well.
The concept of quality allows for a refocus from traditional control to a
more managerial approach to university education. This goes for the national
level, the Faculty level, as well as for the local level within the individual
Board of Studies. In the case of Aalborg University, the means of Quality
Assurance can be summarised in three main instruments:
- The process of external validation conducted by the National Evaluation
Centre. The process is based on a self-assessment report and is aiming to
assess and improve the profile of the curriculum and the effectiveness and
efficiency of provision and management of the learning environment.
- The system of external examiners/censoring aiming to control the
examination procedures and to assess the knowledge of students as well as the
overall scientific and professional level of the curriculum. This system may
be rather unique in an international context.
- The concept of internal evaluation by the end of each term aiming to
assess and improve the content of the lecture courses as well as the term in
total. This concept relates to the project-organised educational model and is
seen as the basic engine for constant renewal and improvement.
Furthermore, Quality Assurance is to a large extent built into the
educational methodology and the organisational structure of the programmes.
Prof. Stig Enemark
Head of School of Surveying and Planning
FIG Commission 2 1994-1998
Aalborg University, Denmark
In The Netherlands higher education is provided at university level, as well
as at the level of higher professional education (sometimes compared with M.Sc.
and B.Sc. level respectively). Engineering studies at the technical universities
have a five-year programme, while the polytechnics provide a four-year
Higher educational institutions receive state funding for their educational
activities (part of the university research projects is also based on private
funding). Students receive a scholarship that covers most of their cost of
living. However, this scholarship is limited in years and not unconditioned. If
the yearly study progress is less then fifty percent, it is converted to a loan.
Moreover, students have to pay a tuition fee for attending to the courses (about
At each level Geodetic Engineering is a unique study programme. Geodesy and
Geoinformatics can be studied at professional education level at Utrecht
Polytechnic and an academic programme in Geodesy can be studied at Delft
University of Technology. Both programmes are mainly taught by full-time
lecturers. However, at Utrecht Polytechnic teaching is practically a full-time
task, while at Delft University activities are roughly equally divided between
education and research.
The Delft and Utrecht programmes are full-time studies, but the higher
professional degree can also be obtained in a part-time study for surveyors with
practical experience. In both programmes the scope of the contents is rather
broad, ranging from geodesy and surveying to geoinformatics and land
development. Moreover, several courses for continuous professional education
(CPD) are provided by either Delft University and Utrecht Polytechnic.
2. National quality initiatives
The last decade the importance of quality control and efficiency in higher
education has increased. Successive reductions in highness and duration of
governmental student funding were combined with agreements on improved
educational quality, efficiency and student supervision, to be provided by the
educational institutions. Funding of universities - and of faculties and study
programmes within universities - is not only based on the number of students,
but also on the student output (percentage of the students that actually
graduates). More and more, higher educational institutions are assessed on their
organisation of quality control and student supervision.
In 1989 a system of regular 'visitation' of study programmes at universities
and higher educational institutions was introduced. Each six years an external
evaluation committee visits all study programmes. Usually, related study
programmes are visited at the same time by the same committee. To prepare for
the visitation each study programme has to write a thorough self-evaluation
(internal quality assessment). The evaluation committee visits each study
programme for a few days and speaks with representatives of different groups,
staff as well as students. The committee not only reviews the contents and level
of the curriculum, but also the management of the study programme, quality
assurance procedures and student supervision. The visitation report describes
the positive and negative impressions of the committee and gives recommendations
for further improvement. Of course, a major topic at the next visitation round
will be the actions undertaken by the institution in the light of the last
The Delft Geodetic Engineering programme was visited in 1993, while the
Utrecht programme is recently reviewed in 1997.
In 1995 the Universities of Technology were allowed to provide five-year
study programs (since 1992 all university curricula were restricted to four
years). This additional year is however bounded to strict arrangements on
improved quality control and study progress. The last couple of years Delft
University of Technology employed several initiatives in order to respond to the
increased demands for quality assurance. Amongst other things by introducing
university wide course evaluation, funding of educational quality improvement
projects and reorganisation of the educational management.
Since 1997 each study programme has an 'educational manager', resorting
directly under the dean of the faculty and explicitly responsible for the
quality control of the curriculum. It is the educational manager's
responsibility that the faculty fulfils the arrangements made with the
university board on improved efficiency and reduced total study time to complete
3. Quality related activities at programme level
A comprehensive description of the activities on educational quality
assurance employed for the Geodetic Engineering programme at Delft University
can be found in (Kenselaar 1998). Here we only give a short review of the main
Concerning initiatives on national and university level we already mentioned
the external visitation of study programmes and the intensified educational
management at programme level. A few years ago standard course evaluation was
introduced at Delft University. Each course is evaluated by the students, using
a standard form suited for statistical interpretation. This quantitative
evaluation is complementary to a textual evaluation of all courses that is
organised for ten years now by the student societies.
Considering the small number of students in Geodetic Engineering (about
thirty each year) statistical interpretation of course evaluation figures is
rather problematic. Given the limited number of lecturers and the relatively
small organisation one should be careful in copying the educational management
structure used at faculties with thousands of students. At Geodetic Engineering
a close co-operation is intended between educational committee, (part-time)
educational manager and student counsellor. All lecturers join the 'counsel of
lecturers'. This platform advises the faculty about the study program,
especially regarding its contents. Next to that, the counsel will also stimulate
contacts between lecturers and the interrelation of courses.
Recently the evaluation procedure is formally described, including a feedback
loop to the lecturers. The evaluation results are now a standard item of the
yearly assessment of scientific staff. A voluntary initiative of some lecturers
to attend short courses and workshops on teaching and learning has been
formalised with the prescription that each beginning lecturer has to participate
in such a short course.
The monitoring of student capabilities and progress has been intensified.
Just as is done for first-year students for years, also second and third year
students now obtain an official study-advice by the faculty, based on their
progress and results. This should be the starting point for intensified student
support. The student counsellor will approach students with insufficient
progress. The role of the student counsellor thus changes from a passive
(students who feel the need can contact him) to a more active attitude (the
student counsellor contacts a student if he finds it necessary). Arrangements
between student and counsellor should result in concrete commitments on planning
and study efforts by the student, combined with additional support of lecturers
for certain problematic courses.
Currently, a study year has four periods, each of seven weeks of lectures and
two weeks of examinations. In each quarter three or four courses are given
parallel. In general, there is a clear trend towards concentration: The student
focuses on only a few different courses in a short period, directly followed by
examination. In the near future Delft University will even start with a
The traditional combination of oral lectures, exercises and self-study,
examined by a written test, is still widely used. Training of manual skills is
diminished, instead the provision of supported or take-home exercises is
increased, attempting to activate the students and stimulate self-study. In
several courses more student oriented educational methods are introduced, like
cases-studies and student-projects. There the lecturer focuses on supporting the
learning student', instead of merely presenting the subjects for tuition. Lots
of studies promote such educational methods, although in practice it is not easy
to attain that students seriously study the right subjects and to test their
The increasing demand for quality assurance is a clear trend in higher
education. It has become a political and social necessity for educational
institutions to demonstrate the quality and efficiency of their study
programmes. Also Geodetic Engineering studies (usually having a small number of
students and lecturers) will have to replace informal procedures of curriculum
control and student support by a formal description of educational organisation
and activities on quality control. Encouraged by the last external visitation
Geodetic Engineering in Delft is compiling an educational quality assurance
document describing all relevant activities and procedures. The small scale of
the organisation does not allow for an extensive educational management, engaged
with quality assurance. On the other hand, it is then relatively easy to realise
things like adequate student monitoring and interrelations of courses.
Ir. Frank Kenselaar
Assistant Professor, National Delegate for FIG
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering and
Higher education in South Africa is offered by universities, technikons
(similar to the former UK polytechnics), colleges of education and technical or
community colleges. Colleges of Education are responsible for the training of
teachers, while technical colleges offer both tertiary and secondary courses.
Surveying education is only offered by universities and technikons, the former
specialising in scientific education and research. Technikons specialise in
technical career orientated education. Since 1995 technikons are also offering
degree programmes and are involved in applied research.
2. National Quality Initiatives
An act of Parliament established the Certification Council for Technikon
Education (SERTEC) which is responsible for quality assurance at South African
technikons and accreditation of programmes. Evaluation of programmes is done by
visiting committees composed of representatives of professional bodies,
employers, educators from other technikons or universities, and of the SERTEC
council. This is repeated every four years. The Cape Technikon has set up a
Quality Assurance Committee which is responsible for conducting its own QA and
preparing programmes for evaluation by SERTEC.
University programmes are mainly evaluated by the professional bodies. An
evaluating committee visit the university department, and if they are not
satisfied with the standard, the graduates of that department will not be able
to register with the South African Council of Surveyors.
3. Contextual Issues
Currently two universities offer four year degree courses in surveying
leading to Masters and PhD degrees. Two universities recently had to close their
survey departments mainly due to a diminishing number of students. Six
technikons offer three year diploma courses, of which two also offer a four year
BTEC degree. Universities as well as technikons struggle to attract large
numbers of students, and the changing role of surveying also create changes in
employment opportunities. Steps are being taken to adapt courses for the
Over the last number of years higher education in South Africa was submitted
to various financial cutbacks from government. Institutions had to increase
external income in an effort to keep the increase in class fees to a minimum.
This has resulted in large cuts in funding of new equipment, which has serious
affects on technology- based education, such as surveying.
The lack of funding has also resulted in cutting some lecturing posts with a
resulting high lecturing load on the remaining staff. More use is also made of
part-time lecturers. Undergraduate courses are mostly offered on a full-time
basis. Technikon lecturers spend most of their time on teaching, because of the
high lecturing load and because technikons have only recently started doing
All the institutions mentioned above offer Surveying as a separate programme,
while two technikons also offer Cartography programmes. Surveying is also
offered to students in Civil Engineering and Building courses, usually at an
introductory level. At the technikons survey departments normally form part of
the Civil Engineering Schools.
4. QA of Programmes
Quality assurance at the Cape Technikon is conducted at two levels:
internally and externally. Both are evaluating programmes. Internal QA is
organised by the Quality Assurance Committee and is based on peer group
evaluation every four years. All academic staff must also be evaluated by
students on a regular basis. All third year subjects and higher must be
External QA and accreditation is conducted by SERTEC, also by means of peer
group evaluation committees. Particular emphasis is placed on steps that were
taken on recommendations at the previous visit. The introduction of QA has made
staff aware of striving towards the achievement of quality at all times,
although it may have resulted in additional administrative measures.
Depending on the contents, most subjects have a large laboratory and/or
project contents. Many subjects are also evaluated on a continuous basis - this
involves tests, practicals, projects and group work.
5. Good Practice in Teaching and Learning
Before new academic staff are appointed they have to do an aptitude test and
also lecture to a panel of experts. After appointment, attendance of an
educational technology course is compulsory. Regular evaluation by students and
departmental management takes place. Regular seminars on teaching and learning
methods are offered to staff. Annual ad hominem, promotions and awards
are done as motivation and reward for good teaching and other achievements.
Annual meetings are held with other survey departments to exchange ideas and
discuss course content. An advisory committee in which all sectors of industry
and the profession are represented, meets annually to discuss the needs and
requirements of industry.
The introduction of compulsory QA has certainly made everybody more aware of
quality teaching in higher education, but for technikons the test is whether the
education fulfil the needs and requirements of industry. The continued
involvement of QA measures and industry will ensure quality education at
technikons. Another important factor that will motivate high standards is the
acceptance of technikon graduates for professional registration by the South
African Council of Surveyors. This will also help to improve mobility of
students between technikon and university.
J. H. Raubenheimer
Associate Director: Surveying
The system of higher education in the United States is organised in levels.
The first is for two-year programmes housed in Junior or Community Colleges
(also referred to as Vocational/Technical Colleges). Students graduating from
these programmes receive Associate Degrees in Arts or Applied Science and may or
may not continue with their education. The majority of these institutions are
publicly funded and governed by the appropriate state agency. For admission they
require the student to have graduated from high school (a four-year experience)
and have received a diploma.
The second level are four-year public and private institutions of higher
education referred to as colleges and universities. These have their own
admission requirements for students graduating from high school and for those
transferring upon completing all, or a part of, their studies in two-year
colleges. Public colleges and universities are governed by their respective
state agency and private institutions are governed by private boards. Masters
and doctorate programs are also offered at this level.
In terms of surveying education, one finds courses relating to the topic at
all levels of higher education. This would include courses in field surveying,
housed principally in civil engineering programmes, through construction
economics found in construction education programmes and business programmes to
property management (development) also housed principally in colleges of
business and management.
2. National Quality Initiatives
Quality Assurance of programmes containing surveying-type courses at the
baccalaureate level is being conducted by either the American Council for
Construction Education (ACCE), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and
Technology (ABET) or the national agency which accredits business and management
programmes. The first agency accredits construction management education
programmes, whereas the second agency accredits engineering programmes including
those in construction engineering. In addition, in many states, the state agency
charged with overview of higher education will also conduct independent quality
assurance activities. There are also a series of regional-accrediting agencies
which perform assessment activities of entire institutions.
3. Contextual Issues
Field surveying within two-year schools is usually housed in modules within
construction or engineering technology programmes. Within four year colleges and
universities, field surveying is usually found within civil and agricultural
engineering departments. There are no formal complete programmes in field
surveying in colleges and universities in the United States. Field surveying as
a formal course is being removed from civil engineering programmes throughout
the United States. This effort is motivated by the engineering accreditation
Subjects relating to construction economics, again, are covered in individual
modules but not as complete programmes. These programmes are normally found in
departments of construction management and civil engineering and occasionally in
business and management.
In public education, state and federal governments are funding higher
education at lower levels then they did a decade ago. Typically public
institutions are funded 1/3 by the state, 1/3 by student tuition (which
includes student loans, etc.) and 1/3 by research grants, outreach activities,
and private donations. This decrease in public funding has resulted in
organisational restructuring of institutions, eliminating programmes of study,
outsourcing to private organisations of many student and faculty services such
as book stores and other initiatives to increase institutional efficiencies.
Along with this has been the need to increase student tuition.
For private institutions, there has also been the need to increase student
tuition and reduce operating costs in ways similar to the public institutions.
Both part-time and full-time academic staff teach on surveying courses. The
decision to use full or part-time staff is within the jurisdiction of the
department where the respective programmes are housed. Whether full or
part-time, staff must have the needed qualifications to teach the respective
modules. If an institution devotes a large amount of time and course work to
surveying-related subjects then the chances of a faculty member conducting
research on such respective topics will be higher. Otherwise the faculty member
will spend the majority of his time teaching the subjects.
However, most faculty members must perform research to become tenured and/or
4. Quality-related Activities at Programme Level
All courses are monitored and assessed for quality in the following ways:
The development and approval of new courses includes researching the subject
matter of similar ones offered in peer institutions and obtaining input from
experienced faculty and practising professionals and from subject matter experts
in the respective specially areas - department initiative.
Student course evaluations are conducted for all courses every semester as a
university wide initiative.
Faculty members review all curriculum on an annual basis as a department
The programme Industry Advisory Committee reviews curriculum once every other
year and as called upon by the faculty to do so.
Graduating students have exit interviews and attend assessment conferences as
a departmental initiative, while surveys of graduates and their employers are
conducted annually as department and university initiatives.
The programme and its modules are assessed as part of the accreditation
process conducted by the American Council for Construction Education.
The State of South Carolina Commission on Higher Education reviews the
programme and its modules once every five years. The same occurs but to a much
lesser extent when the university undergoes an accreditation visits by the
regional accrediting agency as university and state initiatives.
The teaching methodology depends on the type of surveying course. For field
surveying, the course is heavily project oriented and includes a substantial
amount of fieldwork. For the construction economics course it is a balance
between lecture and discussion and includes many case studies and projects. This
will also be the case for surveying-related courses students take in the College
of Business. As for any type of teaching methodology, poor teaching can have a
negative impact on the quality of the learning process as effective teaching
will enhance the learning process. Effective faculty evaluation will help insure
5. Good Practice in Teaching and Learning
The department incorporates all of the items included on the list of good
practice as described in section 7.
Quality assurance measures will result in either improving the existing
programmes and modules or, seemingly, lead to elimination, as was the case of
field surveying being removed from civil engineering programs.
Professor Roger W Liska
Associate Dean and Professor
United States of America
Higher education for surveying courses is offered by a mix of universities
and colleges across the country. Surveying programmes focus on Planning and
Development, Rural Practice, Land and Hydrographic, Minerals, Building
Surveying, Quantity Surveying and General Practice surveying. Quality of
provision is monitored and controlled by the Government Quality Assurance Agency
for Higher Education. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) acts
for the profession of surveyors in accrediting approved courses at undergraduate
and postgraduate levels in universities and colleges. Collectively these
institutions offer 170 RICS accredited courses across the United Kingdom of
which there are 42 in England. After obtaining a degree or diploma from an
accredited course, graduates are eligible to register for the RICS postgraduate
professional training programme, the Assessment of Professional Competence. If
candidates are successful they are deemed professionally competent and may apply
for professional associateship status.
2. National Quality Initiatives
The development of quality assurance in higher education has undergone
significant change over the last decade, and has been dominated by government
led initiatives which check to ensure that universities are achieving value for
money and are operating to given levels of quality. These have led to the
introduction of new models of assuring quality and standards. From 1995 to the
year 2000, a dual system of quality assurance has and will operate.
At institutional level, external assessors appointed by the Quality Assurance
Agency (Formerly the Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC), undertake the
audit of university based systems and procedures, using a statement of
self-assessment provided by the institution as a template, against which
performance is assessed.
In parallel with the above a subject based quality assurance framework is
operated by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). It covers all programmes, which
are offered in higher education. These are categorized into units of assessment
and a time frame set for their examination by assessment teams appointed by QAA.
Each programme is assessed against a self- assessment document provided by the
programme team. Evidence is sought by assessors against six main criteria, known
as aspects of provision, which include statements on the curriculum, teaching
and learning, learning resources, student support and guidance, quality and
enhancement and student progression and achievement. In each case external
assessors gather evidence against the claims made by each programme team. The
external assessors would be responsible for rating each aspect out on a scale of
1 to 4 (highest). If any aspect scored 1, then this was deemed a failure and
would trigger a further visit within twelve months to check the efficacy of
remedial action taken. If the provision was still considered unsatisfactory, the
funding provided for that programme could be withdrawn.
Future developments, coming into effect from 2001, include plans to reduce
the burden of external scrutiny on institutions by means of a clearer definition
of what is expected of institutions, a greater focus on outcomes and the quality
of student work, and combining quality audit with quality assessment.
Institutions offering professionally accredited programmes have also been the
subject of review by their respective professions. In the case of surveying, The
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) appoints teams of academics and
members of the profession to assess the quality of the provision of surveying
programmes offered by each higher education institution.
Liverpool John Moores University has responded to the above as follows. It
has implemented a framework for quality at university level, which allows for
both upward and downward transmission of good practice. University quality
committees comprise representatives from Schools to ensure commitment. Each
programme area has to submit programme self-assessment documents annually. These
analyze and evaluate a variety of sources of information related to programme
delivery and development including a review of student feedback, input from the
profession/industry and commerce, external examiner's reports, statistical
information on cohort progression and failure rates etc. Each Head of Studies
evaluates the programme's performance against a number of headings which allows
for informed reflection of changes made and initiatives pursued. Every 5 years
programmes are the subjects of revalidation by the institution to ensure their
currency and those academic standards are being met.
3. Contextual Issues
After reaching a peak in the early 1990's, market forces have caused some
regrouping of a number of surveying programmes in universities and a decline in
the number of surveying based programmes. The majority of programmes offered are
the subject to accreditation by the RICS, which has started to take a much
firmer stance on academic standards. In some cases programmes have lost
accreditation by the institution.
Until 1998, all students attracted state funding for payment of fees for the
programmes on which they were registered. Assistance towards other expenses was
means tested and based a sliding scale according to parental income. The
generosity of central government student grants has been steadily eroded during
the last decade. From September, all students registering on degree programmes
are expected to contribute £1000 towards their programme fees. Central
government has set up a loan scheme at a low rate of interest to assist students
to finance their education.
The extent to which surveying programmes at universities are delivered by
combinations of part-time and full- time staff varies with each institution and
programme. During the last few years the majority of full- time staff completing
a period of probation attracted permanent tenure. Increasingly however, more
teaching staff are employed on temporary contracts and the cost savings of
substituting part-time for full-time staff is becoming increasingly attractive.
Generally staff/student ratios have almost doubled over the last twenty years.
The proportion of students in The School of The Built Environment studying
part-time mode varies according to the programme offered, with urban estate
management 0%, Quantity Surveying 25% and Building Surveying 5. %. None of the
undergraduate students study by distance learning.
On average 10-20% of an academic's time is spent on research/
scholarship/consultancy, the residue is confined to teaching and related
administrative duties. All full-time lecturers hold tenure.
Within the School, Surveying is delivered by three distinct programme areas,
Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying and Urban Estate Management. Each offers
undergraduate programmes by part-time, full-time and sandwich mode.
4. Quality Related Activities at Programme Level
Operation of quality assurance at programme level is governed by an
institution framework which includes the following: complex central assessment
regulations, a system of evaluative annual reports for each programme, periodic
review of programmes by the university, a Head of Divisional Academic Programmes
to both benchmark and provide feedback on programme development and evolution.
In addition programme standards are assessed externally by external examiners
attached to each programme area, and programmes are subject to central
government quality assessment at approximately six-year intervals.
Good practice is increasingly being applied in the context of staff
development in teaching and learning, peer observation of teaching, and the
formulation of strategies both at university and school level to effect
improvement and evolve a climate conducive to the "reflective practitioner".
Programmes are delivered over two semesters and within a modular framework.
Measures to improve quality are often centrally led, but usually there is
room for some discretion regarding their interpretation at programme level. The
pace of change in the above context has been rapid. Some changes, e.g. peer
observation of teaching and feedback to students, can pose challenges to
consistency of approach between programmes. More statistical data is available
against which to benchmark programme and module performance.
Both Quantity Surveying and Urban Estate Management are mainly delivered by
traditional lectures. Increasingly student centered learning is being introduced
in the form of projects. Building Surveying is similarly reliant on lectures as
the prime mode of delivery, coupled with some laboratory based activity. A joint
project in the final level of the degree programmes provides a mechanism for
team working. There are increasing pressures for more common modules to be
offered across the above programmes.
Traditional lectures are used for a number of reasons, mainly resource based,
including the lack of flexibility in the building occupied, which inhibits more
innovative methods of delivery.
5. Good Practice in Teaching and Learning
Most of the features in the attached list of good practice are undertaken,
with variable degrees of effectiveness. Project work is a key feature in
promoting student centered learning and problem solving activity. However, such
educational opportunities are being increasingly challenged by the level of
remedial support required in study skills for new entrants, given there more
diverse entry qualifications.
Future external quality assessment is likely to build on the frameworks
already applied to higher education establishments by central government. A
particular shift will be towards subject benchmarking and the identification of
threshold standards. It is expected that programme areas will need to provide
evidence that graduates are acquiring the requisite level of abilities and
attributes. The acquisition of key skills and employability will form an
increasing component in future quality assurance assessment.
Robert D. Hodgkinson
School of the Built Environment
Liverpool John Moores University
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