Faculties developed Faculty-specific plans that fit within one or more of the Quality Agreement programmes. Faculties are responsible for monitoring their plans and to adjust and update their Quality Agreements in consultation with internal stakeholders. During a calendar year, there are fixed moments at which the Quality Agreements will be on the agenda. The timing of these moments is determined by the Education Improvement Cycle of the UT. At the UT, quality of education is assured by means of plan-do-check-act cycli (PDCA) that operate on Programme level, Faculty level and University level. These layered PDCA-cycli are also utilized to direct the development of the Quality Agreements.
Regarding the ‘plan-side’ of the education improvement cycle at University level, the following documents and events are important (see also the figure above):
- During the Spring Meetings, which take place between the Executive Board and each Faculty Board in April, long-term intentions to improve and innovate education are discussed (t + 1 till 4 years). Faculties define their long term intentions regarding development of education, based on 1) general insights that are derived from point of improvement that Degree Programmes defined, and 2) the current situation which is explained in the December Management Report. Outcomes of the spring meetings can be included in the Spring memorandum. The spring memorandum sets the framework for the annuals plans that faculties and service departments submit in September.
- Annual plans of faculties describe what will be done upcoming year to improve education (t + 1 year). Specifically faculties have to explain how the WSV-budget will be invested in the next calendar year. Faculty Councils have the right to annually approve the allocation of the WSV-budget. In October, annual plans of the faculties are discussed during the Autumn Meetings between the Executive Board and the Faculty Boards.
- The UT Annual Budget explains how the central WSV-budget (20%) is used in the next calendar year (t + 1 year). The allocation of the central WSV-budget needs approval from the University Council. The Annual Budget is discussed with the University Council in December.
Regarding the ‘check-side’ of the education improvement cycle at University level, the following documents are important:
- The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) expects that Higher Education Institutions report on the progress of the Quality Agreements in their Annual Report. Faculties (and Service Departments) report on the realisation of their Quality Agreement plans via the Management Report of December (t – 1 year). This information will be included in UT’s Annual Report.
- Halfway each calendar year, Faculties report on the progress of their Quality Agreement plans via the Management Report of May (t).
Translating suggestions of students and staff into investment plans of the WSV-budget
Students and staff are able to make suggestions about how to enhance quality of education. Degree programmes annually formulate points for improvement (approximately from October till December, varying per Faculty). It is important that suggestions of students and staff are considered while defining points for improvements. Because a Programme Committee represents the staff and students of a Degree Programme, this body is expected to discuss input from students and staff with the programme management while making these plans.
The plans of the Degree Programmes to improve education are input for the Faculty to adjust and update their Faculty-specific Quality Agreements. Because it is likely that not all points for improvement of Degree Programmes can be related to one of the five UT Quality Agreement Programmes, a distinction should be made at Faculty level about:
- what plans fit within one of the five UT Quality Agreement Programmes (these can be financed by means of the WSV-budget), and
- which plan should be executed as part of the regular quality assurance by means of regular funds.
The Vice-Deans of Education are responsible for defining how the WSV-budget should be invested in the next calendar year. The Vice-Deans of Education make sure that Programme Committees and Faculty Councils are involved in the process of deciding how the WSV-budget is allocated. Faculty Councils have the right to approve the allocation of the WSV-budget for the coming calendar year.
A Vice-Dean of Education can also decide to address an issue or to propose an idea at University level in order to stimulate that University-wide decisions are taken. All Vice-Deans of Education participate in the University’s Commission of Education (UC-OW), which is chaired by the Rector Magnificus. This commission is responsible for advising on education related strategy and policy. The UC-OW also advices on the course of the Quality Agreement Programmes.