The Quality Assurance Center of Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy
The Structure and Organization
The Quality Assurance Center was established in the Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy in 2008. The Quality Assurance Center is, at present, staffed by three faculty members who have extensive experience in quality assurance; two (2) Quality Assurance Specialists; one Marketing Coordinator; one Web Designer; one Graphics Artist and Illustrator; and one (1) Quality Assurance Secretary. The Center is under the direct administration and supervision of the Rector of the College.
The Center has been tasked to assume the functions and responsibilities related to the initial accreditation of the College and its programs with the National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA) and in ensuring that the College is able to maintain that same accreditation/certification. The Quality Assurance Center does this by coordinating institution-wide quality assurance activities and undertakes the following responsibilities (among others) as prescribed in the NCAAA Handbook:
The Quality Assurance Committee
- Advising on institution-wide priorities and strategies for quality improvement;
- Assisting internal academic and administrative units in the development of quality improvement strategies within their own areas;
- Establishing and monitoring self-assessment processes and reporting requirements;
- Providing training for faculty and staff in the institution together with advice and support as required;
- Developing a procedures manual describing the institution’s structure and processes for quality assurance; specifying criteria for selection and formats for indicators, benchmarks, and objectives; preparing standard forms for matters such as student and graduate surveys; and advising on operational procedures for the planning and implementation of quality processes;
- Maintaining systematic collections of reports on performance including data on indicators and benchmarks that will be required for analysis and reporting on trends in performance and changes in the environment within which the institution is operating.
- Coordinating and leading the preparation of periodic self studies for consideration within the Institution and for use in external reviews.
The Quality Assurance Committee that has been established has membership composed of the heads or representatives from major academic and administrative units in the College. It works with the Quality Center in planning and carrying out the responsibilities for the cycle of identifying, planning, implementing, monitoring and analyzing quality assurance activities and procedures. It has a chairman at the helm with two co-chairmen who take over in the absence of the chairman.The Quality Assurance Committee works closely with the Quality Assurance Center in leading and supporting the Colleges’ quality assurance activities and in the implementation of quality assurance processes. The members of the committee provide leadership for the quality assurance activities and processes within their own areas and spheres.
Financial and Human Resource Support for the Quality Assurance Center
There has been adequate human resource support for the Center in the three faculty members who have extensive experience in quality assurance; two (2) Quality Assurance Specialists; one Marketing Coordinator; one Web Designer; one Graphics Artist and Illustrator; and one (1) Quality Assurance Secretary. The financial support for the Center has been more than adequate.
The Center is now housed on the 7th Floor of the newly constructed campus building occupying more than 3,000 square meters of office space where each of the quality assurance staff has his/her own respective office which is completely furnished with the necessary furniture and equipment completely provided with fast and reliable Internet, phone and fax services. The Center has at the moment seven (7) extra offices in readiness for additional staff should the need for this arise in the future. The Center also includes one (1) big and six (6) smaller meeting rooms and two big conference or meeting rooms - one which can comfortably seat 100 and the other, 200 people.The two meeting rooms can be converted into one big conference room.
Interaction of the Quality Assurance Center with Academic and Administrative Unit
With the Rector at the helm as the authority providing direction, supervision and support, the Quality Assurance Center has established excellent rapport with the academic and administrative units within the College. Quality assurance systems and procedures have been put in place and these have been coordinated and monitored through the Quality Assurance Center in tandem with the various units themselves. The major units are represented in the Quality Assurance Committee which meets regularly every first Thursday of the month except during Ramadan and Haj holidays and the summer vacation.
Achievements of the Quality Assurance Center from its Inception to Date Relative to the following:
These symposia and attendance at NCAAA seminars and workshops as well as the rating sheets have aimed at spreading the culture of quality and quality improvement among the teaching staff and faculty of the College.
The Role Played by the Quality Assurance Center in the Initial Self-Study
The Center played a very vital and focal role in the self-study of the institution and its programs. It initiated the work towards the completion of Institutional and Program Self-studies for the College and its four programs of Dentistry, Dental Hygiene, Pharmacy and Clinical Laboratory Science. The Center ensured that the completed self- studies were subsequently submitted to NCAAA for scheduling of the relevant External Reviews.
The Center prepared the Terms of Reference for the Self-studies (Institutional and Program). It coordinated and was at the forefront of all the pertinent activities for the self-studies. The Center also finalized and prepared the documentation for these self-studies and took charge of the actual submission of the same to NCAAA.
Development of the RCSDP Strategic Plan for 2010-2015
The Quality Assurance Center developed the very first RCSDP Five-Year Strategic Plan and the Revised Five-Year Strategic Plan for 2010-2015. The latter plan was discussed and then was subsequently approved by the Board of Trustees in 2010. That same Strategic Plan incorporates the Quality Strategy for the College.
The Quality Assurance Center played a most vital role in conceptualizing and writing the basics for the amended mission and vision for the College and in defining its Goals.
Identification and Consideration of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Regarding Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the College, at the recommendation of the QA Center, has used the KPIs recommended and identified by the NCAAA but added the GPA as another indicator of the quality of student performance. The KPIs are submitted to those concerned to alert them on both good or not-so-good performance. Providing the units with comparative annual statistics on the KPIs will help them evaluate the reasons behind the better performance or the worse performance and take the appropriate intervention in any case.
Preparation of Program and Course Specifications
At the instance of the Quality Assurance Center, the program specifications for the College’s four program and course specifications for courses in the different programs have been prepared utilizing the NCAAA templates for the same.
At the beginning of every semester, the Center sends reminders to the program heads/coordinators to submit updated specifications where there have been changes or adjustments. All the specifications are kept in a Program Portfolio or Course Portfolio folder to enable those concerned including the Center itself to keep track of the changes and the reasons for such changes. The course specifications in the file prove very useful to the new faculty who are assigned to handle those courses.
Submission of Course Reports
The Quality Assurance Center Initiated and continues to coordinate the submission of course reports at the end of every semester and of program reports at the end of each academic year. The Rector, deans, department heads and/or program coordinators review the reports and discuss the same during the College Board and Department meetings to look for and identify good practices as well as problem areas. The good practices are highlighted and shared and complemented but for the latter, necessary interviews/investigations are made and appropriate solutions/interventions are identified and implemented where necessary. Comparative analysis between programs, between semesters or between academic years are made to identify variances, reasons for the variances and identify and institute solutions for the negative variances.
Monitoring of Performance of Non-academic and Other Organizational Units
Through the self-studies (institutional and programs), the performance of other units and non-academic departments, has been monitored. The main objective is to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses and find solutions to problem areas and difficulties where possible. The Rector has designated quality assurance officers for the various units. Meetings have been held to discuss the issues and concerns in the units and pertinent solutions or interventions as well as plans for the units are discussed and implemented.
Conduct of Surveys including Compilation, Analysis of Data and Reporting of Survey Results
The Quality Assurance Center has faithfully administered every semester the three (3) different surveys (CES, SES and PES) recommended by the NCAAA using their templates. Every semester, the Center has been responsible for the collection, compilation and analysis of data including the preparation of appropriate summaries and reports and providing the Rector, the deans and the department head or program coordinator copies of the summaries and reports for their preparation of their annual program reports and for their appropriate action such as further investigation for low or extremely high ratings or results. Low and extremely high ratings require an investigation of the reasons behind such and may also require discussion and planning for the implementation of interventions or corrective action in order to improve the quality of learning and teaching in the College.
Encouraging faculty members, especially those who are members of the Quality Assurance Committee, to attend NCAAA seminar-workshops on quality assurance. Written Reports on the seminar-workshops attended are submitted to the Center for further discussion during the Quality Assurance Committee meetings.
Conduct for the faculty of fifteen (15) quality assurance symposia. The symposia have been mostly echo sessions of NCAAA seminars or workshops which QA Committee members have previously attended. The faculty who attended the NCAAA seminar-workshops prepare their own Powerpoint presentations and they give these during the symposia. The presentations are rated by the audience using rating sheets prepared by the Quality Assurance Center.
Some of the symposia have featured presentations by the Rector on the NCAAA requirements and preparations to be undertaken for NCAAA External Panel Reviews. These presentations have aimed at not only informing and reminding the staff of what they need to do relative to the need to comply with NCAAA standards and requirements, but also that they always have to underline the performance of their duties and responsibilities with quality all the time.
Other Quality Mechanisms
Aside from the foregoing achievements relative to activities as mechanisms to spread the culture of quality among the constituents of the College, the Quality Assurance Center has also already held 28 regular/monthly meetings by the Quality Assurance Committee as the coordinating mechanism to ensure quality in all units and in all processes and activities in the College. It has served as the forum where quality issues and concerns have been discussed and addressed. The meetings have likewise aimed at spreading as well as embedding quality awareness and consciousness among the members with the further goal of infecting the people and staff they handle and supervise with the same consciousness about, as well as the commitment to implement quality in their work at all times. The Quality Assurance Center has prepared the agenda as well as the materials on the agenda for all the !QAC meetings.