Impact of quality assurance on University operations : Experiences from Altair project Project Objectives Altair project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of 10 Arab universities in five partner countries, through the development and embedding of a culture for quality assurance. Related activities include a series of pilot quality assurance assessments of chosen university services, the development of a long-term strategic plan for the development of quality assurance and the publication of a guide to the promotion of institutional quality assurance. Project Members 1- University of Alicante (Spain) 2- University Miguel Hernandez (Spain) 3- Accreditation Agency for Study Programs in Engineering, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, ASIIN (Germany) 4- Leadership Agenda (United Kingdom) 5- University of Newcastle (United Kingdom) 6- Higher Education Accreditation Commission (Jordan) 7- Association of Arab universities (Jordan) 8- Supreme Council of Universities (Egypt) 9- Lebanese Directorate General of Higher Education (Lebanon) 10- Ministère de l´Education Nationale, de l´Enseígnement Supérieur, de la Formation des Cadres et de la Recherche Scientifique (Morocco) 11- Ministry of Education & Higher Education (Palestine) Project Members 12- Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission (Palestine) 13- Princess Sumaya University of Technology (Jordan) 14- Mu´tah University (Jordan) 15- Alexandria University (Egypt) 16- Helwan University (Egypt) 17- Beirut University (Lebanon) 18- Modern University of Business and Science (Lebanon) 19- Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah (Morocco) 20- Université Moulay Ismail (Morocco) 21- An-najah National University (Palestine) 22- Polytechnic University (Palestine) 23- Ministry of Education (Jordan) Outcomes and outputs 1. Enhanced managerial and administrative staff capacity in implementation of quality assurance and assessment techniques. 2. Sustainable structures for the implementation of quality culture strengthened at ten Arab Universities; 3. Developed methodologies for quality assessment and pilot assessments at ten Arab Universities implemented; 4. Increased innovation, efficiency, strategic thinking and ideas for self-improvement through development and adoption of a long-term strategy plan for quality assurance at Arab HEIs; 5. Increased awareness for quality culture through the development and dissemination of a Guide for the Promotion of Institutional Quality Culture in Arab Universities 6. Increased inter-institutional networking and sharing of bestpractices for the promotion of quality culture within Arab countries Impact on University Management • Institutionalization of QA: All participating countries had established a quality units at central level in order to provide necessary data, to support periodic assessment and to facilitate the accreditation processes. • University administration: based on the EFQM assessment of two university services (Financial department and student affairs) at all partners universities, the impact of QA have been perceived after the implementation of the improvement plans: increased administrative organization. • Internationalization: Less impact of QA have been perceived for the internationalization process of universities. Intra-Arab student mobility and mutual recognition still in its very first stages in all countries. Impact of QA on teaching practices • Learning Outcomes : Definition of expected learning outcomes have been adjusted taking into account the views of graduates and employers. QA has impacted the teaching practices in that it: • Developed a wide ranging, professional and accountable prototype of QA framework that addresses processes, developments and components for initial teacher development. Such as A teaching portfolio that contains samples of a teacher's work collected over time across various contexts and accompanied by reflections. • Identified quality components of programme evaluation and translated them into actual processes and performance indicators. • Assessment of learning : Started to be addressed from an institutional perspective as a key aspect for the improvement of teaching. Assessment of student involvement in active learning practices has made it possible to assess the practices’ contribution to students’ cumulative learning. However, utilization of active learning practices is unsystematic, to the detriment of student learning. Challenges • Lack of “shared responsibility” required for the Self-Evaluation; • Lack of experience with peer collaboration; • Absence of formal agencies for quality assurance in several Arab countries. Suggestions • Encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom. • Students take two or more linked courses as a group and work closely with one another and with their professors. • Emphasize on courses and programs that help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own. • Programs such as Service Learning, CommunityBased Learning, field-based “experiential learning” with community partners is an instructional strategy. Recommendations from Altair Framework • More involvement of student in quality assurance processes; • Reinforce internal quality assurance system. We have to plant the culture among all faculties and administrations to follow certain steps while implementing certain tasks. • Improve quality assurance information system; • Develop a common institutional standards for the Arab Region; • Promote the use of regional peer reviewers in the site visits; • Increase Public awareness about quality in higher education .