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Microsoft word - program reviews executive summary asuHigher Education Review Unit
Program Review Report
Bachelor of Business Administration Programme
Applied Science University, Kingdom of Bahrain
Date Reviewed: 11-12 January 2009
Table of Contents
3. Indicator 2: Efficiency of the programme .6 4. Indicator 3: Academic standards of the graduates .8 5. Indicator 4: Effectiveness of quality management and assurance .10 Copyright Quality Assurance Authority for Education and Training Bahrain 2009 1. Programme Reviews
1.1 The Programme Review Framework
Four ind icators that are u sed to m easu re w hether or not a p rogram m e m eets m inim u m
Indicator 1: Curriculum
Indicator 2: Efficiency of the programme
Indicator 3: Academic standards of the graduates
Indicator 4: Effectiveness of quality management and assurance
The summative judgment falls into one of three categories: The programme satisfies all four indicators and gives confidence, or
There is limited confidence because up to two indicators are not satisfied, or
There is no confidence in the programme because more than two indicators 1.2 The programme review process at Applied Science University
The programme review of the Bachelor of Bu siness Ad m inistration of Ap p lied Science University (ASU) w as cond u cted by the H igher Ed u cation Review Unit (H ERU) of the Qu ality Assu rance Au thority for Ed u cation and Training (QAAET) in term s of its m and ate to review the qu ality of higher ed u cation in Bahrain. This document p rovid es a su m m ary of the find ings of the Review Panel based on the Self-Evaluation Rep ort (SER) and ap p end ices su bm itted by ASU, the su p p lem entary d ocu m entation m ad e available d u ring the site visit, as w ell as interview s and observations m ad e during the review site visit. The programme review site visit took place on 11th and 12th Janu ary 2009. It is exp ected that the College of Ad m inistrative Science of ASU w ill u se the find ings p resented in this Rep ort to strengthen its Bu siness Ad m inistration programme. The Bachelor of Bu siness Ad m inistration (BBA) d egree is offered by the Dep artm ent of Business Ad m inistration w hich is located w ithin the College of Ad m inistrative Sciences. Delivery of the programme com m enced in 2005. The m inim u m p eriod to com p lete the d egree is 3 years. There are p resently 195 stu d ents enrolled in the Dep artm ent, 20 stu d ents had grad u ated a w eek before the institu tional visit by the Review Panel. Of these, 17 stu d ents w ere from the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration programme. QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 2. Indicator 1: Curriculum
The programme complies with existing regulations in terms of the curriculum, the teaching and the assessment of students’ achievements; the curriculum demonstrates fitness for purpose. The programme aim s are clearly articu lated and are consistent w ith the m ission of the University and that of the Dep artm ent in w hich it is located . The overall aim s of the programme reflect an ap p rop riate balance betw een the know led ge and ap p lication of bu siness m anagem ent theories and the d evelop m ent of transferable and life-long learning skills. While there ap p ears to be no form al p rocess of inform ation gathering, discussions with academic staff suggested that these aims are informed by the needs of the students, the market as well as those of society. Cou rses/su bjects covered in the programme are typ ical of those exp ected of a Bu siness Ad m inistration d egree. The bread th of stu d y w as evid ent and com m ented on The programme is to a large extent sim ilar to that offered by the Ap p lied Science University of Jord an. The cou rse team ind icated that facu lty from the Ap p lied Science University of Jordan offer assistance to ASU in shap ing the content of the cu rricu lu m and that the cu rricu lu m p rocess is fu rthermore inform ed by m arket trends, stu d ent input, and H EC requ irem ents. The Panel fou nd no d ocu m entary evid ence su p p orting this p osition beyond the form al relationship w hich exists betw een the University and the Ap p lied Science University of Jord an and the University of Mu’tah. There ap p ears to be no form al m echanism s for translating the view s of grad u ates into the d evelop m ent of the cu rricu lu m althou gh the view s of existing stu d ents are regu larly sought. Stu d ents are offered a nu m ber of op tions w ithin resp ective areas of the programme. In so d oing, they receive gu id ance on op tion choices by acad em ic ad visers. The Review Panel w as u nable to establish the form al p rocess by w hich this w as achieved . H owever, all stu d ents interviewed confirm ed that they have assigned academic advisors, and com m ented p ositively on the su p p ort and ad vice p rovid ed by these advisors. In ad d ition, the cu rricu lu m inclu d es a compulsory “field training” which p rovid es stu d ents w ith an op p ortu nity to ap p ly their know led ge in a real and p ractical setting. The stru ctu re of the cu rricu lu m , w hich is p rim arily d elivered in Arabic, enables the programme to m eet institutional requ irem ents. There are 4 cou rses that are offered in English, 2 of w hich are English Language specific cou rses. Stu d ents and staff acknow led ged that the relatively w eak level of English on the p art of som e of th e stu d ent bod y m ad e d elivery in English d em and ing. The Panel also heard from QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 stu d ents of the need for m ore cou rses to be offered in English so that they are adequately prepared for the workplace. Within ind ivid u al su bject areas, the acad em ic staff members p rep are cou rse specifications which are consistent in structure and content. The Panel fou nd that learning ou tcom es at programme level are em bryonic and in p art inclu d ed w ithin the d ep artm ent ou tcom es contained in the SER. H ow ever it is acknowledged that learning ou tcom es at ind ivid u al su bject level are yet to be d evelop ed . The absence of sp ecific su bject-related learning ou tcom es m akes it d ifficu lt for the Panel to establish d ep th of stu d y across the d ifferent levels of the curriculum. Nevertheless, it w as evid ent from d iscu ssion w ith stu d ents and grad u ates that they consid ered that the d egree of com p lexity, d ifficu lty and d ep th increases from one level to the next. This w as generally verified by the Panel following an exam ination of stu d ent w ork. There is acknow led gem ent of the im p ortance of "critical thinking” and “transferable skills” bu t again these are not fu lly or form ally reflected in d escrip tors. The Panel su ggests that this is an area that should be ad d ressed in the fu tu re The SER ind icates that teaching is d elivered throu gh a com bination of lectures, sem inars and w orkshop s. Students are expected to participate actively in their learning w ith em p hasis being p laced on the ap p lication of theory. Teaching is largely d one throu gh lectu res. Good p ractice inclu d es the p rovision of stu d ent hand ou ts by som e lectu rers and the p osting of som e lectu re notes on-line. There is, however, little evid ence that this is system atically followed. The Panel is of the view that the form al d evelop m ent of a departmental/programme teaching and learning strategy w ou ld assist in ensuring consistency in this practice. The ap p lied or p ractical orientation of the programme is reinforced by lectu rer u se of exam p les and case stu d ies. Althou gh stu d ents acknow led ge this, they still felt that a greater em p hasis on ap p lied asp ects across all su bjects w ou ld fu rther enhance their learning. Field training w hich involves p lacem ent of stu d ents in a real w orking environm ent is a com p u lsory com p onent of the d egree. At p resent this is not formally cred ited . Grad u ates sp oke p ositively abou t the exp erience of field w ork. In ad d ition, stu d ents u nd ertake an Ap p lied Research cou rse d u ring the final sem ester of the p rogramme. Stu d ents are requ ired to p resent and d efend their w ork in front of a Committee of academic staff. 2.10 The d ep artm ent seeks to u se a variety and balance of assessm ent m echanism s. Evid ence of d iagnostic, form ative and su m m ative assessm ent w as p rovid ed . Assessm ent involves a com bination of essays, rep orts, p rojects and exam inations bu t the balance is w eighted heavily tow ard s trad itional exam inations. There w as less QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 evid ence of the assessm ent of transferable skills. This m ay in p art be exp lained by the absence of specific learning outcomes in this area. These need to be developed. 2.11 At su bject level, ind ivid u al lectu rers have resp onsibility for the d evelop m ent of assessment instruments as informed by University requirements and under the general gu id ance of the Dean. There w as no evid ence of any form al d ep artm ental p olicy to com p lem ent u niversity requ irem ents or gu id e the d evelop m ent, im p lem entation or review of assessm ent. For su bjects involving m ore than one lectu rer, the staff m em bers concerned agree on aspects that need to be contained in the examination. The academic staff d em onstrated an aw areness of the im p ortance of having a variety of ap p rop riate assessm ent instru m ents althou gh this is not alw ays reflected in p ractice. stu d ents and grad u ates of the programme com m ented favorably abou t the fairness and breadth of the assessment and content. 2.12 Peru sal of the cou rse content and exam ination qu estion p ap ers confirm ed attem p ts aim ed at ensu ring a balance betw een theoretical know led ge and p ractical ap plication. In later years of the programme, assessm ent is d esigned to cover concep tu al, research and rep ort w riting skills. The latter is evid enced by the com p letion of a final sem ester 2.13 Assessment is review ed in term s of m arks d istribu tion. Feedback is consistent w ith u niversity regu lations. H ow ever, there is very lim ited evid ence of system atic m od eration of assessm ents or exam inations p ap ers. The Dean has p rop osed the introduction of an external exam iner system. The Panel recommends that this initiative be im p lem ented as a m atter of u rgency. It also su ggests that this shou ld be inclu d ed w ithin the d evelop m ent of a m ore system atic assessm ent p olicy w hich form ally d ocu m ents existing activities and p roced u res. This shou ld be d evelop ed and inform ed by good p ractice and w ill assist in ensu ring consistency in teaching and learning p ractice across the programme. Grad ing system s are consistent w ith u niversity regulations. There is less explicit evidence of clear assessment and grading criteria. 2.14 In com ing to its conclu sion regard ing the cu rricu lu m the Panel notes w ith appreciation The d evelop m ent of programme aim s w hich are consistent w ith the University and that of the Department within which the programme is based The constru ction of a syllabu s w hich is broad ly consistent w ith the content of similar degree programmes within the business field A com m itm ent on the p art of acad em ic staff to exp loit a range of teaching and learning methods and recognize the benefit of variety in assessment methods. 2.15 In terms of improvement, the Panel recommends that the department should:
QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 Constru ct clear and sp ecific learning ou tcom es at both programme and su bject
level to inform and enhance the quality and delivery of provision Develop an exp licit teaching, learning and assessm ent p olicy w hich d evelop s, documents and formalizes procedures and guides practice in the area Develop and im p lem ent a form al m onitoring and evalu ation p rocess throu gh w hich feed back of internal and external stakehold ers can be d ocu m ented and used to inform the development of the programme Implement a system of external examination. 2.16 Judgement
On balance, the Review Panel concludes that the programme satisfies the indicator on
3. Indicator 2: Efficiency of the programme
The programme is efficient in terms of the use of available resources, the admitted students and the ratio of admitted students to successful graduates. The qu ality of academic lead ership in term s of qu alifications and exp erience is im p ressive. Most m em bers of the teaching staff have PhDs obtained from d ifferent countries, including Iraq, USA, and the UK. This d iversity and consid erable collective exp erience in the higher ed u cation sector p rovid es the Panel w ith the confid ence that the acad em ic staff is equ al to the task of p rovid ing a qu ality programme. The new Dean p rovid es strong and effective lead ership and has id entified areas for improvement. This was borne out during interviews with staff. It is evid ent how ever, that acad em ic staff have excessive teaching load s. Whilst the Panel notes the com m itm ent and enthu siasm of the Facu lty in d ealing w ith these w orkload s, it has considerable reservations that the stand ard s of su p p ort for stu d ents can be m aintained in the absence of ad d itional human resources – p articu larly if the p rop osed exp ansion p lans are to com e to fru ition. The Panel notes that a new H ead of Department was appointed in the course of the site visit. 3.3 Stu d ents enrolling into year one of the programme are requ ired to satisfy the minimum entry requ irem ents of the University. In ad d ition, there is p rovision for the transfer of students from other u niversities. The effectiveness of this w as evid ent in d iscu ssion betw een the Panel and existing stu d ents/grad u ates. Each grou p ind icated they received positive inform ation abou t the University from friend s and relatives and only to a lesser extent from marketing efforts undertaken by ASU. The Panel notes that the programme includes the delivery of a small number of courses in English. Both stu d ents and staff acknow led ge challenges in m eeting this QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 com m itm ent. It is recom m end ed that the programme team reconsid er the m inim u m level of English requ ired to ensu re that all stu d ents in English-m ed iu m classes are in a position to benefit from the learning available. 3.5 Discu ssions confirm that each stu d ent is allocated an Acad em ic Ad visor on registration. Each ad visor has abou t 20 stu d ents. A stu d ent gu id e is also p rovid ed for students. This is considered by students to be helpful and informative. The Panel id entified a strong com m itm ent to stu d ent su p p ort. Lectu ring and office hou rs’ sched u les are p osted ou tsid e each facu lty m em bers’ office. Stu d ents and grad u ates com m ented p ositively on the su p p ort from lectu ring staff and the welcoming ethos of the institu tion. Grad u ates sp oke abou t their increasing self-confidence on completion of the course. 3.7 Inform ation relating to stu d ent p erform ance/p rogression w as not contained in the SER. The d egree is relatively recently established and has only one set of grad u ates. As yet there is no form al p rocess to track the first d estination of grad u ates. It w as also acknow led ged d u ring the site visit that p erform ance d ata by year of programme was not read ily available. A d ocu m ent p rovid ed in the cou rse of the visit revealed a balanced d istribu tion of stu d ents by sem ester and su ggested sm ooth p rogression. H ow ever, the Panel w as u nable to assess the nu m ber of stu d ents p rogressing from each cohort of the cou rse. It is recom m end ed that su ch an analysis shou ld be form alized to assist the programme team in review ing p erform ance across the 3.8 The University has invested in a range of facilities to su p p ort teaching and learning. 6 large LCD screens are p laced strategically arou nd the cam p u s p rovid ing a range of stu d ent inform ation. Secu rity cam eras have been installed in the hallw ays. State-of-the art com p u ters are available, accessible and p rovid e internet access. computer/stu d ent ratio is 1:10. Internet connection is also p rovid ed in the cafeteria complemented by WI-FI capabilities around the campus. Teaching accom m od ation is varied and ap p rop riate to the need s of the cu rricu lu m . Lectu re room s are com fortable. Room s d iffer in size to accom m od ate class sizes. N ew lectu re room s are equ ip p ed w ith d ata p rojectors/d ata show s in ad d ition to whiteboards. Comfortable seats, with a foldable writing facility, are provided. 3.10 The recently established library has a contem p orary stock and the volu m e of books in Business and Management is appropriate to the curriculum. However, there appears to be no system atic p rocess for u p d ating the collection. Presently, this is lim ited to acqu isition of textbooks u p on requ ests by d ep artm ents. At least 2 textbooks are m ad e available for each cou rse/m od u le. The u niversity is in the p rocess of creating an electronic database of 7000 books and acquiring electronic periodicals. The library offers a com p rehensive card -based electronic loan system w ith back-up m anu al facilities. Differential loans are available to u nd ergrad u ates, grad u ates and QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 u niversity staff. The Panel consid ers the system to be w ell-established and effectively m anaged . Ad d itional com p u ter term inals are available in the library for stu d ent u se. Sitting sp ace is lim ited relative to the nu m ber of stu d ents. The stu d ent cafeteria provides enough seating space although other social space is at a premium. 3.12 The institu tion continu es to invest in infrastru ctu re. There are w ell-d evelop ed p lans to build a new cam p u s w hich w ill have the capacity to accommodate up to 4000 students. This reflects management’s confidence of growth opportunities. 3.13 In com ing to its conclu sion regard ing efficiency the Panel notes w ith ap p reciation the Established and exp erienced Facu lty com m itted to the d evelop m ent and su p p ort of students Teaching accom m od ation ap p rop riate to the need s of the cu rricu lu m w ith contemporary facilities including data shows and whiteboards. 3.14 In terms of improvement, the Panel recommends that the department should:
More exp licitly d ocu m ent the arrangem ents for stu d ent su p p ort and consid er the introduction of cohort analysis to assist in the evaluation of the programme Review entry requirements for students enrolling on English stream-modules Monitor w orkload s of acad em ic staff to ensu re that the cu rricu lu m and stu d ents can continue to be supported particularly in the light of projected growth. 3.15 Judgement
On balance, it is the judgment of the Panel that the programme satisfies the indicator
4. Indicator 3: Academic standards of the graduates
The graduates of the programme meet acceptable academic standards in comparison with equivalent programmes in Bahrain and worldwide. There is coop eration w ith the Ap p lied Science University of Jord an and the University of Mu ’tah for stand ard setting and research collaboration. This coop eration is d ocu m ented and signed agreem ents exist. In ad d ition, the Ministry of Ed u cation sets regulations that govern institu tions op erating in Bahrain. These requ irem ents are ad hered to and reflected in the u niversity regu lations. It is su ggested that the sp ecial need s of Bahrain are arrived at by soliciting view s of bu siness, em p loyers, society, stu d ents and grad u ates. The Panel w as u nable to confirm the form al p rocesses for the consideration of su ch view s. The p otential p ersp ective of em p loyers cou ld not be QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 corroborated in the absence of a meeting with the Panel. There is no form al m echanism for benchmarking standards against similar programmes in universities. There is only one cohort of grad u ates to d ate. The Panel w as im p ressed by the contribu tion m ad e by grad u ates to the d iscu ssions. Grad u ates ind icated that the staff at ASU is su p p ortive of stu d ents. Use of real life cases, field w ork and p ractical exam p les w ere cited by grad u ates as a m eans of extend ing their know led ge of the bu siness environm ent. Field work also p rovid ed an ad d itional op p ortu nity to enhance Confirm ing the relative level of grad u ate achievem ent is d ifficu lt in the absence of well-established learning ou tcom es. Programme aim s are clearly stated bu t the SER su ggests there is no form al p rocess to assess the extent to w hich these aim s are achieved . Review of grad e d istribu tion and confirm ation of stand ard s throu gh internal and external independent scrutiny does not occur. In term of assessm ent the Panel fou nd evid ence of an ap p rop riate range of stu d ent p erform ance across the Bu siness Ad m inistration programme. Differentiation of p erform ance at cou rse level is in p art verifiable. H ow ever, a sam p le of exam ination p ap ers p rovid es som e evid ence of testing basic know led ge qu estions in areas w hich lead to m em orization of w ork rather than a d isp lay of d evelop m ental, ap p lied or higher level skills. In com ing to its conclu sion regard ing the effectiveness of programme management and quality assurance, the Panel notes with appreciation the following: Com m itm ent of grad u ates to the institu tion and the p ositively exp ressed view s regarding teaching, learning and the provision of academic and related support. In terms of improvement the Panel recommends that the department should:
Institu te form al arrangem ents for the d evelop m ent of learning ou tcom es against which the academic standards of the programme can be specified and assessed Extend benchm arks beyond the u niversities in Jord an and d evelop a form al p rocess by w hich the need s of other external stakehold ers can be reflected in Initiate a form al p rocess relating to the d evelop m ent and evalu ation of grad e distributions supported by internal and external review. 4.7 Judgement
On balance the Review Panel conclu d es that the programme does not satisfy the
indicator on academic standards of the graduates.
QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 5. Indicator 4: Effectiveness of quality management and assurance
The arrangements in place for managing the programme, including quality assurance, give The natu re of programme m anagem ent and qu ality assu rance at ASU is inform ed by regu lation and p roced u res d evelop ed at u niversity level. The SER acknow led ges that a Qu ality Assu rance Com m ittee w as recently form ed and term s of reference d evelop ed . H ow ever, the Panel fou nd that there is lim ited aw areness am ong staff w ith regard to the term s of reference and the p otential contribu tion that the ou tcom es of su ch a Committee could make towards assuring quality at departmental or programme level. At d ep artm ental level, it is not clear to the Panel w here the op p ortu nity for form al review of the programme occurs. Staff members recognise that there is a requ irem ent to im p lem ent and form alize qu ality p rocesses across a range of areas. It is ap p reciated that these shou ld be em bed d ed w ithin the d ep artm ent and linked to established u niversity p roced u res. The SER acknow led ges that no su ch im p rovem ent plan has been d evelop ed . In the view of the Panel, the acknow led ged w eaknesses inclu d ed in the SER, and its over-reliance on the d ocu m entation of u niversity regu lations suggest formal quality processes are at an early stage of development and implementation. Stu d ents are offered an op p ortu nity to evalu ate cou rses. Inform ation is collected from stu d ent su rveys althou gh it w as not clear to the Panel how the ou tcom es of these su rveys are assessed and su bsequ ently u sed to inform improvements at programme level. The SER fu rther acknow led ges that the view s of other stakehold ers are not assessed on a regu lar or system atic basis. In the cou rse of the site visit it w as acknow led ged that im p rovem ents in the soliciting of su ch inform ation shou ld be initiated. This is a view endorsed by the Panel. Ensu ring the qu ality of p rovision requ ires a clear p rocess for effective staff d evelop m ent. It is acknow led ged in the SER that su ch a p rocess d oes not exist. Th e Panel recom m end s that an ap p rop riate p rocess of staff d evelop m ent and review be d evelop ed and im p lem ented as a m atter of u rgency. Acad em ic staff members acknow led ge su ch an initiative cou ld enhance teaching and learning, su p p ort the promotion of a quality culture and provide a basis for the review of performance. In com ing to its conclu sion regard ing the effectiveness of programme management and quality assurance, the Panel notes with appreciation the following: Establishment of a Quality Assurance Committee at University level Com m itm ent by d ep artm ental staff to the fu tu re d evelop m ent of a qu ality culture and an acknowledgement of current shortfalls. QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009 In terms of improvement the Panel recommends that the department should:
Institu te form al arrangem ents for the regu lar m onitoring and review of th e programme including the performance of students Benchm ark stand ard s of p erform ance/p rogression shou ld be institu ted at su bject and programme level. This shou ld com p lem ent p rop osals relating to the development of a strategy for teaching, learning and assessment Review the system of collecting inform ation on the view s of stu d ents and institu te a form al p rocess by w hich the ou tcom es of these su rveys can be analyzed and used to inform programme developments Initiate a form al p rocess by w hich the view s of grad u ates, em p loyers and other external stakehold ers can ascertained and u sed to inform programme Develop a formal process of staff development and review. 5.7 Judgement
On balance, the Review Panel conclu d es that the programme does not satisfy the
indicator for effectiveness of programme management and quality assurance.
Taking into accou nt the institu tion’s ow n self evalu ation rep ort, the evid ence gathered from the interview s and d ocu m entation m ad e available d u ring the site visit, the Review
Panel d raw s the follow ing conclu sion in accord ance w ith the HERU/QAAET Programme
Review Handbook, January 2009:
There is limited confidence in the Bachelor of Business Administration programme
offered by the Applied Science University.
QAAET Program Review Report, Applied Science University, 11-12 January 2009
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