3.1. Culture of quality and continuing improvement
Qualifications whose evaluation was carried out in 2007
From 1996, USC has taken part in all the calls for university quality plans promoted by the Universities Council. Within the framework of the PNECU (Spanish University Quality Assessment Plan), the II PCU (2nd University Quality Plan) and the ANECA-ACSUG (Institutional Assessment Programme), the USC evaluated the quality of 46 accredited qualifications (73% of the total number of official qualifications) belonging to several academic, scientific and professional fields.
The evaluation of the LLB in Law was carried out in the 2005-06 academic year and the European evaluation of the BSc in Veterinary began during 2006-07.
Public tender process for improvement actions
In 2005-06 and 2006-07 public tender processes, whose objective was to stimulate teaching quality improvement activities in the USC, €516,172 and €327,280 were allotted, respectively, to the carrying out of actions meaning a step forward in the building process of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Those actions were carried out throughout 2005-06 and 2006-07 academic years.
Agreements to boost departmental strategic planning
With the aim of developing a Strategic Plan, USC reached agreements with 24 departments by negotiating the selection of priority objectives and actions for the success of the planning carried out by the unit and allocating an additional contribution to finance the development of the activities which had been established in those agreements of mutual interest.
Quality management systems certifications in the academic field
The University of Santiago was awarded a certification issued by the Spanish Association of Normalisation and Certification (AENOR) for the Quality Management System of the Academic Area, which comprises the Academic Management Service and the Academic Programming Management Service, according to the UNE-ENISO 9001 standard.
In the Survey of general satisfaction among USC alumni, which was carried out in 2006, it was evaluated, among other aspects, the degree of users’ satisfaction with regard to the attention received in the different academic management processes.
European Diploma Supplement (EDS)
In 2006, the University of Santiago started to issue the European Diploma Supplement to all those graduates who requested it and who had finished their studies after September 2003. The EDS is an informative document, complementary to the university diploma and recognized in all countries of the European Higher Education Area, which describes the nature of the studies taken and explains the capacities and knowledge acquired by graduates.
The objective of the European Diploma Supplement, which is written in Spanish, Galician and English, is to provide information to third parties about the knowledge and capacities acquired by graduates, thus promoting national and international mobility as well as their employability. The EDS issued by USC is also regarded as a Europass Supplement, a European programme that makes training and working in Europe easier.
The new environment in which the university education is being developed, characterised by competitiveness, makes of the quality of training one of the main distinguishing elements. With the evaluation of training by the student body, we intend to improve lecturers’ and professors' teaching performance. The results of these surveys, together with other indicators, allow to establish processes and to make decisions leading to high-quality teaching.
Students’ satisfaction with the teaching received in 1st and 2nd cycle qualifications
In general terms, during 2005-06 and 2006-07 academic years, students’ appraisal with regard to their lecturers and professors remained the same. In the 2006-07 academic year, the trend to provide a more positive evaluation in advanced courses was broken, although fifth year students were still, by far, the ones who evaluated their lecturers and professors more positively.
In the 2005-06 academic year, there was a slight increase in all main areas compared to the previous year, reproducing the overall behaviour, except in Experimental Sciences. In 2006-07, the same trend continued although Humanities decreased slightly with regard to the previous academic year. As in previous years, the students of Humanities and Technical Sciences stood out as the ones who gave higher and lower marks to their lecturers and professors respectively (3.64 compared to 3.22 in 2005-06 and 3.60 compared to 3.23 in 2006-07).
In general terms, and following the trend of the previous academic years, the item referred to the attention received during tutorial sessions was the more positively valued, having increased the percentage of students who made use of them (36% in 2005-06 and a little more than 39% in 2006-07, compared to 35.6% registered during 2004-05). The item referred to the encouragement of students’ personal work by the teaching staff was still the least valued.
Student body’s satisfaction with postgraduate courses
Eighteen master’s courses belonging to the USC and eight specialist courses were evaluated during 2005-06 and seventeen master’s courses and six specialist courses belonging to the USC were evaluated during 2006-07, which represented 41.9% and 42.6% of the total offered by the USC, respectively. The percentage of answers, measured as "nº of questionnaires/nº of registered students”, increased from 70.5% in 2005-06 to 77.1% in 2006-07.
The student body’s satisfaction was rather high, since 70.6% of postgraduate students in 2005-06 and 77.2% in 2006-07 stated that they would recommend their courses to other people.
Student body’s satisfaction with official postgraduate programmes
Of the nine official postgraduate programmes introduced in 2006-2007, the student body's satisfaction was evaluated in eight of them registering an average mark of 3.61, which exceeded the average mark obtained by 1st and 2nd cycle qualifications.
Student body’s satisfaction with PhD programmes
Forty-four and twenty-nine PhD programmes were evaluated during 2005-06 and 2006-07 respectively, representing 60% and 43% of the total programmes offered by the USC during that period.
The degree of satisfaction shown by the students with the education received was very high, since 84.8%, during 2005-06, and 91.1%, during 2006-07, stated that they would choose the same PhD programme again. Students’ appraisals shown in the different questionnaire items follow an upward trend and keep the same pattern with regard to the most and least valued aspects that in previous academic years. As in postgraduate courses, when we compare both academic years it is necessary to take into account that the courses evaluated might not be the same.
Lecturers’ and professors’ opinion on teaching
The goal of this survey is to get to know the aspects related to the teaching staff relation to students, their motivation to teach a specific subject, the resources they have and also to reveal if any kind of complementary training would be necessary in the future.