Supporting Quality Teaching in Higher Education – Phase 2


Download the new quality teaching guide for higher education institutions


Benefits for the participating institutionAnalytical focusWhat is a case study?
How to select quality teaching initiatives
Outputs of the reviewParticipating institutions
Conducting institutional reviews of quality teaching | Contact


Following the report on the quality of teaching in higher education (phase 1 of the project), IMHE introduced a second phase that aimed at helping institutions explore their institutional engagement into quality teaching through individual reviews. Through dialogue and close partnership with the institutions, Phase two:

• Developed and analysed current quality-led initiatives on teaching improvement

• Investigated the perception of faculty and students towards supporting quality teaching initiatives

• Further explored the link between teaching and learning

• Investigated the ways to evaluate the impact of teaching


Benefits for the participating institution

• Stimulate and enhance internal reflection
• Gain insights from an external viewpoint on the progress of institutional engagement in quality teaching
• Identify key factors in developing further perspectives
• Explore the variety of viewpoints within the institution
• Share experiences with other institutions and showcase successful teaching approaches in an international context


Analytical focus

The review focussed on the exploration of the institution-wide support to enhance, reward and evaluate the quality teaching.  The review is resolutely focussed on the institutional capacity to design, implement and monitor quality support.

Each review was structured around core questions, which allowed emphasis on aspects that pertain to unique institutional contex. The core questions are :

• How is Quality Teaching conceptualised within the institution?
• How is quality teaching articulated in synergy with other institutional policies and strategies?
• What is the perceived value-added of supporting Quality Teaching and what level of confidence can be put in the evaluation of related impacts?
• To what extent is the institution able to diffuse and sustain Quality Teaching within the institution ?
• How does the institution ascertain the impact of teaching and learning?
• How are the students involved in supporting Quality Teaching within the institution?


What is a case study?







The review focussed on a selection of specific actions (up to 3), classified as Quality Teaching initiatives.  Each comprised a case study. The case study (-ies) of the Quality Teaching initiatives were analysed in their context.


The case study is a method of holistic analysis applied to complex situations and is used in this case to understand reactions, behaviours and effects of the initiative – through the structures the organisation and the persons involved- as a frame of reference. A case study allows a detailed examination of the actual involvement into quality teaching by investigating the “how” and the “why” questions.


The case study can include examination of documents and statistical data. Other data sources will include primarily interviews and direct observations, etc., with a view to gleaning facts, viewpoints, opinions and perceptions, and suggestions.


The triangulation of the data must also be made in the form of a comparison of information to check its coherence. The notion of context (international, national and regional environment in which the institution operates) encompasses all the factors which could affect the case studied (adapted from European Commission-MEANS-Eureval-C3E, see further reading).
The analysis of each Quality Teaching initiative went through the exploration of its inclusion into a wider context (influence of international trends and setting, of the national context, specificities of the regional area surrounding the institution), in relation with the institutional distinctive features, mission and strategy. Each initiative was investigated under a distinct angle and enriched by diverse viewpoints from decision-makers (e.g. deans, VPs for academic affairs), operators (e.g. quality units, deans, programme leaders, initiators of quality improvement, internal auditors…) and beneficiaries (primarily faculty and students). Other stakeholders worth interviewing are, for example, quality agencies or employers.


The Quality Teaching initiatives covered one or more elements such as in-service courses for faculty, programme design workshops, programme monitoring, programme evaluation, support to pedagogy enhancement, support to teaching and learning environment (libraries, computing facilities, virtual learning environment…), support to organisation, management of programmes at teachers level at department or institutional level, support to students (e.g., counselling service, career advice, mentoring, students associations…), student evaluation (i.e., evaluation, achieved by the students, of the programmes or of their learning experience or of the learning environment), support to student learning (initiatives helping the students to work efficiently).


Although the review targetted the quality teaching support, some Quality Teaching initiatives referred to a student-focused support like learning environment or tutorship. Most initiatives aimed at improving the conditions for better learning have an impact on the teaching delivery and the competences of the faculty and vice-versa.


How to select the quality teaching initiative (-s)?

An on-going initiative is likely to be diffused and to generate tangibles impacts, as well as being perceived and judged in a particular way within the institution. A newly established initiative might not be appropriate for inclusion in the set of initiatives.
Institutions can select an initiative, based on criteria listed below (criteria might be combined and extended):

• A successful initiative
• A bottom-up or a top-down initiative that has been implemented locally
• A wide-spread initiative or one developed within a department or at the programme level
• An initiative deriving from a national-wide policy or recommendation from QA agency or developed in the national or regional schemes
• A costly initiative or an initiative requiring no funding but voluntary investment
• An initiative aimed at enhancing innovation or leading up to change or cultural evolvement
• An initiative whose implementation has provoked internal debates and resistance.
• An initiative targeting specific audiences and beneficiaries (e.g., new faculty, part-time students)
• An institution-wide policy that has encountered an obvious decline and disregard.


Outputs of the review

Fostering Quality Teaching in Higher Education:Policies and Practices - An IMHE Guide for Higher Education Institutions
• Questionnaire completed by the institution (not to be publicly released)
• Reflective paper

Participating institutions

  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa
  • Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Hungary 
  • Laurea University, Finland
  • State University – Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation
  • Universidad Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil
  • Universidad Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Spain
  • Universidade Catolica Portuguesa (UCP), Portugal
  • Université Laval, Canada
  • University of Veracruzana, Mexico
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
  • University of Catania, Italy 



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