The Role of Quality Champions in Program Development in Higher Education
In Ghanaian higher education institutions, as with most other West African countries, academic programme development and the discussion about learning objectives and outcomes, teaching and learning strategies, assessment methods are recognized to be within the purview of lecturers: They are the ‘experts’ when it comes to their subject area and that is why they develop and design study programmes and their curricula. A quality champion, on the other hand, is considered to have an administrative role with little or no obvious locus in what happens to the courses students undertake within the University. Usually, they may have limited subject area expertise and may not be able to contribute to content specific requirements for an academic programme. When looked at from an academic angle, one might think that in this case quality champions are not qualified to support and give advice to faculties and lecturers with regard to programme development at all. However, they have some skills necessary for the organization and enhancement of these academic programmes Quality champions play a key role by collecting, collating and making relevant data. They serve as the nodal agents in bringing together various authorities to discuss and agree on possible approaches with regard to programme structure and assignment strategies. Using the relevant internal quality assurance processes within the institutions, quality champions can deploy the different functions in programme and curriculum development and support and facilitate the process. Due to their specialized training and orientation, quality champions are able to deal with the both laid back and active/ creative attitudes of stakeholders and help to bring together such different attitudes and mindsets when it comes to programme development or review. They can also support and develop communication
processes and participation of the different stakeholder groups to ensure all concerns are
adequately addressed. They can then inform the Course Team about existing internal and external frameworks, conditions and decision-making processes which are relevant for the teaching and learning of the subject matter. This includes giving advice on activities and workflows that will lead to the desired results/outcomes of a programme.
In summary, a quality champion can give lecturers the tools which they need to deal with current requirements and challenges with regard to their courses. Indeed, there is a wide range of support for teaching and learning that a quality champion can contribute and support lecturers, faculties as well as the administration body with. The onus lies on Heads of Academic Departments and Deans of Faculties to take advantage of the Quality Champions and utilize their expertise in supporting curriculum development and review.
Yaa Essah Armah (Coordinator/ Quality Promotion
and Assurance, Graduate School)
Source: Randhahn and Niedermeier
(2015) Quality Assurance in Teaching and
Learning, Module notes on Train IQA
Workshop- Abuja/ Nigeria.