Letter: Quality refrain creates discord

一月 18, 2002

Let us extend Peter Williams's analogy between a university department and an orchestra ("Define 'quality', then we'll talk 'assurance'", THES , January 11).

Imagine how the Quality Assurance Agency would implement an Arts Council contract to assure the quality of orchestras: orchestras would have to publish a listening and performing strategy and document rehearsal practices and instrument acquisition. Their programmes would have to emerge from a fully documented internal process, with all but tiny changes validated by a report from a senior member of another orchestra. Jargon-ridden programme notes would explain that even if audiences thought they had come for the music, this was a mere vehicle for developing "generic" listening skills. None of this would assure or improve quality, let alone foster innovation.

If academics want the pleasures of self-employment with a regular salary, as Williams claims, public-service monitoring bodies want something more: the pleasures of a clerical pulpit together with decent pay and the assurance that they will not have to practise what they preach - no accountability, transparency or cost-benefit analysis. Above all, no reflective practice.

The challenge of quality in higher education is to get beyond box-ticking, newspeak, formal compliance and bureaucratic overload. The QAA is not going to take us there.

Tim Reuter



  • 注册是免费的,而且十分便捷
  • 注册成功后,您每月可免费阅读3篇文章
  • 订阅我们的邮件
Please 登录 or 注册 to read this article.