The University welcomes and positively uses both national and international evaluation and quality accreditation for continuous improvement.
- Accreditation and Evaluation Board
According to the Law on Higher Education, is overseen by the Accreditation and the Evaluation Board. The Accreditation and the Evaluation Board is an independent body. Its duties are to confirm that the criteria for establishing a higher education institution are met and that the requirements for organizing studies in all three cycles are fulfilled. It analyzes, approves, confirms and acknowledges new study programs within an authorization framework based on principles of professionalism and accountability. This body has responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the quality of higher education activities in institutions which are accredited and authorized.
Other relevant activities and mechanisms through which the quality of higher education are developed and maintained are based on law and acts of the evaluating bodies.
All study programs at South East European University are established developed and reviewed using University wide guidelines and are accredited by the Accreditation and the Evaluation Board.
- Higher Education Ministry Inspection
Yet another regular practice that contributes substantially to continuous improvement and attaining high standards in quality assurance, in regard to conformity to law requirements, are the Ministry inspections.
The Ministry conducts these inspections annually, usually at the beginning of the academic year, to ensure universities are conducting business in accordance with the Law on higher education and other governmental policies and regulations.
The usual checks and scrutiny of the Ministry inspection focus their attention on several aspects:
- the checking of operations documentation of the institution in terms of whether licenses exist from the Ministry and the Court;
- scrutinizing accredited study programmes and reconciling them with Decisions from the Ministry to operate these study programmes;
- scrutinizing the engaged academic staff across all study programmes to make sure the University complies to the Law and other regulations;
- the numbers of students (freshmen) enrolled in the corresponding academic year and if these numbers correspond to – do not exceed – the numbers published in the official advert for enrolling freshmen.
After these visits the Inspection usually compiles a report pointing out the issues to be improved or taken care of. So far, these inspections conducted by the Ministry have proved very instrumental in improving the overall work of the University in line with the legal framework of the Republic of Macedonia.
- The Ranking of Macedonian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)-ShanghaiRanking
The Ranking of Macedonian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is commissioned by Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Macedonia, this was initiated from 2011. Twenty qualified HEIs are included in the ranking. The ranking uses around 21 indicators of academic performance and competitiveness, covering major mission aspects of HEIs such as teaching, research and social service. The ranking is expected to contribute to the transparency of quality and efficiency of Macedonian HEIs.
- European Universities Association (EUA)
In 1993, after two conferences on the theme of Quality and Evaluation, organized by the Committee of the CRE (now the EUA, the Association of European Universities), they decided to offer member universities, which today exceed 800, the possibility of being evaluated so that their strengths and weaknesses in the area of institutional and quality management might be assessed. EUA evaluations are a tool to assist University leaders in their efforts to improve their management and to promote the universities’ capacity for change. The cornerstone of the evaluation is the university’s self-evaluation, which allows the university staff, as a team, to understand their institution’s strengths and weaknesses.
The EUA expects that the growing number of its institutional evaluations contributes to the promotion of a culture of quality among its members, and to the dissemination of examples of effective strategic management among the European universities.
The European University Association Institutional Evaluation Programme began 16 years ago, and has evaluated 250 higher education institutions in 39 countries. South East European University (SEEU) is the third university in Macedonia that EUA has been asked to evaluate. The University was evaluated by the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) in the summer and autumn of 2004, andthe evaluation report was issued in February 2005. The follow-up evaluation took place inMay 2009. The two EUA external evaluation reports provided positive feedback and support which the University has used actively in developing quality programs and systems.
- International Standards for Organization (ISO 9001/2008)
South East European University has developed a quality management system (QMS) in accordance with ISO 9001:2008, and has been successfully certified for the last three years.
ISO 9001:2008 is the standardfor a quality management systemregardless of what the organization does, its size, or whether it is private, or public. It is the only standard in the ISO family for which organizations can be certified, although certification is not a compulsory requirementof the standard.
The QMS of the University is audited annually, internally by the audit team and externally by an independent quality system certification body. This external audit verifies that we are managing our processes effectively and that we have effective control of our activities.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developerand publisher of International Standardsand has a networkof 161 countries,one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. It is anon-governmental organizationthat forms a bridge between the public and private sectors.
Therefore, ISO enables a consensusto be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of societyand has enabled the University to strengthen its efficient functioning through continuous improvement, evaluation and promotion of a total quality culture.
- Quality Champion
The Quality Champion, at least twice a year, audits and reviews the Quality Assurance (QA) processes and developments within each faculty/centre/department, in liaison with the Quality Assurance and the Management Commission (QAMC) and the Quality Assurance Teams (QATs). In addition, he makes recommendations for future quality developments. The QC also helps to increase awareness of the quality management process at all levels of the institution. The ‘Quality Champion’ reports directly to the QAMC and the Executive Management Team on the quality management systems in operation and on areas for improvement and development.
- Observation of learning and teaching
One of the most significant factors in ensuring that we are continuously improving and developing what we are providing to students is the quality of our teaching. There is a great deal of good teaching and learning within the University. We aim to ensure that we are sharing good practice and supporting staff in the development of skills and methodology. The University also requires data at institutional level in order to measure and improve this.
Therefore, the University has an annual observation scheme in order to:
- support the University’s strategic aim of continuous improvement and development of learning and teaching
- provide evidence of quality assurance at Faculty and University level
- ensure that the students’ learning experience is of the highest quality across each Faculty
- acknowledge excellent practice and facilitate the sharing of good practice across each Faculty and the University
- support continuous, individual staff development
- inform other relevant processes, specifically, the annual self-evaluation process and the allocation of staff bonuses
- ensure that learning and teaching is inclusive and addresses the University’s commitment to equality of opportunity
Every member of the teaching staff are observed by trained observers either from the Faculty or our central team. They receive advice before the class and personal feedback with a written report afterwards. Summary reports are circulated twice yearly to all staff and students. In addition, specific reports for each Faculty/Centre are provided as well as relevant training opportunities.
- Student Evaluation
In order to give students the opportunity to evaluation academic staff, courses and the effectiveness of the administrative services and facilities, students at SEEU complete an annual Evaluation Survey. This is implemented in a confidential and anonymous way so that we receive honest and constructive comments to help us improve.
Results of the survey are given to each academic member of staff and administrative department, and summaries are made available at Faculty/Centre and University level for analysis and use. Individual results are used as part of the Staff Evaluation Procedure. The results are also presented to the Senate and University Board annually and are incorporated into departmental Action Plans. There is also a Students’ Complaints Procedure which may be used for more immediate issues or areas of concern.
- Staff Evaluation
The University recognises that staff are a key resource and aims to acknowledge achievement, support continuous development and manage individual and overall performance. Therefore, there is an annual process of evaluation for both academic and administrative staff which meets these aims and provides information for the processes of contract renewal and promotion. The procedure utilises other evaluative mechanisms and evidence, for example, success data, teaching observation and student evaluation. It also links to other HR policies such as Disciplinary and Competency. Also, part of the evaluation is an assessment of compliance with the Universities’ policies and procedures. The criteria are set out in the Human Resource Strategy and completion of this evaluation is obligatory.
The process is designed to be used actively by Faculty, Centre and Departmental leaders in discussing performance with staff and setting targets, supporting new goals and identifying professional development.
In addition, the University’s Ranking and Remuneration Policy provides for the possibility of financial reward according to agreed criteria for high individual performance. Finally, there is an annual Award scheme with a competitive financial prize for the best project in the scholarship of learning and teaching.
- Internal audit of Quality Management System
The University based on the ISO 9001:2008, point 8.2.2, conducts internal audit annually to determine whether the quality management system (QMS)
- Conforms the planned arrangements, to the requirements (see 7.1) of the ISO 9001:2008 and to the QMS requirements established by the University, and
- Is effectively implemented and maintained
A documented procedure is established were we have defined the responsibilities and requirements for planning and conducting audits, establishing records and reporting results. If there are detected nonconformities the Dir/Heads of the respective audited area will take any necessary corrective action for which they report in the Quality Team meetings by handing out the action plans with the progressive reports to the Quality Manager.
- Internal Finance Audit
Internal Audit at SEEU is an independent, objective assurance, and consulting activity to add value and improve organization’s operations. Also helping University to accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.
Internal audit provide opinion, through ensuring that University’s assets are being safeguarded, that operations are conducted effectively, efficiently and economically in accordance with University policies, regulations and laws and that records and reports are reliable and accurate.
The audit process is similar for most engagements and normally consists of following stages: Planning, Fieldwork and Reporting.
- Planning - Internal Audit produces an annual audit schedule which outlines the likely areas of the activity for the coming year. The Annual Internal Audit Plan is approved by the University’s Audit and Risk Management Committee. The internal Auditor normally contacts the Department that will be audited at least seven days prior to the scheduled start date of the audit. An initial meeting is arranged in order to establish some background knowledge about the area being reviewed and discuss the scope and timing of the planned audit work. This is an opportunity to provide input to the scope of the audit, particularly if there are any issues or areas of special concern that have been identified.
- Fieldwork- The fieldwork concentrates on formal communications. It is during this phase that the auditor determines whether the controls identified during the preliminary review are operating properly and in the manner described by the department. The audit will normally involve discussions with key staff and a review of documentation to gain a clear understanding of systems and processes. Fieldwork will normally be scheduled to fit in as conveniently as possible for the department being audited, whilst allowing for the auditor to complete the audit. The Auditor is open with the staff of the departments about issues identified through the work as the audit progresses. This aspect of the audit is important as managers are well placed to offer insights and work with the auditor to determine the best ways of resolving any issues that arise.
- Reporting-After the fieldwork a draft report and summary of recommendations is prepared and circulated to the audited department. The Auditor will meet with the departments head to discuss the findings and related recommendations. This meeting provides an opportunity to explain the issues arising from the review and to consider any outstanding queries. The meeting also helps to ensure that any possible misunderstandings are resolved. If any changes to the draft report are agreed during the meeting these will be incorporated into the final report. The audited department will also be asked to provide a written response to any recommendations. These responses will be formally recorded on the Summary of Recommendations.
The final report is prepared and circulated to audited department, Rector and the Audit and Risk Management Committee.