INTERNAL GUARANTEE SYSTEM OF DOCTORATE STUDIES QUALITY
For assuring the quality in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the quality system of the Faculty takes as a reference the European standards and guidelines elaborated by the ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), adopted by European ministers of education in Bergen (2005). It also follows the guidelines from the Agency for the Quality of the Catalan University System (AQU Catalonia), the National Agency for the Quality Evaluation and Accreditation (ANECA) and the Galician Agency for the Quality of University Studies (ACSUG) in the AUDIT program (www.aqu.cat/universitats/audit/index.html), fulfilling the requirements of the regulations laid down in the by-law from de the Ministry of Education and Science.
The quality system of the Faculty integrates all the activities linked to the guarantee of the quality of its degrees and master's degrees, and uses the System for the Internal Quality Assurance (SAIQU) as an instrument that assures the achievement of the formative objectives either in the stage of learning design and in the stage of continuous monitoring. Furthermore, the SAIGU frame, a system for assuring the quality of the PhD students is deployed.
The SAIQU, certified by the AQU Catalonia in the AUDIT program framework, is deployed in all UB centers, and it's based in three cruxes: planning and documentation of the system, management organization based in processes and the introduction of accountability by elaborating annual reports of the Center's quality. These cruxes reflect the output of the systematic analysis to improve its studies.
2. The reach of the internal guarantee system of doctorate studies quality
The development of the internal guarantee system of doctorate studies quality from the UB starts in a common framework that is the Centre's SAIQU which takes into consideration the following criteria:
-Politics and quality objectives
The centre consolidates a culture of quality based in quality politics and objectives known and publicly accessible, and in the persons charged of the SAIQU from the academic curriculum.
- Planning of the academic offer
The centre provides mechanisms that allow keeping and updating its formative offer, by developing methodologies to approve, control, evaluate and improve periodically the quality of its studies. Additionally, these mechanisms plan the eventual suspension of the degree and the attention to suggestions and claims.
- Teaching development and other actions focused on the students
The centre is provided of methods that allow checking if the actions undertaken, including the mobility, are aimed to help the student's learning.
- Teaching and research staff and Services and administrative staff
The centre is provided of mechanisms that assure that the access, management and training of, on the one hand, its teaching and research staff, and in the other hand, the administrative and service staff, is done with the right guarantee in order to fulfil their own function.
- Services and material resources
The centre is able to design, manage and improve its own services and material resources for the adequate student's learning development
- Training outcomes
There are methods that allows the centre to guarantee that decision making and quality improvement of the studies weigh up, analyse and use the outcomes from the learning, labour insertion and satisfaction of different groups of interest.
- Public information
The centre guarantees the periodic publication of updated information related to all degrees and programs.
3. Organ, unit or person charged of the quality management system
According to the 46 th Article from its statute, the University of Barcelona has a Politics and Quality Agency (www.ub.edu/agenciaqualitat/inform_general/objectius.html), approved by the Government Council in October 2009.
The Agency, as a consultative and supervisor organ, has the following functions: the management coordination of the quality of its entire training offer (degrees, master's degrees, PhD and continuous training), the monitoring of the doctorate studies and its evaluation.
Until the PhD studies aren't completely adapted to the Royal Decree 99/2011 of the Doctorate, a Doctorate Committee will be created for each study, composed of 3 members, one of which must be the coordinator of the doctorate studies and acts as the president. This committee is the responsible for monitoring and guarantying the quality –according to protocols from the UB Politics and Quality Agency- , analyzing the outcomes, suggesting options to improve derived of these analyses, and informing the Doctorate Committee of the centre annually.
The Doctorate Committee, representative of the Government Council from the University of Barcelona, is in charge of managing the right coordination among all the committees of the doctorate studies and the different organs of decision to which the responsibilities are delegated, either in the centre/department or in the University; it also analyzes the report made by the UB Politics and Quality Agency, and does the monitoring of the Doctorate studies in order to make the necessary improvements.
The quality committee from the Faculty guarantees the implementation and effectiveness of the quality system of the Faculty.
This committee, together with the agents that have been defined in the quality system, works in coordination and synchronization about the design and deployment of the quality system by elaborating an annual report and following up the strategic planning with the following objectives:
• To guarantee the valuation, analysis and use of the outcomes from the learning, labor insertion and satisfaction of the different groups of interest for taking decisions and the continuous improvement of the quality of the studies offered by the Faculty.
• To supervise the effective execution of the studies and informing the society about the their quality.
• To guarantee that in any moment the studies are in conditions to pass successfully the process of monitoring and accreditation by external agencies, as it is established in the Spanish regulations.
4. Mechanisms in the Doctorate Program that allow having information related to its own development, to mobility programs and its outcomes
The UB Politics and Quality Agency elaborates satisfaction surveys which are answered by PhD students during the training and research process:
• To students about to have the DEA (Advanced Studies Diploma)
• To students with Master Degree
• To students who are taking the research period of the doctorate studies.
All the process for the management of complaints, reclaims and suggestions is established in a protocol of action elaborated by the Centre Administration and approved by its board.
Basic elements of the protocol of action:
• All complaints, reclaims and suggestions are managed by the Secretary of Students and Teaching, who channels the demands to the persons or organs who should give an answer.
• This answer should be sent to the Secretary of Students and teaching, charged of processing the response to the applicant, along with a copy to the affected organ
If the centre has the competence to answer the complaints and claims received, the Secretary of Students and teaching sent the to the competent organs for its knowledge, and the applicant will be informed that his/her demand has been derived to the corresponding organ.
Annually, the deanship and the administration of the centre received a list of the complaints, claims and suggestions submitted, including the answers, and a report from each of the units involved with the actions put into practice to correct the detected deficiencies.
Moreover, following the agreement between the AQU Catalunya and social councils of the seven public universities in Catalonia , a study of the employability of the Doctorates from the Catalan University System is carried out (www.aqu.cat/insercio/estudi_2008_doctors_es.html).
The results from the surveys are part of the institutional valuation of the doctorate studies and are sent to the Doctorate Committee for an analysis aimed to improve the program.
There are different mechanisms to valuate the scientific outcomes from PhD Students, for instance, an institutional database for registering the thesis in order to keep updated their curriculum or the creation of an award of the University Social Board for the best scientific works derived of a doctoral thesis read in the UB, with the aim of recognizing the commitment and dedication to study and research of the students, and encouraging scientific publications and knowledge transference.
5. Mechanisms for implementing actions and improvements derived from decisions taken.
The SAIQU mechanisms guarantee that the results from different surveys and other procedures are analyzed by the government organs of the Faculty to improve, if necessary, the aspects mentioned above. The Doctorate Committee and the Quality Committee of the Faculty are charged of planning diverse actions to improve doctorate studies.