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Title: The influences of teaching quality assurance in higher education : a comparative study between England and China
Author: Tao , Chong
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Since the 1980s, the external social, economic, cultural, and political environments that higher education institutions face in many countries have undergone rapid change (Vidovich, 2002). For national governments, the intense pressure of global competition between universities, the rapid expansion of higher education and declining resources raise the demand for more effectiveness and efficiency in the activities of HEIs. This has caused "radical reform" or "structural readjustment" in the higher education sector. HEIs are required to be more accountable for the quality of their provision. Hence, quality assurance mechanisms become prevalent in many countries. This research seeks to explore how the mechanisms for ensuring quality assurance in teaching have influences on university management and academic work, as well as the extent to which it can be argued that they have changed the culture of teaching and learning in two national contexts: China and England. These two national contexts demonstrate major changes, which have been made or are being/made over the last ten years. Data are drawn from interviews with 40 academics and administrators, across the two countries, as well as information gained from official documentation and websites. Case studies from four Schools of Business have been used to investigate similarities and differences between one research-intensive and one teaching-intensive university in both countries. The ideas of how HEIs and academics respond to change have been drawn on by employing a theoretical model to analyse the influences of quality assurance mechanisms across the different types of universities. Changes to academic identity and academics' work are examined, as well as the extent to which the institutional management of teaching quality reflects each other. The 'findings are discussed in relation to the differing policy contexts within the two countries. The findings of the study indicate that the quality assurance mechanisms to some extent contribute to the improvement of teaching quality through some basic conditions for good teaching and learning; however, the actual effects of quality assurance systems on improving quality of teaching and learning are limited, The argument is that high teaching quality is mainly based on intrinsic factors such as academics' commitment and enthusiasm for teaching and subject knowledge, and their professional accountability. With respect to the influences of quality assurance mechanisms on university management, Bauer and Henkel (1997) deduce that institutions often act as mediators between academics, outside pressures, and agencies in order to protect shared interests and values whilst avoiding the dangers of stasis. Therefore, a well-developed institutional culture and infrastructure of self-regulation is much more critical than the external-exerted national quality assurance system (Kells, 1999). Quality can only be improved with the recognition of the role academics play as active agents rather than passive recipients.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available