Universities Association of Lebanon
Quality Assurance Committee
QUALITY STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES
Mission, Vision and Goals l Planning and Assessment l Organization, Governance and Management l Teaching and Learning l Students l Research l Human Resources l General Resources l Public Disclosure and Integrity
Mission, Vision and Goals
Planning and Assessment
Organization, Governance and
Teaching and Learning
Public Disclosure and Intergrity
Since its founding, the Universities Association of Lebanon UAOLB recognized that its most important objective in raising the level of higher education is directly linked to striving towards and ensuring a quality education. Therefore, the Association organized its first conference on Quality Assurance and created, after its success, a permanent Quality Assurance Committee.
The Quality Standards and Guidelines Handbook elaborated by the Quality Assurance Committee based on thorough research and on quality standards and guidelines adopted in various international institutions and accreditation organizations, and adapted to the Lebanese context to be on par with the pertaining Lebanese laws and regulations, provides an important reference for universities, that would help them not only enhance their standing as higher education institutions, but also raise the level of higher education in Lebanon in general.
We are proud today to offer this Handbook to all Lebanese universities; and here, we would like to take the opportunity to thank our substantial partner, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, in particular Dr. Ahmad Al Jammal, the Director General of Higher Education, who has spared no effort in supporting the Association’s activities since its founding.
We would like also to thank the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) (Francophone University Association) for its continuous support. A special word of thanks goes to the Chair of the Quality Assurance Committee at the Universities Association of Lebanon, Dr. Georges Yahchouchi (Holy Spirit University of Kaslik), and to the members of the Committee: Dr. Sobhi Abou Chahine (Beirut Arab University),Dr.Bassam Hijazi(Jinan University),Dr.Diane Naufal(Lebanese American University), Dr. Nada Moghaizel Nasr (Saint Joseph University), Dr. Georges Nehme (Antonine University), Dr. Abdul Menhem Kobeissi (Islamic University of Lebanon), Fr. Dr. Dominique Labaki (La Sagesse University), Dr. Maha Nehme (Holy Family University), Dr. Jean Issa (Middle East University), Dr. Saadallah Halimi (Al Manar University), Dr. Arz Wehbe (Lebanese Canadian University), Dr. Haifa Abou Harash (Global University) who volunteered to collaborate and complete this Handbook in the best possible manner.
After having set clear objectives, the Association is witnessing a great achievement that will mark the process of raising the level of higher education in Lebanon. We are striving to achieve all the objectives of the Universities Association of Lebanon, with the constant support of the Presidents of universities that adhered to the Association along with their highly qualified experts in various fields.
Universities Association of Lebanon, Hazmieh February 12, 2018
Acting President of the Universities Association of Lebanon
Dr. Tarek Na’was
The Quality Standards and Guidelines QSG prepared and debated by the Quality Assurance Committee of the Universities Association of Lebanon UAOLB aim at supporting university leaders in the enhancement of institutional governance, planning and management. The QSG provide faculty members and administrative staff with quality benchmarks to sustain the achievement of their academic and administrative objectives.
Policy makers in Lebanese higher education may also find the QSG a comprehensive reference on quality standards adapted to the Lebanese diversified higher educational system and legal environment.
The development of the QSG was based on extensive review of standards of international institutions and accrediting agencies and in line with the standards defined in the project law of creating “The Lebanese Quality Assurance Board” in addition to other best practices adopted by Lebanese universities, mainly:
> standards of US regional accreditation agencies
> standards of European accreditation agencies
> standards developed in Lebanese projects funded by Tempus and Erasmus+
The proposed standards and guidelines were debated and agreed on by delegates of sixteen Lebanese universities.
The QSG cover ten areas:
- Area 1: Mission, Vision and Goals
- Area 2: Planning and Assessment
- Area 3: Organization, Governance and Management
- Area 4: Teaching and Learning
- Area 5: Students
- Area 6: Research
- Area 7: Human Resources
- Area 8: Financial Resources
- Area 9: General Resources
- Area 10: Public Disclosure and Integrity
The QSG are developed from a stakeholder’s perspective for the continuous enhancement of the higher Education quality and the wellbeing of the university community.
Area 1 Mission, Vision and Goals
- The higher education institution distinguishes itself by a unique mission and vision that serve its educational and non-educational goals, echo both the institution’s traditions and future vision, and identify the students and communities it wishes to serve. The mission governs operations and guides the establishment of academic curricula and programs. The mission statement is available in the appropriate publications and is accessible on the institution’s website.
- The mission statement is comprehensive, formally adopted and approved by the governing board and communicated to the institution’s stakeholders. The mission embraces the institution’s policies and procedures which are widely understood by itsstakeholders.
- Mission and goals are developed and reviewed by the institution with the participation of the governing body and other stakeholders (governing board, administration, faculty, staff, students, Alumni…).
Area 2 Planning and Assessment
- Planning and assessment are systematic, comprehensive, integrated, and They involve the institution’s stakeholders who are responsible for achieving its mission, goals and objectives.
- Institutional decision-making, particularly the allocation of resources, is consistent with planningpriorities.
- Planning and assessment tasks are supported by institutional research functions, quality assurance mechanisms, administrative structures and adequateresources.
- Planning and assessment efforts are manifested by systematic data collection, relevant and reliable information assembly and documentation of policies and processes, with emphasis on the academic program to improve institutional effectiveness. An effective evaluation combines both quantitative and qualitative methods used by the institution to address its unique circumstances.
- The institution records the implementation of its planning policies and tracks their level of success through performance indicators.
- The results of ongoing planning and assessment are regularly conveyed to the appropriate institutional constituencies for the purpose of continuousimprovement.
Area 3 Organization, Governance and Management
- The authority, responsibilities and relationships among the governing board (BOT), administration, faculty and staff are clearly defined in the institutions bylaws or equivalent documents and in organizational charts that show the working order and communication channels in the institution.
- The University has a governing board (Board of Trustees or its equivalent) that is responsible for the institutions quality and integrity. Its legal authority and operating control over the institution are clearly defined within the institution’s constitution and bylaws.
- The institution’s system of governance involves the participation of all stakeholders as seen appropriate.
- The institution’s decision-making processes, policies and procedures are clearly defined and articulate the respective roles of the different stakeholder groups and how they are integrated into the decision making process to support the institution’s effectivenessefforts.
- The governing board has internal bylaws defining its structures and functions to fulfil their responsibility of overseeing the institution’s achievement of its mission and educational purposes in a manner free from conflict of
- The governing board of the institution is comprised of a sufficient number of members reflecting a wide public interest and areas of competence needed to fulfil its responsibilities in supporting the institution to achieve its mission and educationalpurposes.
- The governing board ensures that the institution’s mission is kept current and is aligned with public In the case of a multi-campus institution, the board ensures the alignment of each campus’s mission with the institution’s vision and public interests.
- The governing board approves and reviews the institution’s institutional policies, monitors its fiscal integrity and preserves and protects its assets, approves and monitors its strategic plan and major new initiatives and ensures they are compatible with the institutional mission and
- The governing board ensures the educational quality of the institution and its academic programs, preserves and protects institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and the public interest of higher education.
- The governing board regularly reviews the institution’s systems of risk management, external audits and regulatory compliance.
- The governing board conducts activities and periodically assesses its own performance and that of its committees andmembers.
- The governing board establishes and maintains productive channels of communication among its members and with the institutionalcommunity.
- The governing board of the institution is responsible for the periodic evaluation of the President, whose full-time responsibility is to the institution.
- The governing board delegates to the President, or others as deemed appropriate the required authority and autonomy to manage the institution towards the achievement of its educationalpurposes.
- The President, through appropriate administrative structures, effectively manages the institution and allocates needed resources to fulfil the institution’s educational purposes and establishes mechanism to assess institutionaleffectiveness.
- The President ensures that the institution has qualified administrative and academic officers with the experience and competence required to lead theinstitution.
- The institution’s internal governance provides appropriate and effective participation of its internal constituents, promotes communication, and responds to concerns, needs and initiatives to advance the effectiveness and quality of the institution.
- The institution’s chief academic officer in collaboration with the faculty and other academic officers is responsible for the quality and integrity of academic programs regardless of the mode of delivery.
- Faculty have a primary voice in matters of content, quality and effectiveness of the curriculum related to their areas of expertise such as academic programs, faculty institutionalpolicies.
- The system of governance makes provisions for the consideration of student views in matters of direct interest to students.
- The institution periodically and systematically reviews the effectiveness of policies related to degree requirements, delivery of coursework and the assessment of student learning as well as student recruitment, admission requirements and student supportservices.
- The effectiveness of the institution organizational structure, system of governance and decision-making processes undergo periodic and systematic assessment for the purpose of continuousimprovement.
Area 4 Teaching and Learning
- The institution ensures that the programs and degrees are recognized by relevant authorities (government, universities, businesses…).
- The institution offers programs leading to academic or professional degrees with stated objectives and program outcomes.
- The institution has in place effective processes for program administration, program design and approval of new programs. The institution works systematically and effectively to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic program delivery credits, and degreesawarded.
- The institution ensures that all program objectives and rules and regulations are clearly stated, publically available and communicated to stakeholders (students, staff, faculty…).
- The institution adopts a program framework that includes General Education requirements, core and elective courses, and graduationrequirements.
- The institution has in place mechanisms to sustain, review and update its programs through periodic evaluation of program objectives and outcomes. These mechanisms include the participation of faculty, students, employers and other stakeholders.
- The institution systematically evaluates students’ learning and Provides evidence of Learning Outcomes “LO” achievement. The assessment of student learning includes formative and summative methods.
- The institution has an academic advising system that meets student’ needs. The advising system is periodicallyreviewed.
- The institution has clear policies regarding admission, credit transfer, attendance, examinations, etc.
- The institution has procedures and policies related to academic decision- making and ensuring effective facultyparticipation.
- The institution ensures a climate encouraging teaching and learning effectiveness through qualified faculty, administrative staff and adequateresources.
- The institution provides evidences on the impact of faculty research on their teaching content and practices.
- The institution provides resources and opportunities for professional development in teaching andlearning.
- The institution ensures equality of access to effective learning across different campuses and branches.
- The institution ensures that the faculty members considers teaching and learning methods which acknowledge the needs of diverse learners, with different backgrounds, abilities and capabilities.
Area 5 Students
- The admission requirements are made public and published on the institution’s website.
- The institution recruits, admits, and enrolls students through policies and procedures agreed upon by relevant constituencies.
- The institution ensures students retention and efficient study period.
- The institution ensures students’ participation in curricula design and assessment as well as extra curricular and civic engagement activities to help them achieve their academic goals.
- The institution ensures that students are engaged in high order learning activities such as internships, projects and service learning to enhance employability.
- The institution ensures that students have appropriate soft skills.
- The institution offers financial support opportunities to students according to transparent and fair procedures and policies.
- The institution offers a range of student services including advising and academic support and also provides a clear description of the nature and the availability of these services to students.
- The institution has mechanisms for the mutual recognition of credits between disciplines; and student mobility through local and International exchange programs.
- The institution has well-defined academic rules and regulations and published student rights and responsibilities.
- The institution has a policy for the admission and integration of international students.
- The institution has measures and policies that ensure diversity in terms of religion, gender, socio-economic background, and regional origin.
- The institution ensures students with special needs that are able to participate in all aspects of the academic and student life of the institution.
- The institution has a clear policy in the right to appeal.
Area 6 Research
- The institution has a well-defined research strategy that is implemented and reviewedregularly.
- The institution includes a research policy and reviews research activities in light of its strategies andquality.
- The research oriented institution provides graduate degrees based on a research environment that specifies standards and rules for conductingresearch.
- The institution encourages research collaboration locally, regionally and internationally.
- Faculty members disseminate their research activities through publications ofimpact.
- The university is equipped with necessary research means and resources including finances, laboratories, and library.
- The institution ensures that there is a balance between research, teaching and service hours for facultymembers.
- The institution has a policy for professional development and researchleave.
- The institution encourages and supports the faculty members to participate in relevant scientific research, conferences and personal developmentactivities.
Area 7 Human Resources
- The institution has policies and procedures for faculty and staff hiring, promotion, professional development, rights and responsibilities.
- The institution specifies the working conditions of faculty and staff (such as working hours, teaching load, etc.)
- The institution has sufficient and qualified faculty and staff to support its academic programs andservices.
- The institution provides appropriate institutional support for the advancement and development of faculty, including support for teaching, research, creative scholarship, and professionalservice.
- The institution encourages faculty mobility and exchange programs at national, regional and internationallevels.
- The institution publishes faculty and staff policies andregulations.
- The institution encourages the active involvement of faculty members in community service initiatives.
- The institution has a clear policy on the right to appeal for faculty andstaff.
- The institution defines the faculty categories (full-time, part-time, adjunct, clinical …) and the role of each category in fulfilling the institution’smission.
- The institution offers adequate benefits to faculty/staff members.
Area 8 Financial Resources
- The institution preserves and enhances available financial resources sufficient to support its mission.
- The institution is financially stable.
- The governing board reviews and approves the institution’s financial plans based on multi-year analysis and financial forecasting.
- The institution dedicates sufficient financial resources to the support of its academic purposes andprograms.
- The institution and its governing board regularly and systematically review the effectiveness of the institution’s financial aid policy.
- The institution ensures that it has sufficient professionally qualified finance staff.
- The institution ensures the integrity ofitsfinances throughprudent financial management and organization, a well- organized budget process, appropriate internal control mechanisms, and sound financial decision-making.
- The institution establishes and implements its budget after appropriate consultation with relevant constituencies and in accordance with the institution strategic decision-making.
- The institution’s financial planning, including contingency planning, is integrated with overall planning and evaluation processes.
- Institutional and board leadership ensure the institution’s ethical oversight of its financial resources andpractices.
- The institution’s financial resources and transactions are audited annually by an independent certified external auditor.
- The institution directs its fund- raising efforts toward the fulfillment of institutional strategic planning and conducts them in accordance with clear and complete policies that stipulate the conditions and terms under which gifts are solicited andaccepted.
- The institution ensures that financial resources and regulations are in line with the higher educationlaws.
Area 9 General Resources
- The academic, technological, and physical infrastructures necessary to meet institutional goals are adequate and accessible.
- The institution provides adequate resources for all of its campuses andbranches.
- The effective and efficient uses of institutional resources are analyzed as part of ongoing institutional and academic programevaluation.
- The institution makes available open library and information resources to support teaching and learning and demonstrates their effectiveness in fulfilling its goals.
- The institution provides adequate and well-equipped laboratories for each program.
- The institution ensures that lecture rooms are well equipped with the necessary tools for teaching andlearning.
- The institution provides the required IT support services such as Learning Management System (LMS), software packages related to different programs, wide bandwidth Internet and software securitytools.
- The institution ensures that hygiene measures and adequate food services for staff members and students areoffered.
- The institution provides the appropriate spaces such as teaching halls, auditoriums, conference rooms, parking, sport facilities and green area.
- The institution allocates budget for the maintenance of its infrastructure (land, furniture, equipment, computers and transport).
- The institution ensures that safety and security measures are inplace.
- The institution provides appropriate facilities for people with specialneeds.
- The institution encourages the use of sustainable energy sources.
Area 10 Public Disclosure and Integrity
- The institution presents itself to current and prospective students, stake- holders and other members of the public and publishes its mission statement, goals and educational outcomes for each respective department and degreeprogram.
- The institution’s catalog/academic catalog is published on a regular basis to reaffirm and update (academic) policies andprocedures
- The institution makes public all relevant information pertaining to tuition fees including other charges and refund policies.
- The institution publishes a list of all faculty members with their qualifications, ranks in their respective departments as well as other personnel in administrative positions.
- The institution informs students and stakeholders of the different academic and non-academic facilities and support services that are available.
- The institution publishes all issues relevant to the governance of the university including the organizational chart, the board members, and the bylaws.
- The institution publishes figures on the size and characteristics of the student body, faculty, staff and institutional resources of the university as well as information related to student success and accreditation when available.
- The institution ensures that its print and electronic publications are accurate, accessible and up-to-date.
- The institution ensures that its constituencies including board members, administration, faculty, staff and students act responsibly and withapplicable.
- The institution has a relevant code of conduct that adheres to professional ethics and promotes academic integrity, respect andup-to-date.
- The institution has policies for sharing and discussing issues of academic integrity.
- The institution’s leadership pledges to be truthful, clear, and fair in all relations with internal and external constituencies. Adequate provision is made to ensure academic honesty. Appropriate policies and procedures are in effect and periodically reviewed for matters including intellectual property rights, conflict of interest, privacy rights, and fairness in dealing with students, faculty and staff.
- Proactive and protective measures are taken by the institution to guarantee the integrity of academicintegrity.
- The institution upholds accountability at allstaff.
- In its relationships with the governmental bodies and non-governmental agencies, the institution demonstrates honesty and integrity, and conforms to standards, policies and requirements advocated by suchbodies.