UNAM has adopted the following Quality Assurance process, which is based on the Deming Cycle:
As illustrated in the diagram, the Quality cycle is an interactive four-step problem-solving process. The Quality cycle includes the sequential phases, namely planning, implementation, evaluation and assessment and review (feedback and procedures for change).
- Planning refers to the setting up of clear, appropriate and measurable goals and objectives in terms of policies, procedures, tasks and resources. In addition, this phase involves defining indicators to facilitate monitoring the attainment of these goals and objectives.
- The essential aspect of implementation is the establishment of procedures to ensure the attainment of the goals and objectives. These procedures may vary considerably at an institutional level, for example, in terms of the development of the operational system and the organisational structure, resource collection, involvement of stakeholders, or development of partnerships.
- Evaluation and assessment encompass the evaluation of the higher education provided and the assessment of the achievement of outcomes at both system and individual levels. In general, the evaluation and assessment phase comprises two parts − firstly, the collection and processing of data and discussions and, secondly, the evaluation mechanism. This second part involves defining the scope of the evaluation as well as providing information on the results of the evaluation.
- Review (feedback and procedures for change) forms part of a systematic and goal-oriented process which is used to amend plans and to develop operations in order to achieve the targeted outcomes and set new objectives. The aim of this review phase is to learn from the information acquired, such as discussing and analysing the results with key stakeholders.
Interaction is the basic principle for ‘closing the Quality loop’ and repeating the cycle can bring about continuous quality improvement as every next cycle translates into better quality. This is done through cyclic Quality reviews. The reviews are guided by for key questions, which are based on a ‘fitness for (and of) purpose’ approach, namely:
- What is the University trying to do?
- How is the University trying to do it?
- How does it know it works?
- How does the University change in order to improve?