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Academic Audit: An Overview

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What is Academic Audit?

The Academic Audit, like more traditional program reviews, is a peer review process including a self-study and a site visit by peers from outside the institution.  However, the similarities end there.  Unlike the traditional approach to program evaluation, this process emphasizes self-reflection and self-improvement rather than compliance with predetermined standards.


Why?

  • The purpose of an academic audit is to encourage departments or programs to evaluate their “education quality processes” – the key faculty activities required to produce, assure, and regularly improve the quality of teaching and learning. 
  • An academic audit asks how faculty approach educational decision-making and how they organize their work, using the resources available to them and working collegially to provide a quality education in the best interests of the discipline and student learning.

Elements of the Academic Audit:

The Self Study:

Departments examine the following five focal areas of the educational process by asking questions on:

  • Determining Learning Objectives
  • Designing Curriculum and Co-curriculum
  • Designing Teaching and Learning Methods
  • Developing Student Learning Assessment
  • Assuring Implementation of Quality Education

Departments write a self-study report

  • Describing the current state of their efforts to improve student learning and the academic quality of their programs
  • Describing their strengths and weaknesses in the focal areas
  • Citing and briefly describing documentation supporting exemplary practices
  • Describing potential initiatives to address practices that need improvement
  • Describing implementation plan(s) for improvement initiative(s) with the highest priority

Our Procedure:

  1. The Peer Review:
    • Auditors are volunteers (primarily faculty) who receive training on education quality processes and audit methodology.
    • Audit teams (4-6 members) will most likely come from our origination who extensively has participated in a formal training experience.
    • All departments are given the opportunity to nominate peers on other campuses for service on the audit review team.
    • Because the auditors will be focusing on quality processes, they will come from the academic discipline of the department being audited
    • Audit visits are typically three days per session (Normally two sessions in a school year are conducted before the final report is given).
    • Auditors meet with departmental leadership, faculty, and students.
    • Auditors ask questions similar to the self-study questions cited above.
    • Auditors write a preliminary report:
    • Highlighting examples of exemplary practice,
    • Noting areas for improvement, and
    • Evaluating a department’s approach to educational quality practices.

  2. The final report:
    • The final audited report will be exclusively prepared by the team head considering all the reports returned to him.
    • This final report will be discussed in totality with the school management and will completely assist in making transitions if necessary.

  3. Principles of the Academic Audit
  4. While we believe that there is no “hidden agenda” and no “right way” to approach the Academic Audit process, the Academic Audit openly advocates the following principles as foundations of good educational practice.

    • Define quality in terms of outcomes
    • Focus on process
    • Work collaboratively
    • Base decisions on evidence
    • Strive for coherence
    • Learn from best practice
    • Make continuous improvement a priority

  5. Timelines for the process
  6. Initial visit

    • Introduction to academic audit and the need for it  - A training session for school personnel  - 1/2 day
    • Exclusive meetings with the department chairpersons to understand the school environment   - 1/2 day
    • Visits by our auditors -  2 days
    • Meeting with the department chairpersons & principal - 1 day (on submission of preliminary report & suggestions)

    Final visit

    • Visit by the audit team   - 2 days
    • Submission of final report – meeting with the school management – 1/2 day
    • Discussion on the modifications needed by the system - training to teachers & principals. – 1/2 day

  7. The Team:
  8. Our audit team members comprise of highly dedicated principals/professors who have extensive exposure to teaching/administration/research in academic domain from India, Singapore & USA.

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