Sohar University (SU) has worked hard to enhance education in compliance with quality and academic accreditation standards, as well as to deliver outstanding services to the community at large.
Accreditation is the process for verifying or approving Higher Educational Institutions and licensed higher education programs by authorized external organizations. In Oman, institutions are accredited by the OAAAQA, while programs can be accredited by the OAAA and a professional or regulatory body.
SU is one of the Sultanate’s few universities to acquire institutional accreditation from the Omani Authority for Academic Accreditation and Quality Assurance of Education (OAAAQA). Also Australian Computer Society (ACS) has accredited most of the University’s computing programmes. In addition to that, Engineers Australia (EA) has accredited most of the Engineering programmes.The institution has taken serious steps to ensure that education meets high standards locally and internationally. To achieve this, the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Department (QAAD) was established at SU to oversee all these activities in addition to monitoring the achievement of the University Strategic Plan, in line with its Vision: “to provide access and opportunity to build a knowledge nation”. The Department is also tasked with ensuring that the University quality assurance strategy is implemented effectively and meets international standards.
Internally, QAAD ensures that all the implementation of all processes adhere to institutional policies and procedures that are benchmarked against international standards. The QAAD is in charge of creating, putting into action, and keeping track of the strategies, processes, and procedures that govern all academic support and administrative functions and activities at the University. It works closely with all faculties to monitor and enhance the quality of the student learning experience and to maintain academic standards.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Maintains and spreads the culture of quality assurance and enhancement among SU staff and students.
- Conducts internal periodic quality reviews of the various SU units and departments.
- Leads and coordinates SU preparations for the external program and institutional quality reviews in coordination with internal and external concerned entities.
- Provides guidance and advice to SU staff, students, and all stakeholders about quality-related matters.
- Ensures and monitors the effective operation of SU QAA to enhance the University’s institutional performance and academic excellence.
- Ensures the maintenance of the quality of provision and academic standards.
- Ensures the alignment of SU awards with the Oman Qualifications Framework in terms of learning outcomes, graduate attributes, and assessment criteria.
- Leads and coordinates the periodic reviews of SU policies, procedures and guidelines.
- Leads and coordinates the development of SU Strategic Plan.
- Follows up on the implementation of the Operational Plans and the level of KPIs achievement.
- Assists the University in meeting the requirements of the OAAA/QA institutional and program accreditation cycles.
- Provides training to the university staff and students on various topics related to quality assurance, monitoring, and enhancement.
- Coordinates SU links and cooperation with all external accreditation bodies and agencies.
- Ensures that the University Risk Management Policy is properly implemented and that all relevant stakeholders are informed about and involved in identifying, evaluating, analyzing, and managing risks to acceptable levels.
Quality and Standard Principles
According to the University’s quality assurance strategy, quality assurance is based on the following principles:
- While the University is accountable for program quality and outcome requirements, all members of the University, including management, academic and support staff, and students, are responsible for quality.
- In terms of programme quality and student experience, there is always room for improvement, and it is always possible to learn from mistakes to improve both design and performance.
- Academics and professionals with sufficient expertise and training are involved in making judgments about quality.
The following are the mechanisms for ensuring the quality and standards of education and training:
- SU is the sole owner of the curriculum.
- There must be systems to make sure that the education delivered (in terms of information, knowledge, ethics, and skills) fulfills both national and discipline-specific standards.
- Continuous improvement of programs.
- A commitment to take into account benchmarking and best practices from other national, regional, and worldwide higher education institutions (HEIs).
- Assuring that quality education is provided and that students who get specific academic awards have truly met adequate performance standards.
- Judgments about quality and standards must always be based on evidence and made by professionals with the necessary expertise and experience.
Quality Assurance and Accreditation (QAAD) is responsible for ensuring that the University Risk Management Policy is implemented effectively and that all relevant stakeholders are informed of, and engaged in the process of identifying, evaluating, analyzing and managing risks to an acceptable level. QAAD has oversight of the Risk Management Committee and the Risk Register.
Risk Management Objectives The main objectives of risk management are to:
- Assist management’s understanding of potential risks and their impact on the business, and facilitate decision making.
- Assist management in the process of managing risks based on their level, impact, and likelihood.
- Raise awareness amongst staff of how to identify, measure, report, and control risks in their area of the business.
- Enable the university to record and respond to changing risk levels.
Risk CategoriesSohar University (SU) arranges risk into five main categories, namely:
- Strategic Risks: Risks that have an impact on the ability of Sohar University to achieve its mission, goals and objectives
- Compliance Risks: Risk created by failing to follow Oman’s laws, regulations, and university policies that protect SU from legal exposure.
- Reputational Risk: Increases as a result of negative exposure in local and national media due to ineffectiveness, lack of responsibility, or other mismanagement possibilities. This could come from unfriendly study and/or work environments for students and/or staff, favored behavior for certain staff or students, leak of exam papers, unfair dismissal of students, etc. Reputational risks normally have a high impact.
- Operational Risks: Risk within the implementation of SU daily processes that have an impact on the effectiveness or efficiency of operations. This, in large will lead to student (customer) dissatisfaction.
- Financial Risk: There are situations that include deterioration of assets, technology, financial reporting, and auditing, as well as when information needed to make financial decisions is not relevant, complete, accurate, or timely.
Risk Appetite at SU
Risk Appetite is the amount of risk that an institution is prepared to accept, or be exposed to, at any one time. The Risk Appetite will depend on the nature of the risk.
Sohar University’s management is responsible for setting the level of tolerance for risk appetite for key risk areas in the university. Sohar University is carefully considering the impact of the risk on the university’s main core activities.
To achieve its mission and goals, Sohar University will have to accept a degree of risk, relative to the expected possible benefits and/or rewards. The risk that Sohar University is keen to take will be within the agreed appetite approved by the University Executive Management.
|Dr.Ali Al-Hassnawi||Director of Quality Assurance and Accreditation||26820102||477|
|Ms. Amna Al -Jabri||Senior Quality Officer||26850100||282|
|Ms. Amani Al-Maqbali||Quality Assurance Risk & Technical Officer||26850100||164|
|Ms. Abeer Al-Badi||Governance & Compliance Officer||26850100||491|