Quality can mean many things. In the realm of higher education--in the sense used here--quality refers primarily to academic quality: the quality of programs, the quality of instruction, and the quality of an institution's graduates. The quality of an institution's facilities, grounds, accounting systems, and other non-academic characteristics certainly have an impact on a university's quality, but they are ultimately of secondary importance in the estimation of this quality. [Quality in these realms is assured by other ULV manuals such as the "Administrative Procedures Manual" (1989), prepared by the Office of the Vice President of Administration and Finance, and the "Rules Affecting Classified and Administrative/Professional Staff" (1989), developed by the Department of Human Resources.]
The quality of higher education
is a subjective measure of how successfully the education teaches its graduates
how to think, analyze, speak, and write; how to appreciate and contribute
to the world around them; how to be responsible citizens; and the foundation
skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a productive career. The recognized
authority of the subjective measure of academic quality is the faculty
of an academic discipline or of an institution of higher learning, particularly
the tenured full professors in that discipline or institution. Most of
what quality means in higher education can ultimately be understood only
as the subjective judgments of these faculty, and any system of quality
management must be founded upon them.
Some of these subjective judgments have been partly translated into objective measurements. Standards have been established for the educational infrastructure (the "inputs"), including such items as library holdings, faculty degrees and publications, student-faculty ratios, laboratory facilities, and curricular requirements, as well as for the educational product (the "outputs"): the success of graduates on standardized tests, in graduate school, and in their careers. Objective measures can never be more than a suggestive indication of quality, but they need to be considered along with subjective judgments because they provide measurable standards for quality, however imperfect.
The University of La Verne is sincerely committed to achieving the highest degree of quality possible with the faculty, student body, and mission that it possesses. It believes that all of its programs must be measured continuously both by the subjective judgment of its own faculty and the faculty of other institutions as well as by the objective standards set down by the University and by such outside agencies as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and the American Library Association. Only the constant and vigilant examination with a critical eye can assure the level of quality that the University of La Verne wants.
Since the mid-1970's La Verne has run a program of Quality Assurance (QA) to monitor and document approvals and changes in programs, courses, and part-time faculty. In 1990 QA was subsumed under a new Quality Management System (QMS) which shifted from a nearly total focus on review, monitoring, and evaluation to a collaborative approach. As QMS evolves it is continuing to shift the emphasis from record-keeping and paperwork to regular, continuous interaction between full-time faculty, on the one hand, and part-time faculty and off-campus administrator, on the other. QMS at La Verne involves collaboration among faculty and administrators, full time and part time, at the central campus and at every off-campus location. Every faculty member and administrator at the University is employed in the Quality Management System.
The University of La Verne feels confident that its programs, at its centers as well as on campus, are at satisfactory levels of quality, particularly when compared with other institutions with similar faculties, student bodies, and missions. Nevertheless, it aspires to still higher levels of quality and is committed to achieving ever increasing levels measured subjectively as well as objectively, to Continuous Quality Improvement. Both the campaign for quality and QMS are dynamic and evolving. As long as the University exists and its current philosophy abides, achieving ever greater levels of quality will be foremost in its intentions.
The Quality Management System is designed to measure quality both subjectively and objectively. Integral involvement by full-time faculty guarantees that courses, programs, and instructors are regularly reviewed by the subjective standards that only faculty members can set. At the same time, objective infrastructure and performance standards are applied by administrators and faculty alike as a secondary measure of the quality of programs.
At the pinnacle of the Quality Management System is the Board of Trustees. While the Board does not involve itself with day-to-day decisions of quality, it reviews the programs of the University both for their appropriateness and their quality. Members of the Board regularly visit with administrators, faculty, and staff of the University to discuss curriculum, student achievement, and other matters, and at least one Board Member visits some off-campus centers every year.
The primary means by which the Board assures quality is through its selection of the President. The President monitors quality through regular meetings with his top administrators, interaction with faculty members and students, and analysis of critiques made by outside agencies.
The President's most effective means of assuring quality is through the selection of capable full-time faculty and academic leaders, particularly in the person of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the person to whom the President has delegated chief responsibility for the smooth operation of the Quality Management System. The Vice President, through his direct involvement with the Deans Council, Faculty Assembly, Faculty Senate, faculty committees, and the Office of Quality Management, provides leadership of, and sets the tone for, Quality Management at the University of La Verne. The Vice President makes sure that the elements of the Quality Management System are sufficient, appropriate, and working properly. In presiding over the Quality Management System, the Vice President regularly improves its structure and verifies its operation.
At the Vice President’s right hand in assuring quality are the Deans of the colleges and schools and the Associate Dean of La Verne College of Athens. The Deans and Associate Dean themselves visit classes and review courses and programs, and they see that the chairs and faculty under them do the same. The Deans and Associate Dean also review new programs and changes in programs, new courses and changes in courses, as well as the overall quality of their own college, school, or campus.
Just as the Vice President personifies the Quality Management System, the regular contracted faculty are its bricks and mortar. Without the faculty there would be no Quality Management System. The faculty set the standards, subjective as well as objective, and apply these standards to the programs, courses, and faculty of the University. As individual specialists the faculty review and approve proposed courses and part-time faculty, monitor course syllabi and examinations, and conduct collegial reviews and site reviews. As members of departments, colleges, and committees, they approve new degree programs and amend current ones. As members of task forces, they prepare self studies of their own programs and participate in reviews of other programs and off-campus sites. Every faculty member is concerned in seeing that standards of quality are set and met.
The Office of Quality Management (QM) is an integral part of the Vice President for Academic Affairs' office, and assists him/her in monitoring the Quality Management System (QMS). QM monitors site reviews, instructor reviews by colleagues, and course numbering. Representatives of the School of Continuing Education (SCE--the University unit employing the largest number of part-time faculty) sit in department meetings and on faculty committees, department and program chairs and faculty liaisons regularly interact with SCE, and numerous meetings between full-time and part-time faculty occur throughout the year, so SCE's interaction with on-campus faculty is much broader than its link through the Office of Quality Management. The QM Office also monitors and evaluates on-campus Quality Management, both undergraduate and graduate, and it works closely with the Deans to insure that policies and procedures are being followed and that they are working.
The cadre of on-campus faculty to whom the Office of Quality Management routes off-campus instructor applications and course proposals includes department and program chairpersons. Responsibility for the approval of courses, instructors, and other academic matters rests with individual academic departments, but every department has delegated the responsibility of approving courses and instructors in specified fields to the department chair, program chairs, and/or designated subject area specialists. Departments collectively meet to consider academic matters other than course and instructor approvals.
Although these are the people primarily involved in the Quality Management System, it does not end with them. Indeed, every member of the University community must be involved with assuring quality for the goals of Quality Management to succeed. This includes not only faculty and administrators, full time and part time, but also students and staff, on campus as well as off campus. Some of the most important links in QMS, for instance, are the Directors of School of Continuing Education centers,campuses, and programs, often working at a great distance from campus, diligently implementing the quality management standards of the faculty with regards to faculty, students, libraries, laboratories, scheduling, etc. In some important respects the SCE Directors, on the one hand, and the regular contracted faculty, on the other, are the two most important elements in their respective areas in the entire QM System, because they must monitor, evaluate, and judge quality at the most elemental level.
Nor could QMS operate successfully without the commitment of part-time instructors, particularly those teaching off campus where they compose the bulk of the instructional staff. Part-time instructors primarily help assure quality by seeing that course and program objectives are met, by interacting with the regular contracted faculty in their fields, by taking direction from course outlines prepared by those faculty, and by working with department associates and other part-time colleagues to insure that their students receive a quality education. To see that this gets done, part-time instructors meet and communicate with regular contracted faculty in their fields, contribute to book selection, help develop new courses, assist in improving laboratory and library facilities, and much more. Some part-time instructors also have been selected to review their colleagues' teaching.
Finally, the Quality Management System could not exist without the honest and critical involvement of the students. The students are the ultimate consumers, on the one hand, who judge the University's quality, as well as the University's products who must measure up against recognized objective achievement standards of quality. The students must be willing to critique the quality of their instructors and other aspects of the University, and the University must take the responsibility to teach its students to analyze carefully and intelligently. The students' ability at critical thinking (Mission Statement, point 3), after all, is one measure of the University's quality. The University must also take care in the selection and education of its students because the quality of the University's student body, together with the quality of its faculty, are the two most critical determinants of the quality of the University.
The "Quality Management System," the set of policies and procedures described below, is only a paperwork effort to see that the abstract and elusive attribute called quality is present at the University of La Verne. The forms and reviews, statistics and signatures of QMS are like the trails visible in a cloud chamber: they are evidence of the presence of something important; they are not that something itself. Quality is assured in the first instance by people, by all the people listed above. The paperwork trail established by the policies and procedures of QMS merely serves to remind the trustees, administration, faculty, and staff of the importance of being careful and persistent in the never ending pursuit of quality. Because of this, the paperwork is necessary, but it is not a sufficient end unto itself. The Quality Management System of the University of La Verne appears as an organizational chart, procedures, and forms, but the University's real Quality Management System is the cooperative, committed effort of the entire University community to assure quality within its midst.
1. The quality of the regular contracted faculty (the core of QMS) is assessed by department chairs and deans through the "Annual Faculty Growth Report and Plan" and other means. In addition, faculty quality is rigorously scrutinized by the Faculty Personnel Committee when faculty come up for Third Year Review, promotion, and tenure. This part of quality management is mandated by PEPPIT.
2. The Vice President for Academic Affairs and deans strive for ever higher levels of faculty quality by supporting faculty to keep up with developments in their fields, by watching to see that those without appropriate terminal degrees work toward them, and by providing funds to contribute to these ends.
3. The Vice President, deans, and faculty work in cooperation with the President and various committees to see that science laboratories, electronic technology, music and drama facilities, athletic fields, and other curriculum-related buildings and equipment keep in step with the needs of the University's programs and contemporary practice.
4. The Vice President, deans, and faculty develop challenging and appropriate major, general education, upper division, and other academic requirements to assure quality in the educational programs.
5. The Vice President, deans, and faculty set and monitor grading policies at a level that assures quality learning and graduates.
6. The Vice President, deans, and faculty establish standards for the amount and precision of written and spoken English used in classes throughout the University.
Even these additional procedural efforts to assure quality do not complete the description of the University's broader Quality Management System, because some of its elements are so subtle and inherent as to defy precise description. Suffice it to say that the actual procedures aimed at managing quality outlined above and below are only the describable skeleton of a living activity called quality management. Yet, just as the health of the skeleton provides a measure of the health of the body, so the skeleton of QMS policies and procedures provides a series of indicators about the quality of the University of La Verne. The QMS policies and procedures contained in this manual do not guarantee quality education, but they provide indicators and measures of its presence.
Central campus (1891), Education Programs, SCE (1968), Pt. Mugu (1969), College of Law at La Verne (1970), EPIC (1971), CAPA (1971), North Island (1971), Vandenberg (1971), Athens (1975), Elmendorf (1975), Eielson (1975), Health Services Management (1978), Orange County Campus (1981), College of Law San Fernando Valley (1983), San Fernando Valley Campus (1983), Ventura County Campus (1991), and Inland Empire Campus (1992), Distance Learning Center (ULV Online) (1996), Bakersfield Center (1998).
1. Faculty who teach on a course-by-course basis. This is the largest group of part-time faculty and includes Adjunct Instructors, Adjunct Professors and Senior Adjunct Professors. [ See PEPPIT, IXB.3-5]
2. Department Associates (see definition) at SCE administrative centers engaged to teach a specified number of courses per term.
3. Faculty contracted to teach half-time or more but less than full time. These faculty are regular contracted faculty and are included on the Faculty Staffing Plan. They are sometimes called percent-contract faculty.
For QMS purposes "part-time faculty"refers only to those described in 1 and 2. Definition 3 faculty are regular contracted faculty. Regular contracted faculty are included in the Faculty Staffing Plan and are covered by PEPPIT, §I-VII. Definition 1 and 2 part-time faculty are included in the Part-Time Faculty Database and are covered by PEPPIT, §IA-C (Rights and Responsibilities of the Faculty) and IX (Part-Time Faculty).