INTEGRAL MEASURING OF PERCEIVED QUALITY IN POSTGRADUATE STUDIES: AN INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE
Universitat de Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Currently, universities are facing an environment characterised by increased competition, new political and social contexts, financial restrictions and changes in funding, among others. In view of this situation, establishing stable relations between universities and their publics, mainly students and former students, has become essential for guaranteeing their survival. In the context of the Spanish University Strategy for 2015, one of the most important objectives is to increase internationalisation through international postgraduate courses (Spanish Ministry of Education, 2010). This present study considers students as an interest group and student evaluation of University services and in particular, their international postgraduate experience is fundamental for guiding management decisions.
Recognising the importance of quality and student satisfaction, this study proposes a comprehensive system for evaluating service quality in the context of an international postgraduate course, the International Master in Business Administration (iMBA) at Universitat de València (UV). The iMBA is officially recognised by the International Business School Alliance, IBSA, and leads to a dual qualification: students receive the Master’s degree qualification from the university where they study core subjects in the first semester and from the university where they study the specialisation. The universities in the network are: Universitat de València, Hochschule Bremen, Institute of Business Studies Moscow, University of North Carolina Wilmington, University of Hertfordshire and Universiti Tu Abdul Razak. The iMBA has been taught at UV since February 2004 and is a multidisciplinary course taught by staff from four departments: Marketing, Business Administration, Business Finances and International Law.
In order to carry out a comprehensive quality evaluation since the introduction of the iMBA in 2004-05, a satisfaction evaluation system has been implemented from a bottom-up perspective, that is, obtaining information from students about the factors determining satisfaction before their evaluation (Angell et al., 2008). Going further than the current system for measuring service quality and considering students as stakeholders in the university in the context of relationship marketing, this present experience develops a process for evaluating service quality where the student designs the measurement instrument itself from an integral vision of the service s/he receives.
The proposal for integral measurement of teaching service quality for evaluating student satisfaction with an international postgraduate course is user-oriented, where users determine the main determinants of their satisfaction. Over the six years of application, some of the advantages detected with this experience are: (i): many of the questions, while core issues for students, are unlikely to have arisen with the traditional “top-down” approach; (ii) students become highly involved in the quality evaluation process. In short, the proposal provides the benefits of a broader, enriched vision of student perceived quality and a high degree of student involvement in the evaluation of quality. This facilitates understanding of higher education services user behaviour and consequently greater capacity to satisfy them and gain their loyalty in the current competitive context of convergence in the European area.
Keywords: Quality assurance, service quality, postgraduate, innovation, international.