Building a Coherent Quality Management System
In May 2015, the Vice-Chancellor decided, in accordance with Strategy 2018, to start the project “An Integrated Quality System” with the pro Vice-Chancellor as project owner and the quality coordinator, Britta Steneberg, as project leader. A steering group and a working group was appointed. I took over the responsibility for this project January 1st, 2016. As the project is now entering its final half year, I like to give an up-date.
Strategy 2018 has a clear desire to raise the level of KIs two core activities, research and education, to support that Sweden’s only medical university reaches its full potential. Strategy 2018 clearly states that KI should invest in quality over quantity. What is really good and what needs to be improved? To remain internationally competitive in a world of global competition we need to continuously improve which is facilitated by a systematic quality improvement approach. Furthermore, we need to adhere to external requirements on our activities.
I often get the question what does a coherent quality management system refer to, a question that I have also asked myself. My answer is that the coherent quality system is based on the view that KI is one single entity where we all contribute to our goals and in that we all depend on each other. Our activities within education depends on our activities in research and the reverse. Our international, innovation and clinically connected activities depend on our activities in education and research and our support functions are obviously integrated with all other activities. We all need to agree how we develop our activities over time. Another aspect of the coherent quality management system is that we use common tools and components. This increases transparency and we can learn from each other. For examples, the system could use peer review for monitoring educational programs and exploit surveys in research.
To make sure that we have a truly coherent view on the quality system, the working group and steering group include broad representation. The work has also been presented to, and discussed in, the three faculty boards and at head of department and head of administration retreats.
In the coherent quality management system, we will monitor progress against our aims using relevant performance indicators that will be followed over time. It is important that the system includes a few quality indicators that capture quality as relevant for the whole university.
The project has now chosen the indicators that will be measured and the work during the autumn will focus on defining what needs to be developed to measure the chosen indicators and an organization. During the middle of the autumn we will provide the opportunity for dialogue on the proposal for the coherent quality management system and in this, we hope for input from many of you.
A coherent quality management system is not about filling in additional excel templates, it is about continuously improving our activities. Although the present project should be completed in December a coherent quality management system should of course itself be subject to continuous improvement.