Accreditation and quality in higher education curriculum design: Does the tail wag the dog?

Denise Wood, Gregory Auhl, Sally McCarthy

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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    Increasingly, the higher education sector is driven by sets of standards that describe quality - internal institutional standards that consider curriculum, teaching and delivery to students and external standards from both the sector and the professions that describe expectations, content, skills and attitudes that curricula must address to support graduate outcomes. Quality is the focus of these requirements, and yet quality in higher education remains a messy problem, with no clear framework (Kundu, 2016) and numerous variables that confound the problem. We ask what comes first: the external standards that accredit a university to provide education for a profession, or internal standards that focus on quality teaching and learning opportunities. The paper presents a short case study that highlights the challenge for course leaders pressured to meet industry requirements, and the impact this has on their awareness and capacity to design a transformational curriculum for students. We conclude that it is the difference between an aspirational course, whereby quality is focussed on the learning design for transformational student experience, and a compliant course, where quality is focussed on meeting static requirements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication5th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd' 19)
    EditorsJosep Domenech, Paloma Merello, Elena de la Poza, Desamparados Blazquez, Raul Pena-Ortiz
    Place of PublicationValencia, Spain
    PublisherUPV/EHU Press
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)9788490486610
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    Event5th International Conference on Higher Education Advances: HEAd'19 - Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain
    Duration: 26 Jun 201928 Jun 2019
    Conference number: 5 (conference program) (Conference website)


    Conference5th International Conference on Higher Education Advances
    OtherThis conference is an excellent forum for researchers and practitioners to exchange ideas, experiences, opinions and research results relating to the preparation of students, teaching/learning methodologies and the organization of educational systems.
    Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following topic areas:

    Innovative materials and new tools for teaching
    Teaching and learning experiences
    Educational technology (e.g., virtual labs, e-learning)
    Evaluation and assessment of student learning
    Emerging technologies in learning (e.g., MOOC, OER, gamification)
    Scientific and research education
    Experiences outside the classroom (e.g., practicums, mobility)
    New teaching/learning theories and models
    Globalization in education and education reforms
    Education economics
    Entrepreneurship and learning for employment
    Education accreditation, quality and assessment
    Competency-based learning and skill assessment
    Internet address


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