Quality

The institutional policy for the quality of UAlg is based on the sharing and commitment of the academic community with the mission and values defined in its Statutes and with the guidelines defined in its Strategic Plan, with the objective of continuous improvement of its activity.

Quality policy

The Strategic Plan integrates objectives, strategic initiatives and respective indicators, established for each of the aspects, Education, Research, Extension and Governance, and was the subject of an intense process of consultation and internal and external debate.

The pursuit of quality objectives is supervised through processes and procedures that allow the monitoring and evaluation of the activities carried out, in order to guarantee the fulfillment of internal and external requirements that, simultaneously, lead to the continuous improvement of the University's performance.

UAlg's internal quality assurance system (SIGQUALG)

The institutional policy for the quality of the University of Algarve (UAlg) is closely associated with the institution's mission and development strategy, so the UAlg Internal Quality Assurance System (SIGQUAlg) is based, in essence, on two documents, the Quality Manual and the Strategic Plan, which are supported by a third document, the Annual Activity Plan.

In the Quality Manual, information on the quality policy and the organization of SIGQUAlg is systematized, explaining the interconnection between the policy for quality and the mission and strategy of UAlg, the competences and relations of government bodies within the scope of SIGQUAlg, the procedures, regulations and norms and other documents, as well as the forms of participation and involvement of all those interested in the process of continuous improvement of the activities developed within the scope of the UAlg mission. 

The four-year Strategic Plan establishes UAlg's development guidelines and integrates, for each aspect of its mission, objectives, strategic initiatives and performance indicators.

The Annual Activity Plan includes actions planned to achieve the strategic objectives and initiatives set out in the Strategic Plan. For each action, the process of its execution, the actors and the expected results are identified.

 

Structures of SIGQUALG

Assignments

  • Ensure that the Quality Policy as well as the Quality Assurance processes integrate the contribution of all stakeholders (internally and externally) \
  • Ensure that SIGQUAlg contributes to the effective improvement of the quality of the mission of the University of Algarve
  • Ensure that the Quality Assurance processes are articulated with the strategic plan and the activity plans and adequately respond to the guidelines defined by the national and European higher education quality assurance systems

Constitution

  • Rector (who coordinates)
  • Vice-Rectors and Pro-Rectors
  • Directors of Organic Units and President of the Department of Biomedical Sciences
  • Presidents of the Scientific Council and the Technical-Scientific Council
  • Presidents of the Pedagogical Council
  • Research Center Coordinators
  • Student provider
  • President of the Academic Association
  • Administrator of the University of Algarve
  • Social Welfare Services Administrator
  • Directors of Services at the University of Algarve
  • Library Director
  • Coordinator of the Evaluation and Quality Office
  • Coordinator of the Scientific Research Support Unit
  • One student per Organic Unit and Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine, appointed by his peers from the respective Pedagogical Council

Operation

  • The Council meets ordinarily once a year and extraordinarily by decision of the Rector
  • CGQ's decisions are recorded in minutes, prepared by the Evaluation and Quality Office, made available on the UAlg intranet

Obs.: To consult the information available regarding the deliberations of the Quality Advisory Council, you must access here (intranet).

Assignments

  • Propose to the Rector the institutional policy and the objectives for quality
  • Ensure the adequacy of SIGQUAlg to the legislation in force as well as to the standards and guidelines defined by the national and European systems for the quality assurance of higher education institutions
  • Define the procedures, organization, instruments and action plans necessary for the implementation and monitoring of SIGQUAlg
  • Monitor the implementation of SIGQUAlg
  • Appreciate the self-assessment reports resulting from the Integrated Teaching and Learning Monitoring System as well as the self-assessment reports of the other activities of the institution to be submitted to the Rector
  • Propose improvements to the internal quality assurance system
  • Review the Quality Manual

Constitution

  • Vice-Rector for Quality (coordinating)
  • Vice-Rectors
  • Directors of the Organic Units and President of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine (one for each teaching subsystem, designated by their peers from among the members of the CCQ)
  • A Research Center Coordinator (appointed by his / her peers from among the members of the CCQ)
  • Presidents of the Scientific Council / Technical-Scientific Council (one for each teaching subsystem, designated by their peers from among the members of the CCQ)
  • Presidents of the Pedagogical Council (one for each teaching subsystem, designated by their peers from among the members of the CCQ)
  • Student representatives (one for each teaching subsystem, designated by their peers from among CCQ members)
  • Administrator of the University of Algarve
  • Coordinator of the Evaluation and Quality Office

Operation

  • CGQ meets ordinarily once a semester and extraordinarily whenever convened by decision of the coordinator
  • CGQ's decisions are recorded in minutes, prepared by the Evaluation and Quality Office, made available on the UAlg intranet

Obs.: To consult the information available regarding the Quality Assurance Committee's deliberations, you must access here (intranet).

The Evaluation and Quality Office (GAQ) is represented in the two previous structures and is responsible for the operationalization of SIGQUAlg in permanent coordination with the Rectory.

Its attributions

  • Provide technical and administrative support for the functioning of the SIGQUAlg structures
  • Coordinate and streamline the implementation and improvement of SIGQUAlg in conjunction with the various structures and bodies of the UAlg
  • Monitor the development and maintenance of the IT infrastructure that supports SIGQUAlg
  • Prepare assessment tools to support the management of teaching, research and knowledge transfer activities and the pursuit of quality objectives
  • Collaborate in the implementation of mechanisms for regular self-assessment of the performance of the organic units, courses, services, as well as scientific and pedagogical activities subject to the national assessment and accreditation system
  • Streamline, in coordination with the organic units and services, the processes for the external evaluation / accreditation of courses
  • Support periodic quality assessment reports for the University's activities
  • Assess the impact of the institution's activities on the community, in conjunction with the Studies and Planning Office
  • Perform other activities that are committed in the field of evaluation and quality
  • Prepare the self-assessment reports resulting from the Integrated Teaching and Learning Monitoring System (SIMEA) as well as the institutional self-assessment reports
  • Ensure the permanent updating of the indicators and the necessary information to SIGQUAlg

SIGQUAlg systematizes, integrates and establishes the documents and procedures necessary for the collection of information, its analysis and evaluation, with the aim of continuously monitoring and improving the activities developed by UAlg within the scope of its mission. It also contributes to the development of a culture of quality, perceived and participated by all (academic community and external interested parties) and aligned with the institutional policy for the quality of UAlg. Internal quality assurance aims at transparency and continuous improvement of UAlg's mission, by monitoring its performance and contributing to its development, valuing the different actors in the activities carried out and committing them to the importance of complying with the standards established procedures and objectives. The development and implementation of SIGQUAlg has been a process participated by the Academic Community and interested external entities and is in constant development, to respond to internal needs and external requirements that are constantly evolving.

Integrated teaching and learning monitoring system (SIMEA)

According to the guidelines issued by the European quality assurance institutions, the University of Algarve (UAlg) aims, in collaboration with the entire academic community, the continuous improvement of quality in teaching, research, extension and governance, materialize through the implementation of a quality assurance system.

As the teaching and learning process is one of the fundamental aspects supporting the defined objectives, it is essential not only the involvement of all stakeholders, but also the evaluation system. This system is made sequentially, from the preparation of the academic year, establishes the analysis of the functioning of the curricular units up to the course to which they belong and their implications after the conclusion of the course. It also includes the improvements to be implemented and their follow-up by Organs competent bodies.

This evaluation process begins with the Teachers and Students Perception of Teaching and Learning (PEADE) questionnaires that embody the Integrated Teaching and Learning Monitoring System (SIMEA).

Through the SIMEA platform, and in response to the corresponding questionnaire, all teachers are asked to express their opinion on aspects related to the functioning of the UCs they taught as well as the students who attended them.

The information to be collected on Teachers' Teaching and Learning Perception (PEA-D) is structured in the questionnaire in blocks, and by major themes:

  1. Evaluation of students at UC;
  2. UC functioning;
  3. UC teaching and learning support resources.

Prepared in accordance with the PEA-D, also within the scope of the Integrated Teaching and Learning Monitoring System, UAlg students are asked, anonymously, to formulate their opinion on the functioning of the attended UCs.

Also through the SIMEA platform, and in response to the corresponding questionnaire, all students are asked to express their opinion on aspects related to the functioning of the UCs they attended, as well as the teachers who taught them.

 The information to be collected on the Perception of Student Teaching and Learning (PEA-E) is structured in the questionnaire in blocks, and by major themes:

  1. Self-assessment of students at UC;
  2. Skills development in UC;
  3. UC functioning;
  4. Teaching performance at UC;
  5. UC teaching and learning support resources;
  6. General information.

The coordination, promotion and technical support for these actions is attributed to the Evaluation and Quality Office (GAQ), in collaboration with representatives of the organic units and services.

The evaluation mechanism integrates several sequential sources of information, allowing the different stakeholders to have access to the contributions that are being incorporated, as the process goes beyond each phase.

The informative tools of SIMEA, and ordered sequentially, are:

  1. Course Unit Form (FUC);
  2. Questionnaires on the Perception of Teaching and Learning to Teachers and Students (PEADE);
  3. Report of the Course by the Head of the Course;
  4. Course Report by the Course Director;
  5. Assessment Report and Continuous Improvement of the Organic Unit courses by the Pedagogical Council;
  6. Self-Assessment Report by the Director of the Organic Unit;
  7. Global Self-Assessment Report by GAQ.

From the treatment of the information produced by these tools, the results, which are made available to the stakeholders according to their responsibilities, the Course Director as responsible for the implementation of measures and recommendations for quality improvement and the Director of the Organic Unit who, in conjunction with the Pedagogical Council, will evaluate the results in the next cycle.

Characterization of new students (CNE)

As part of the policy of continuous improvement of teaching activities at UAlg, and as a management support tool, knowledge of the profile of new students when accessing the institution is of significant importance in defining the strategy for the training offer and allows establishing conditions that favor student loyalty, counteracting any tendency towards dropping out or looking for competition.

GAQ annually implements a questionnaire called Characterization of New Students (CNE), targeting new students placed in this institution via the different forms of access to Portuguese higher education. This questionnaire, as the name suggests, aims to analyze and define the profile of individuals placed in UAlg courses with available places.

The information to be collected at the CNE, and supplemented for the purpose of analysis with data provided in the registration process, is structured in the questionnaire by major themes:

  1. Previous school career;
  2. Information about the course and Higher Education Institution;
  3. Motivations for choosing a university, college or school;
  4. Motivations for choosing the course;
  5. Expectations regarding the institution;
  6. Adaptation and involvement;
  7. Personal characterization data.

The participation of all new students at this time in academic life is of the utmost importance to create and provide the best conditions for those entrusting us with this phase, normally so definitive for the professional future.

Course unit file (FUC)

Within the scope of the Integrated Teaching and Learning Monitoring System, as provided for in the General Evaluation Regulations of the University of Algarve, the Course Unit Form (FUC) is an assessment tool for the different curricular units of a study plan.

The management of the FUC belongs, within an Organic Unit, to the Pedagogical Council with the collaboration of the respective Technique for Quality.

The FUC is individually filled with informative content, in Portuguese and English, about each Curricular Unit (UC) of the study plans. The Responsible for the Course Unit is also the one who must make a proposal of the contents that will be validated for a study plan by the Course Director.

For this function, and according to the different responsibilities, there are several explanatory supports:

 

Accreditations and certifications

Assessment and accreditation of study cycles

Since 2009, the Agency for the Accreditation and Evaluation of Higher Education (A3ES), a full member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, has been established as the authority responsible for the process of international recognition of the quality of higher education taught in Portugal . As a result of its creation, all Higher Education Institutions started to submit their training offer (study cycles) to the agency's accreditation for compliance with guarantee and promotion of quality.

The entire training offer of higher education at UAlg, aimed at obtaining a degree (bachelor's, master's and doctorate), was analyzed in the first cycle of assessment / accreditation by A3ES. The accreditation decisions as well as the corresponding evaluation reports can be consulted in the information related to each course, in the A3ES database ( link ).

As of the 2017/2018 academic year, the second assessment / accreditation cycle, duly planned and distributed by grouping, will begin until 2021/22.

Certification of the Internal Quality Assurance System

Higher Education Institutions may voluntarily submit their Internal Quality Assurance Systems to an audit process with a view to their certification by the Higher Education Assessment and Accreditation Agency (A3ES).

In 2017, UAlg decided to propose its Internal Quality Assurance System (SIGQUAlg) for certification by A3ES ( link ), and the Board of Directors decided to certify SIGQUAlg ( link ).

This external recognition and certification is in line with the differentiation strategy intended by UAlg, based on its strengths, the affirmation of the institution at national and international levels and the continuous improvement of its training offer and the institution as a whole.
 

Institutional Accreditation

In 2017, UAlg integrated the A3ES institutional assessment process ( link ). This process appears as a natural closure of a complete cycle of assessment / accreditation of the study cycles and which aims to cover the institutional dimensions and the respective training offer. The Board of Directors decided to certify ( link )

According to A3ES “The institutional assessment focuses on the quality of performance of the higher education institution, globally considered, and on each of its organic units, with a view to providing a general and integrated view of the Institution and each of its organizational structures autonomous. ”

Responsibility and availability of information on teaching activities

SOURCES OF INFORMATION Responsible Deadlines
Deadlines for preparation of the academic year: definition of the training offer, of the curricular units, distribution of the teaching service, schedules and enrollment in classes Rector (Rector's Order), after hearing the Organic Units By the end of February of the previous school year
Academic calendar Rector (Rector's Order), after hearing the Organic Units Until July 31 of the previous academic year
School calendar Rector (Rector's Order), after hearing the Organic Units Until July 31 of the previous academic year
Head and UC faculty Scientific Council and OU Director Until June 30 of the previous academic year
FICHA DE UNIDADE CURRICULAR (SUBJECT FORM) Proposed by the person responsible for the course and validated by the course director, according to the FUC guide Until July 31 of the previous academic year, in accordance with the UAlg General Evaluation Regulations
School timetable Pedagogical Council and OU Director Until 1st week of July of the previous academic year
Relevant pedagogical summaries and materials Head and UC faculty On the day of the class and up to 72 hours after, according to the General Regulation of the UAlg.
Student Ratings Head of UC With a minimum advance of 3 working days in relation to the date of the evaluation in relation to the next evaluation of the same course unit, according to the general evaluation regulation of the UAlg

Responsibility for deadlines related to the application of teaching and learning monitoring instruments

SOURCES OF INFORMATION Responsible Deadlines
Continuous monitoring of teaching and learning Course Director No deadline
Questionnaires to the Teaching and Learning Perception of Teachers and Students GAQ Constants of the SIMEA Standard
UC Report Head of UC Constants of the SIMEA Standard
Course Report Course Director Constants of the SIMEA Standard
OU course reports Pedagogical Council Constants of the SIMEA Standard
Approval of improvement measures for courses Scientific / Technical-Scientific Council Constants of the SIMEA Standard
Self-assessment report for OU courses Director of Organic Unit Constants of the SIMEA Standard

Pedagogical Monitoring

2018/2019

2017/2018

2016/2017

Active Life Insertion

CNE Report - Characterization of new students

New Students in 2017/2018

Rankings

 
 
 
Contacts

Assessment and Quality Office
Gambelas Campus, building 9 - 3.84 (2nd floor)
E-mail: gaq@ualg.pt

Vice-Rector for Community, Evaluation and Quality: Ana de Freitas

Quality Manager: Sofia Custódio

Technical team: Teresa Soeiro, Pedro Rodrigues e Vanessa Oliveira