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UFS hosts Commonwealth universities
2005-08-25

The University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein will host delegates from 14 universities across the Commonwealth next week as part of a programme to measure and promote excellence in university management.

The workshop will be held from Monday, 29 August to Wednesday, 31 August 2005 as part of the Commonwealth University Management Benchmarking Programme, run by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).

It is the first time that the UFS will host the workshop and the second time that it is held in South Africa. 

“The purpose of the programme is to promote and measure excellence in university management.  Unlike other university benchmarking programmes that focus on matters such as research output, the programme run by the ACU follows a process benchmarking approach and aims to identify and promote best practice and quality assurance,” said Prof Magda Fourie, Vice-Rector: Academic Planning at the UFS.

According to Prof Fourie the programme runs on an annual basis and works on a quality improvement cycle.  Every year certain areas of university management are evaluated by a panel of international assessors.  This year it focuses on strategic planning, recruitment and retention of staff, and branding. 
If weaknesses are identified, plans are compiled which should result in  an upward spiral of continued quality improvement.

“The UFS has been taking part in the programme for the past five years.  Last year we fared particularly well with the evaluation of our change management and engagement with the community,” said Prof Fourie. 

“The ACU benchmarking programme is a useful forum in which we can measure ourselves against  our peers.  It will also help us to prepare for the audit of the effectiveness of our quality assurance policies and systems, which will be conducted in October 2006 by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council for Higher Education (CHE),” said Prof Fourie.

Other universities that will take part in the workshop include the Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of Glamorgan in the United Kingdom, the University of Northern British Columbia in Canada, the Central Queensland University, the Monash University in Australia, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).


Media release
Issued by:  Lacea Loader
   Media Representative
   Tel:  (051) 401-2584
   Cell:  083 645 2454
   E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
25 August 2005
 

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