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ERIC Number: EJ820091
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: ISSN-1353-8322
Exploring Quality in a University Department: Perspectives and Meanings
Houston, Don; Robertson, Tom; Prebble, Tom
Quality in Higher Education, v14 n3 p209-223 Nov 2008
This paper examines the potential of critical systems thinking enacted through "total systems intervention" to explore quality and to promote improvement in a university academic department. Critical systems approaches, building on commitments to the systems idea, sociological awareness, methodological pluralism and human improvement, can help to structure problems as a precursor to problem solving. Total systems intervention was used initially to structure the "quality problem" for an academic unit within a university in New Zealand from the perspective of internal stakeholders. For staff and student participants, the quality problem mainly related to better promoting learning. Analysis and reflection on the problem and local context drawing on systems methodologies identified underlying tensions and issues and shaped specific interventions for improvements in learning. A systemic perspective on quality and critical systems approaches are likely to be of value in encouraging debate and promoting different interventions to improve quality. They offer a diversity of methods to help improve complex socio-psychological systems like a university department. (Contains 1 figure.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand