Accreditation Edge

Turn your IQAC from a position of a thankless job to a highly thankful job

You are potentially a team-quality, but perhaps your faculty peers perceive you otherwise-a team on the prowl for data collection. *Mission- top NAAC grade and NIRF ranking has kept you in a spin. You always find that the activities you should have done 5 years or 4 years ago can’t be done now. So, what alternative are you left with? This is the biggest dilemma you confront as Dir IQAC. The patent fault is that IQAC or say, Quality Assurance body was not truly functional. Now your table has a pile of more of ‘true lies’ than authentic data. Till yesterday, you were so pure, like a driven-snow, but today, in the mad pursuit of set targets, you have jumped the boat to embrace “saam, daam, dand, bhed” and broken your soft within. It is surely not in your nature.

* It doesn’t end here. You’re a source of trouble for the departments to send you data and supporting documents. You or your institute didn’t think ahead of time and put into place, a radical reform in data collection, collation, analysis through a digital mechanism, and lo ! now you seethe and suffer.

* I am aware you deeply desire to feel a boundless pride in your IQAC and want to be seen disarmingly authentic quality people who drive processes and systems that reflect on super-good governance, efficiency and stakeholders’ satisfaction. So, you want a solution because you are entrusted with a mission to get a Top NAAC Grade. Here is a run-down:-

1. Set up a Data Mechanism A two-men dedicated excel trained team called Management Info System(MIS) contiguous to the Registrar’s office with a desk top each, integrated to the ERP. This would make data viewable ‘live’ on the mobile ERP of each IQAC member/concerned person requiring access.

2. IQAC to prepare not more than 15 data templates and circulate to MIS and embed it in the ERP. For example, one data template could be on ‘faculty’ that contains complete information on faculty, similar to the NIRF faculty format, and more to meet requirements of NAAC, NiRF, AISHE, e-regulatory Approvals and periodical Reports. The filters within the excel should be used to pull out any information on faculty. Similarly make it for the rest of 14 exhaustive templates. The entire IQAC, academic, admin, infra, governance data duly updated real-time by the MIS should be accessible through ERP linked mobile for any official use. MIS would basically work as an extension arm of your ERP. If you don’t have an ERP, never mind. Use this data as a standalone resource.

3. MIS to keep confidential data, like financial balance sheet, MoMs etc. protected by a password.

4. IQAC to set up a Mechanism for the *seamless flow of data to the MIS*. It would require to plan and lay down various events, initiatives, activities with dates on baseline documents (a) Institute Academic Calendar (b) FDP, Staff Development and National/international conferences calendar with annual approved budget (c) Prepare Co-curricular, extra curricular activity calendar (d) Prepare Social Extension activities calendar (e) Prepare Department calendar of students VAC, competitive examinations’ schemes timetable, Slow learner’s classes calendar. A leading NAAC consultant should be able to recommend the numbers and size of activities and events to suitable strike a balance with the curriculum.

5. IQAC to lay down SOP for the Chief organiser of any event/activity (be a faculty or student) who would prepare a 200 words word file “Report” with details and impact/outcome on the last day of event with at least two pictures on high megapixel camera, geo-tagged and submit to the MIS, Digital Media Press and Social media before leaving the event venue and must NOT leave it to the next day.

Data issues resolved, now I share with you leveraging many years of experience as top NAAC consultant in India, on how to earn respect of all while leading your IQAC:-

1. IQAC not to limit the role to merely an accreditation and ranking. Flag IQAC compelling quality initiatives and issues requiring Management/GB approvals and financial support. Be free and fearless and seek meeting with Management once in 15 days. They want to listen to you. It is you who lack gumption to be upfront and serious in your pursuit. Prepare your brief based on the Institute’s Strategic Plan and IQAC goals, to include but not limited to Students and Faculty Development, Research pursuits, Students skilling, Quality benchmarks for each program, ERP and EMS upgradation, Teaching tools adoption, NAAC, NIRF, NEP, latest Regulatory notifications n’ developments, progress on “Students’ First” initiatives etc. Think Big !

2. Never rush into NAAC in a jiffy. It is my personal view that there is no harm in seeking views on capacity-building from a top NAAC consultant or carefully selected best NAAC agency. All private foreign accreditation agencies, like ABET and AACSB etc. send their accreditation consultants to the applying institutes to assist in reports-making as a mandatory requirement. It is not online or verbal interaction; it is physical.

Pay focus on research. It takes time to build research capacity. Fill up IIQA after 31 Dec to secure advantage of full year publications of the just completed calendar year as it would invariably have far more publications and citations as well as a bit better h-index as compared to the previous calendar year. Write a content in Qualitative metrics only what you can demonstrate on ground.

3. Don’t just ask data and supporting documents from the Departments. Ask them to hold activities and churn out data out of activities. This way, they shall hold you more in respect. Help them understand initiative/metric and template well in advance by 2 to 3 years and monitor it in IQAC reviews.

4. Be on ground to see the initiatives transferring into action and be a part of their lab/field experience. Don’t get stuck to armchair mode. For example, if you get to invite MSMEs to your campus to see students capstone and final-year projects, be part of their learning journey and reward them while they demonstrate their innovation. You are not a worm to be found in the confines of IQAC Cell. You are a lynch pin in the giant wheel of your university on the move. Make your presence count 👍

Prof JR Sharma-HEIs mentor

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