Quality assurance and institutional research in higher education

Role of students in quality assurance

Klemenčič has examined the role of students in quality assurance in European context. In the 2018 chapter The student voice in quality assessment and improvement, Klemenčič argues that the trend in liberal higher education has been to afford students enhanced capabilities to intervene in their higher education environments, especially in quality assessment, accountability and performance. For liberal educational approaches, students are central in three ways. First, HE is expected to prepare students to become agentic individuals. To this end, progressive pedagogical practices, which entail active learning activities, have been put in use. Furthermore, students’ extracurricular engagements have become integrated into the expanded notions of HEIs’ responsibility over student experiences. Second, understanding students - their attitudes, preferences, capabilities, and behaviours - is becoming a vital task for HE professionals. Third, as more countries are adapting liberal education, students are constructing new roles, and new types of authority in HE governance. Klemenčič analyzes the areas and pathways for student involvement in promoting quality investigating both the rationales and student motivations for such involvement. She also addresses controversies related to student involvement in quality: acceptance of students as “peers”, tokenistic involvement of students in decision processes, and the “domestication” of students.

In the 2015 chapter The student voice in quality assessment and improvement, Klemenčič explores the institutional conditions and organizational culture that shape student agency in structures and processes towards quality enhancement. The framework Klemenčič develops present a shift from the traditional focus on how colleges and universities can assure educational quality to how students are co-responsible for and contribute to the wellbeing and advancement of their colleges and universities. 

Relevant publications

Klemenčič, M. (2018) The student voice in quality assessment and improvement. In Ellen Hazelkorn, Hamish Coates and Alex McCormick (eds.) Research Handbook on Quality, Performance and Accountability in Higher Education, pp. 332-343 (Edward Elgar Publishing)

Klemenčič, M. (2017) From student engagement to student agency: conceptual considerations of European policies on student-centered learning in higher education. Higher Education Policy 30 (1): 69–85

Klemenčič, M., Martin Žnidaršič, Anže Vavpetič, and Matej Martinc (Department of Knowledge Technologies, Jožef Stefan Institute) (2017) Erasmus students’ involvement in quality enhancement of Erasmus+ mobility through digital ethnography and ErasmusShouts. Studies in Higher Education 42(5): 925-932

Klemenčič, M. (2015) Student involvement in quality enhancement. In Jeroen Huisman, Harry de Boer, David Dill and Manuel Souto-Otero (eds.) The Handbook of Higher Education Policy and Governance, pp. 526-543 (Palgrave Macmillan)

Klemenčič, M., Chirikov, I. (2015) On the use of student surveys. In Remus Pricopie, Peter Scott, Jamil Salmi and Adrian Curaj (eds.) Future of Higher Education. Volume I and II. Dordrecht: Springer


Quality assurance and institutional research in Europe, and Central and Eastern Europe

Klemenčič has also researched the characteristics of the institutional research and quality assurance in the European context, and especially in Central European countries. Her main focus has been on the diffusion of European policies to national and institutional contexts as well as institutional path dependencies and  national systemic legacies that have impaired such diffusion, and may have stalled policy convergence.

Relevant publications

Klemenčič, M. (2016) EAIR 2015 Keynote: The role of Institutional Research Positioning in Universities: Practices in Central and Eastern European countries. In Prichard, R., Taylor, J. and Pausits, A. (eds.) Positioning universities, pp. 3-18 (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers)

Klemenčič, M., Šćukanec, N., Komljenovič, J. (2015) Decision Support Issues in Central and Eastern Europe. In Karen Webber and Angel Calderon (eds.) Institutional Research and Planning in Higher Education in a Global Context (pp. 71-85). Routledge Press/Taylor & Francis

Klemenčič, M., Brennan, J. (2013) Institutional research in a European context: a forward look. In Special Issue on The Past, Present and Future of Higher Education Research: Between Scholarship and Policy Making. European Journal of Higher Education 3 (3) 2013: 265-279