Back To Schedule
Thursday, December 10 • 3:00pm - 3:50pm
Comparing differing perspectives on a shared experience: University administrators’ and faculty members’ perceptions of quality in Canadian higher education (Poster)

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Conceptions of quality and approaches to quality assurance of academic programs have been receiving a great deal of attention both globally and locally (Altbach, 2010). Discussions surrounding quality and quality assessment at the postsecondary level are reverberating throughout the academy. With rapidly increasing student enrollment, educational stakeholders demanding greater accountability, and the increased desire for international recognition, discussions have intensified and led to the need for greater clarification with regards to how quality is defined, experienced and assessed.

This poster reports the results of two recent qualitative investigations, which focus on quality and quality assurance in Canadian higher education. These studies were conducted to better understand university administrators’ and faculty members’ conceptions of quality and experiences with institutional quality assurance processes. The following research question guided both studies: What conceptions of quality do university administrators/faculty members hold?

Aiming to explore notions of quality, both studies utilized a phenomenographic approach. Phenomenography is the “empirical study of the differing ways in which people experience, perceive, apprehend, understand, and conceptualize various phenomena in an aspect of the world around us” (Marton, 1994, 4428). To collect the qualitative data, open-ended interviews were conducted with administrators and faculty members in Ontario postsecondary institutions.

This poster outlines the background of the study and the methods utilized. Additionally, the poster will compare the results and present the two models that emerged from each study.



Altbach, P. G. (2010). The realities of mass higher education in a globalized world. In D.B. Johnstone (Ed.), Higher education in a global society (pp. 25-41). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Marton, F. (1994) Phenomenography: A research approach to investigating the different understandings of reality. Journal of Thought, 21(3), 28-49.


Danielle Gabay

McMaster University

Lori Goff

McMaster University
Lori Goff is the Manager of Program Enhancement at McMaster University. Her research interests in peer mentoring and quality enhancement are fundamentally focused on enhancing students’ learning experiences within the university context

Thursday December 10, 2015 3:00pm - 3:50pm EST
McMaster Innovation Park Atrium