< < < PLANNING EVALUATION PROJECT MANAGEMENT HUMAN DEVELOPMENT SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT BIODIVERSITY

QUALITY ASSURANCE

The Master is supported by a system of quality assurance. This system is integrated by a series of criteria and procedures that have the final objective of guaranteeing the quality of training and services for students and promoting continuous actions for program improvement. These criteria are in keeping with the criteria and procedures necessary for carrying out the accreditation of Master’s degree programs proposed by the ANECA .

Next, mechanisms and procedures of this system are defined that enable follow-up and evaluation of the development and outcomes of the program through each course, and determine opportune actions for improvement.  It is about a system of follow-up and evaluation constituted by two main elements: an information system and self-evaluation system

Information system

The information system makes it possible to generate, gather and save all information necessary for a proper follow-up and evaluation of the program. Five elements support this information system: a database where Master’s basic data are gathered for each year; a survey of graduate students; a continuous evaluation made by the students to assess their classes; FMT reports; and participative workshops with students and professors.

Master’s basic data

The Technical Secretariat of the Master each year gathers basic Master information on database regarding:

Pre-registered, admitted and registered students.

Student participation in proposed activities.

Student participation in mobility programs (with information relative to the type of program and the duration of stays in months).

Graduation rate: Percentage of students who finish the learning in the period foreseen in the plan of studies (d) or in academic year plus (d+1) with respect to admission cohort.

Retirement rate: Percentage relationship among the total number of students of a cohort of new admission who must obtain the degree the previous academic year and have not registered for this academic year or for the next academic year.

Efficiency rate: Percentage relationship between the total number of theoretical credits of the plan of studies that the group of graduate students have been registered for in a certain academic year and the total number of credits that students have really been registered for.

Study duration Average duration in years that the registered student takes to pass the necessary credits.

Survey of graduate students

The survey of graduate students makes it possible to gather information about the future of students who finish the Master. The survey makes it possible to suggest improvements for the program. Students provide information regarding their current labor situation, tasks that are part of their jobs and the level of job satisfaction.

Continuous evaluation of the students’ performance

At the end of each day of on-campus class, students fill out a survey in order to assess (from 0 to 5) their previous knowledge of the subject taught and evaluate their classes regarding their content, the teaching methodology and the procedures used, documentation and the professor’s presentation. Also, students should assess the work required to coordinate each subject and complete a section where they talk about the things they observe. This information is gathered and introduced into an Excel spreadsheet to provide an average of the student’s assessments for each class and make summaries for each of the subjects and modules of the program.  Because of these surveys, information is available about student opinion for each of master sessions taught by different program professors and guest professors.  The immediate response from this kind of survey allows students to provide very interesting information about particular classes in order to make improvements for the next Master’s Program.

FMT Report

On the submission day for the Final Master’s Thesis, students must also submit their report to the Technical Secretariat of Master. This report includes the follow-up of meetings between the tutor and the student and a questionnaire in which the student assesses the work completed with the tutor during the execution of the FMT. In this report, the student assesses the tutor’s work; adjustment of research made by foreseen expectations; possible mobility (center, place, duration, financing), as well as laboratory or field work that could be necessary for research; research outcomes (articles, papers to Congresses, patents, registries); possible limitations, etc, for the follow-up and improvement of tutoring sessions; and conditions for the Final Master’s Thesis execution.

Participative workshops

At the end of the course, two participative workshops are conducted. The first one involves students who have studied the subjects of the program, and the second one involves professors and academic individuals responsible for the program, including the Academic Commission and Quality and its Technical Secretariat. Each workshop lasts from one to two hours and is organized through participative techniques that allow discussion about the following aspects in a dynamic way:

  • General Master Assessment, in terms of weaknesses and strengths.

  • Assessment for online training period, previous to the on-campus stage of the Master.

  • Assessment for on-campus period of the Master in each of its subjects.

  • Assessment of tutor sessions.

The first of the workshops - with students - is designed to listen to the students’ voices as well as their improvement proposals in order to enhance successive editions of the program. This information – along with the rest of information generated by the described information system – is gathered and analyzed in an evaluation report which is given to all professors and academic individuals responsible for the Master.  In the period of some days, where there is plenty of time to study the report, the second workshop is organized. In this workshop, professors and academic individuals responsible for the Master argue about obtained outcomes and the students’ suggestions are incorporated in the evaluation report.

Self-evaluation system

The Master’s self-evaluation system consists of defining a series of elements of the program that are essential for its good development. These aspects guide the analysis made by all involved people in the program, within the system of designed quality assurance. Once these key aspects are defined, self-evaluation is mainly focused on participative workshops and meetings with the Technical Commission of the Program.  

The definitive version of the evaluation report comes from the last workshop held by professors and people involved in the program. This is analyzed by the Academic Commission and Quality of the Master in its meeting at the end of the Master’s program.  They analyze evaluation outcomes and decide on the improvements that will be introduced into the program. In this meeting, each of key aspects of the Master is carefully analyzed and definitive improvement proposals are made. Guidelines to implement definitive proposals are developed from the annual meeting of this Commission, at the beginning of the Master’s Program.  The start-up is organized from the Technical Secretariat of the Master.  From this Secretariat, coordination meetings are organized with academic professors and authorities to implement actions and improvements.

Key evaluation aspects

The information gathered in the information system makes it possible to learn about the performance of a series of key aspects and to analyze them.  These key aspects are:

Teaching

The follow-up and evaluation of this key aspect is supported by the information that comes from the information system previously described, including the evaluation for the adjustment of program objectives and teaching with regard to the content of the subjects being taught; teaching methodology and procedures used; and  documentation and presentation by the Master professors. Also, it includes the evaluation of outcomes of evaluation systems used by the students, and fulfillment of schedules and calendars.

Information publication system about the program, its development and outcomes

Several publications are available for those who are interested In participating in this Master program. Each year a list of postgraduate programs is printed by each participant university and this information is also included on its website. In addition, procedures that have UPM departments involved in the Master are also used: both their websites and noticeboards. Also, brochures are designed to disseminate information about the program in the university community, at professional schools and at other institutions related to the Master’s program.  Finally, a website of the program was designed and it is connected with the collaborative entities and with those networks of postgraduate programs that are considered suitable at the national and international levels.

There are also ways to access internal information for Master’s students and the teaching staff. The website has an access-restricted site that only teaching staff, students and academic individuals responsible for the PhD Program can access. There is also a digital platform for the development of anticipated teaching materials.  It is a site where programs, bibliography of compulsory reading, supplementary bibliography, didactic materials, and academic regulations, as well as all information relevant for program objectives, are gathered.  In this site’s forums and online, teaching modalities can be developed. This system is based on the Moodle platform. The function of the Technical Secretariat of the Master is to supervise the Master’s Program website and gather the necessary information from professors to maintain an updated site that describes the program, its development and the  outcome of projects.

Participation in academic mobility programs

The designed information system provides information regarding a student’s participation in mobility programs during his/her training period. The gathered information includes the number of students that have participated in a mobility program; financing organizations; duration of stays; and centers where stays are made for each year. Other information of interest includes the assessments that students make about stays. This is very valuable information for program professors and tutors to use when guiding students in future courses.

Attention to suggestions and complaints

In addition to institutional procedures that are in force at UPM, the Master’s Program authorizes official channels for the reception of suggestions and complaints, including: mailing addresses of the Master’s Technical Secretariat; phone number and office hours for the reception of suggestions and complaints; and email for receiving suggestions and complaints. These procedures and channels appear on the Master’s website and on the information sent to  students after their program enrollment.  With regard to all suggestions and complaints, the identity of the student, his/her relationship with the program and the channel through which the student wants to receive the answer to his/her suggestion or complaint is confidential. In a maximum period of 7 days, the Master’s Technical Secretariat will inform the applicant about the actions taken regarding his/her suggestion or complaint. The Secretariat keeps a record of suggestions and/ or complaints received, as well as actions taken, by mail or email address.

Academic and scientific production and its diffusion

All forms of scientific or academic production are included in this area. It is understood as a generation of knowledge as a result of activities made on the program and at disposal of other people. The design information system provides publications, contributions to scientific-professional meetings, and scientific-technical documents properly registered in the industrial or intellectual.

Job placement of graduated students in the program and grade of satisfaction with training received

This survey for graduated students provides information about their satisfaction with the training they’ve received and their job situation, including the type of job they perform and their degree of work satisfaction. In addition to this survey, it is also very important to make informal contact with graduated students to obtain information about where are they working (job insertion).

 

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