Memorial University’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) was recognized on Sunday, June 14 with a national award from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO). Placing second in the national category of the 2009 Quality and Productivity Awards Program, DELT accepted the award at a ceremony at the CAUBO annual conference in Ottawa, Ontario.
The recognition was the result of a three-year journey to create and register a quality management system that would ensure the highest level of service to students, faculty and community partners. In April, 2008, DELT became the first distance education unit in Canada to be certified by the International Organization for Standardization, achieving ISO 9001:2008 quality management system designation.
Ann Marie Vaughan, director of DELT, is particularly grateful about this award because it reflects the hard work of the 90 employees who contributed to put the system in place.
“This acknowledgement from CAUBO is a result of the commitment and effort of every individual in this unit,” she said. “They worked hard to establish the roles and processes for our services, which are now assured as having an international standard of quality. For a growing organization this system helps ensure customer satisfaction and a continuous evaluation of our processes. It will also help us carry out our entrepreneurial vision to advance distance and online education, as well as our core service functions that support teaching and learning at Memorial.”
To achieve ISO certification by the unit had to garner a strong commitment and focus from leadership and staff towards a common vision. With full staff engagement and ownership of the process, implementation of the project became a rewarding and positive experience, and ultimately, resulted in a cultural shift within the organization.
In addition to benefiting employees, certification of DELT’s management system enhances its competitive position as a distance and online education provider, and positions it as a leader in the adoption of effective teaching and learning technologies. By standardizing and continuously evaluating its operations, the unit has a system to ensure its products and services maintain an internationally accepted level of quality.
“This award truly illustrates the exceptional work that advances Memorial University’s reputation as a leading Canadian institution,” said Kent Decker, vice-president (administration and finance). “DELT has implemented a system that positively impacts the institution as a whole, and with over 30 nominations for this award from universities across Canada, it is fitting that they are being recognized for this success.”
Memorial’s distance education capabilities makes it the largest among Canadian comprehensive universities. Currently offering over 350 undergraduate and graduate degree courses from ten faculties and schools, distance education has surpassed 16,000 registrations annually from across the province and around the world. DELT strives for excellence in each of its core functions including course development, course delivery and service, teaching and learning support and multimedia design and production capabilities. As a result, the setting of quality standards and assurance for all of its products and services is a strategic priority and a means for continued growth and long-term success both nationally and internationally.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the world's largest developer and publisher of international standards, is a network of the national standards institutes of some 157 countries. It is a non-governmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. Therefore, ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society.
The ISO 9000 family of standards represents an international consensus on good quality management practices. It consists of standards and guidelines relating to quality management systems and related supporting standards.
ISO 9001:2008 provides a set of standardized requirements for a quality management system, regardless of what the user organization does, its size, or whether it is in the private, or public sector. It is the only standard in the family against which organizations can be registered.