Universities in Mainz and Potsdam collaborate with Vietnamese universities on quality management

International exchange of experience in university governance and quality assurance


Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the University of Potsdam have joined with the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (UEH) and Can Tho University in Vietnam to initiate a project to exchange ideas of and to gain mutual insights into university governance and quality assurance. Through the ComO QM – Quality Management in Complex Organizations project, financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), there will be a reciprocal exchange of experiences with the two Vietnamese universities based on so-called ‘collegial audits’ of university administration, faculty management, teaching staff, and quality assurance systems. The Center for Quality Assurance and Development at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the Center for Quality Development in Teaching and Studies at the University of Potsdam have developed a collegial audit concept that is not based upon a traditional evaluation approach but is rather intended to help institutions learn from one another. "This form of audit focuses on documenting and analyzing experiences in different cultural higher education environments. The unique feature of this procedure is that it systematically brings together universities at various levels with regard to specific topics," emphasized Professor Mechthild Dreyer, Vice President for Learning and Teaching at Mainz University. In addition to conducting collegial audits, the German and Vietnamese partners also plan to develop shared survey instruments and undertake comparative surveys at all participating universities.

In early October 2015, representatives from the universities in Mainz and Potsdam visited the Vietnamese universities for an initial audit. Here, all partners gained insight into the fundamentally different requirements and procedures in university governance and quality assurance in Germany and in Vietnam. "We were impressed by the dynamism of the two Vietnamese universities when it came to initiating change processes and how they manage to maintain a distinct international orientation while still taking local needs into account adequately," added Professor Dieter Wagner, former Vice-President of the University of Potsdam.

Funding for the project is provided until 2018. A second peer audit will take place in May 2016 when representatives of the two Vietnamese universities will visit Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the University of Potsdam.