Quality Circles Project

Quality and development projects –the Quality Circle approach

Quality CirclesAs a pioneering venture in UK education, the Quality Circles project seeks to involve students in collaborative endeavours that encourage continuous development.

The Quality Circles project is a novel method to develop real time employability skills. The project was initiated at University of Leicester by an MBA Alumnus of the School of Management in the year 2012. This is now a HEAR accredited activity.

Participants are given the opportunity to trial this knowledge, taking a real time issue to work with staff faculty from the School of Management in a collaborative project. This enables each student to take their idea and put it into action.

The concept behind Quality Circles

The Quality Circles project works on the original philosophy of Total Quality Management, an organisation-wide initiative which has been adopted in order to encourage sustained development. In brief, Quality Circles is a group of 4 to 8 people who define and solve a quality or performance related issue using different management tools. Quality Circle groups can involve students, members of staff or a combination of both. Members work on specific issues and design a model for future use, based around a specific target group. Quality Circles can aid management decision making whilst providing a safe platform to pilot an innovative idea.

Example issues

  • Effective use of Employer Engagement Programme
  • Lack of awareness about employability skills among students
  • Improving student experience

Objectives going forward

  • To involve students in partnership projects and encourage the development of employability skills (e.g. problem solving capability)
  • To inspire effective teamwork
  • To promote student involvement in organisational development
  • To create an effective selling point for the University of Leicester as a pioneer of the concept in the UK

Methods to employ

  • The Ishikawa Diagram - this is also known as the cause and effect diagram
  • The Pareto Chart – this is made on the basis of the Pareto Principle which states that when analysing a situation, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This therefore allows the discovery of the source of the most vital issues.
  • To implement a project in a time span of 6 to 8 weeks and observe the tangible and in-tangible benefits of this. At the end, best practices are made standard.

Quality Circles - Short term goals

Creating a platform for collaboration - Quality Circles will create a platform for students and staff to work in partnership on collaborative projects with a common objective.

Form a platform for academic research - students who are interested in similar areas could take the issue forward for further research, while gaining practical experience of management throughout their course.

International visibility and network formation - Student Quality circle case studies would be presented in various national and international forums. For example, the World Council for Total Quality and Excellence in Education (WCTQEE) holds several conferences in various countries which relate to student Quality Circles. The annual International Convention for Student Quality Circles (ISCQC) would also be a suitable platform for such presentations.

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