Students' Role in the Studied Dutch Faculty

In the following, students' stakeholder position at the investigated Dutch Faculty is determined following the stakeholder typology of Mitchell et al. (1997) and by triangulating the collected data from the institutional documents and semi-structured interviews, and the student survey (see Table 2). Findings from the collected data show that in the Dutch Faculty students are regarded as weak Definitive stakeholders within the Faculty's IQA processes.

When combining the insights coming from different sources on students' salience as stakeholders we observed that students had a rather sceptical estimation of their power and influence potential on the Faculty's IQA processes. Nevertheless, despite such self-perception of students, their power was asserted as noted in the interviews with academic and administrative staff and as noted in the institutional documents. They have asserted that students' feedback leads to frequent changes in the curricula of study programmes and courses.

In terms of urgency, students and academics jointly confirmed that students have urgent claims to safeguard the quality of higher education. Regarding legitimacy, both parties acknowledge that students are vital and legitimacy partners in internal quality assurance process (Faculty Regulation 2010). In addition, the non-transparency of internal quality measures and the non-communication of implemented measures to students are jointly criticized by students and academic staff. This limits students' ability to follow up if their feedback is taken into

Table 2 Students as stakeholder in the Dutch faculty

Desk research (institutional view)

Semi-structured interviews (institutional view)

Survey (student opinion and student association)


Programme Director has to react on student feedback

Internal check-up system

Institution wants to meet students' needs to retain number of enrolled students

Students have power: Frequent changes to courses and study programme based on student feedback Influence on teachers' promotion potential

• Limited power (Students do not know if their feedback has an influence on the quality of education or have a low estimation of their power potential)


• Integration of students in all major internal quality assurance

bodies (Faculty Regulation 2010)

• Students legitimate partners in all major internal quality assurance bodies—lack of transparency regarding feedback implementation

• Legitimate partners in all major internal quality assurance bodies

• Lack of transparency regarding feedback implementation


• Possibility of complaints via Student Association and Examination Committee

• Students have urgent claims (fast participation in quality evaluation instruments)

• Safeguarding of the quality of education and teaching is important

Source Desk research, semi-structured interviews and student survey (2013)

account. This points to weaker stakeholder position. We thus conclude that in this regard student's legitimacy position is limited (see Fig. 2). Overall, it can be concluded that students are weak Definitive Stakeholders in the Dutch Faculty's IQA processes (see Fig. 2).

In this case study we have seen that students have power and their claims have urgency. At the same time students' legitimacy is limited as even though the student feedback is taken into consideration, this is not evident to students and is not made transparent. This lack of transparency, which is confirmed by both parties, leads to a limitation of students' legitimacy position within the internal quality assurance system. At the same time, given their representation in all major internal quality assurance committees they have strong power and urgency. Still their limited legitimacy points out that they are not perceived as Definitive Stakeholders in the Dutch case study context.

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