A comprehensive, formal quality system is implemented at the University of Iceland. The system monitors the university's statutory role as regards teaching and research, as well as its administration, operations and service. The quality system encourages innovation, improved performance and the increased autonomy of staff, as well as cooperation where planning, operations, control and reaction form a process of continuous improvement. The benchmark of the quality system is policy formation and implementation of quality assurance systems at universities and associations of universities abroad, in particular the European University Association (EUA), as well as public and independent quality assurance agencies.
The Rector is responsible for the university's quality system, and deans and directors are responsible for that procedures comply to quality standards within their respective units. A Quality Assurance Manager is responsible for the actual execution of the quality system in lieu of the Rector and in cooperation with the central administration. The Rector meets with the deans once a month, to discuss e.g. the performance and development of the quality system. Furthermore, a quality assurance advisory board, referring to the Rector, operates within the university. The responsibility of the board is to supervise the performance of the quality system, discuss and coordinate the performance of particular elements and provide suggestions about the system's development, follow-up and improvements.
The quality system is founded on strategy formation, which has taken place at University General Forums since the University of Iceland Act No. 41/1999 came into effect. The first stage was the approval of the University of Iceland Research and Education Policy at the University General Forum 6th April 2001. The second stage, commenced immediately thereafter, was for all University of Iceland faculties, and some additional institutions, to set down detailed five-year development plans, taking e.g. the Research and Education Policy into consideration. The third stage of the strategy was a plan for the strengthening of the University of Iceland 2002-2005, which includes both clear goals and measurable actions, and is also in line with the University of Iceland Research and Education Policy. All stages of the strategy are compatible with strategic performance management.
The quality system is twofold. Firstly it encompasses incentive, evaluation and control systems regarding students, staff and collaborators. The main elements of the quality system are findings of evaluation committees assessing the qualifications of applicants for new appointments and academic promotions; an evaluation procedure for research; teaching assessment; assessment of courses and administration; as well as decisions on performance-related pay, performance-based funding and competitive funding. Secondly, the university's quality system encompasses various information systems, which emphasise the precise collection and effective distribution of all information on the operations of the university; e.g. the Registration Office's student registration system, document management (GoPro), financial accounting (Oracle), research database for the Division of Science and Innovation, databases containing key facts and figures, Computer Services' web system, a human resource database for the Division of Human Resources, and a database for the National and University Library of Iceland.
In addition, standard operating procedures and quality guidelines regarding various processes and procedures, from admission of new students and recruitment of new employees, to promotion of academic staff and specialists and graduation, are part of the quality system.