Quality Assurance Program for Higher Education Pedagogy

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm with Lunch to Follow
Academic Innovation Studio, Dwinelle 117 
Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy

Join us for a presentation from Michael O'Hare, Professor of Public Policy, on a Quality Assurance Program for Higher Education Pedagogy. Modern quality assurance for manufacturing and service industries, for academic research, and for affectively-dense and craft-skill- dependent professions like the arts and medicine, share a few core principles:

  •    Measure everything, and learn from exceptions and variation
  •    Watch each other work and institutionalize coaching up, down, and sideways
  •    Not dependent on prizes and individual rewards
  •    Manage the time derivative of performance, not absolute-scale measure
  •    Expect continuous improvement with no ceiling

Quality assurance for teaching in higher education is strikingly innocent of all of these, but it doesn't have to be. This seminar will be a short provocation followed by discussion of practices that could increase student learning (and reduce costs of all kinds) as they have in so many other fields of endeavor. Note that our emphasis will be not on particular "better teaching practices" but on management of the teaching function, to find and diffuse those, whatever they are. 


Trained at Harvard as an architect and engineer, Michael O’Hare came to Berkeley after teaching positions at MIT and Harvard’s Kennedy School, and “real-world” employment at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. His research history has included periods of attention to biofuels and global warming policy, environmental policy generally including the “NIMBY problem” and facility siting, arts and cultural policy, public management, and higher education pedagogy. O’Hare was the principal investigator for Berkeley’s contract research for the California Air Resources Board for implementation of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and published most recently on fuel policies for global warming reduction, especially biofuels, their “indirect land use change” and food price effects, and the importance of time and uncertainty in relating fuel carbon intensity to warming policy.

He has been editor of the Curriculum and Case Notes section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, is currently an associate editor of the Journal of Public Affairs Education, and has published frequently on quality assurance and best practices in professional teaching. Since coming to Cal he has done applied research for government and nonprofit clients on diverse topics including funding of the state Fish and Game Department, surface mining reclamation, nuclear waste disposal and high-speed rail siting, and revitalizing county fairs. He is a regular faculty member of the school’s mid-career executive programs, and has had visiting positions at Università Bocconi, the National University of Singapore, and Université Paul Cézanne (Aix-Marseille).

He is the GSPP chair of the school’s undergraduate minor and usually teaches one of the two semester offerings of the undergraduate introduction to policy analysis.  His other courses cycle among arts and cultural policy, a program and policy design studio, a second-year elective for masters students at GSPP and ERG on optimization and risk models, and an APA section.