COPPA, COPIA and also many professional bodies require that academic programmes are aligned with or to the higher education institution’s (HEI) vision. I have always found it extremely challenging to explain the why, when, where, what and how of this standard in COPPA and COPIA to panels during training. This imperative is based on a dominant rational strategic management school which holds that vision (and mission) must drive the activities of an organisation. Makes eminent sense, doesn’t it? Are there sound empirical and knowledge grounds to require or insist on such a link? Does vision truly shape the actions and activities of the HEIs? Should the HEIs be asked to explain or account for the connection? What criteria can be used in checking on the connection? What if the vision is vague, rhetorical, general, all inclusive or unshared? How can we evaluate the alignment?

The dominant rational strategic management school would consider it sacrileges to talk about strategic planning without such organisational compass. But this is not an uncontested rule. Collins (of the Good to Great fame) and his kind do not think too much of it. My own little experience shows that many in the corporate Apex don’t remember it when making key plans. I often joking refer to this as corporate paraphernalia or embellishments! Fortunately, the panels have avoided this issue by assuming the HEIs have vision checked their programmes. So has MQA. Should this be the case?

Hazman Shah Abdullah
Institut Kualiti dan Pengembangan Ilmu
Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)
29th January 2015

Vision Checking