Management practices and the quality of teaching and research in private chartered universities in Uganda
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This study examined the influence of management practices on the quality of teaching and research in private chartered universities in Uganda. Specifically, the study explored the influence of staff participation, monitoring of staff performance and staff development on the quality of teaching and research. The study was triggered by the increasing concern about the quality of graduates and the research output of private higher education institutions in the country. A cross-sectional survey design was adopted to carry out the study. Four private chartered universities were selected using disproportionate stratified random sampling, based on their foundation status, to participate in the study. Data were collected from 181 lecturers using the survey method. Deans, Heads of Department, Quality Assurance Officers, Directors of Research, senior officers from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and student leaders were interviewed. Document review and observation methods were used for validation and complementation of information. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlations and regression analyses, and content analysis methods. Results demonstrated a significant contribution of staff development and staff participation on the quality of teaching and research. However, there was no sufficient evidence to show that monitoring of staff performance significantly influences the quality of teaching and research. The results further revealed that staff development initiatives such as induction, mentoring and training were generally lacking in all the universities studied. Findings also suggested that performance monitoring was oriented towards judging and controlling rather than enhancement of professional growth and development. The findings further revealed that staff participation in activities that would enhance the quality of teaching and research such as planning, budgeting and setting targets were inadequate. However, the results showed that some of the universities have come up with internal measures to improve the quality of their teaching and research such as creating special categories of lecturers to facilitate the research function, putting emphasis on field learning to develop students’ practical skills and providing internal platforms on which lecturers can publish their research work. Therefore, the researcher concluded that the use of favourable management practices would enhance the quality of teaching and research. The study thus recommends that private universities develop more user-friendly methods of performance monitoring such as agreeing on targets, giving constructive feedback on performance and rewarding staff basing on performance reviews. Since most private universities are resource-constrained, they should create collaborations among themselves to support each other especially in the area of research and also to benchmark from each other best practices. A model of shared governance should be adopted for effective and efficient management of the private universities.