Conference article

Quality Education in Italian Universities

Salvatore La Rosa
University of Palermo, Dept. of National Accounting & Social Processes Analysis, Italy

Eva Lo Franco
University of Palermo, Dept. of National Accounting & Social Processes Analysis, Italy

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Published in: 10th QMOD Conference. Quality Management and Organiqatinal Development. Our Dreams of Excellence; 18-20 June; 2007 in Helsingborg; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 26:125, p.

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Published: 2008-02-15


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


In Italy; thanks to the recent reform of the higher education system (Ministerial Decree 509/99); university degree programs are shorter than in the past; and consequently; graduates enter the labour market earlier. Moreover; the implementation in Italian universities of rules shared at European level (for example: the introduction of information and linguistic courses in all degree programs; the adoption of a formative credits system) is widening labour market borders.

In the last ten years; universities have instituted several new degree programs; in order to differentiate their offer; and to meet current labour market demands and the expectations of future students. The introduction in degree programs of courses focused on topics related to “Quality” is a fairly recent phenomenon (Disney et al.; 2000); in particular topics that not are strictly related to statistical quality control; such as: quality management systems; quality awards; self-assessment models; etc.

According to Feigenbaum (1993); a national education system should recognize [.. the fact that quality is fundamentally a body of knowledge - a teachable body of knowledge that goes far deeper than a set of statistical and motivational courses - ..]. Moreover; he states that [Although quality has become a fundamental way of managing; it is simply not taught as a serious; integral area in economics today].

The survey carried out by the authors focuses on Quality education (Evans; 1996; Weinstein et al.; 1998) supplied by Italian universities and aims to verify if Feigenbaum’s assertion can be applied to Italian higher education.

The following section summarizes the new higher education rules. The main objectives of our explorative survey are then defined. Methodologies for sample selection and the analysis of course syllabi are described. Finally; we present our results and conclusions.


Quality education; Italian universities; exploratory survey; syllabus content


Bergman; B.; and Klefsjö; B.; (2003); Quality from customer needs to customer satisfaction (second edition); Studentlitteratur; Sweden.

Disney; J.; Crabtree; H.; Harrison; P.; (2000); “The case for undergraduate education in quality management”; Total Quality Management; 11 (4-6); pp.S574-S580.

Feigenbaum; A. V.; (1993); “We can’t improve American quality if we aren’t teaching it”; National Productivity Review; 12 (2); pp.139-141.

Evans; J. R.; (1996); “What should higher education be teaching about quality?”; Quality Progress; Vol. 29; No. 8; Aug; pp. 83-88.

Vazzana G.; Bachmann D.; Elfrink J.; (1997); “Does higher education practice what it teaches?”; Quality Progress; Vol. 30; No. 12; Dec; pp. 67-70.

Weinstein; L. B.; Petrick; J. A.; Saunders; P. M.; (1998); “What higher education should be teaching about quality – But is not”; Quality Progress; Vol. 31; No. 4; Apr; pp. 91-95.

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