Tender handed stroke a nettle
And it stings you for your pains
Grasp it like a man of mettle
And it soft as silk remains
(Hill A 1753)
Education’s role in quality management is one which requires a bold and clearly profiled approach, if it is to enhance quality thresholds and ensure that they remain fit for tomorrow’s purpose in all areas in which they are to be used. This is particularly the case where quality arrangements serve multiple masters, through professional regulation as well as academic assurance. This paper will ask the question whether the role of education should be to simply ensure the achievement of quality management as prescribed by governing bodies or whether there is a greater need for all to ‘grasp the nettle’ and drive quality debates, thus changing the landscape expectations of quality in education from the roots of practice. Using examples from professional higher education in healthcare practice and applying debates exercised in the development of the PHExcel framework for Excellence in Professional Higher Education will facilitate discussion about the roles of university and sectoral education organisations in determining their future goals in quality management.
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