||The growing number of academic programmes and the amount of higher education institutions that offer them is a phenomenon present in different parts of the world today. It is reflected by an increase in coverage, the diversity of the educational offer and the student population’s heterogeneity. However, this does not always bring with it the same improvement in quality, which has led to the creation of external control methods and demands for public accountability. As a result, in order to respond to these demands, ways of administering quality assurance processes and systems have been created.
This dissertation focuses on the higher education scenario in Chile and the integration of new university actors into its institutions. In this country, this occurred in the middle of a process of change, of crises of confidence in these institutions and of adjustments to how their quality was regulated.
Quality administrators are installed in new university substructures specialised in the function of educational quality management, typically known as quality assurance units.
In the process of defining their role, a shared identity among quality administrators does not immediately appear. Up until now, this identity has seemed to base itself mainly on the common obstacles they must face and the constant efforts they must make to validate their work in the academic environment. They feel they have to accept the invisible value of their function within the university. During this process of defining their identity and in an environment in which the ‘other’s’ (the academics’) identity is more defined and is deeply rooted in their discipline, this new actor must recur to using strategies that help reduce its own anxiety in undefined and ambiguous situations.