Quality assurance and enhancement are situated within the national framework established by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Scotland.
The University’s approach to assuring and enhancing the quality of its provision is informed by a set of nationally agreed reference points.
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has worked with the UK higher education sector to develop the UK Quality Code, which is being developed throughout, and is in use from, the 2012/13 academic year.
The Quality Code sets out the expectations all providers of UK higher education are required to meet, by providing a common starting point for setting, describing and assuring the academic standards of awards and programmes and the quality of learning opportunities provided. Higher education providers use the Code to design policies for maintaining academic standards and quality.
Student representatives and students’ associations can use the Quality Code in discussion with their higher education provider in relation to the minimum expectations set out in the Code for the quality of the learning opportunities provided to students.
The QAA’s periodic Enhancement-Led Institutional Review considers the extent to which institutions make systematic use of the Quality Code as an external reference point in their updating of policy and procedure and as reference points in its evaluation and management of institutional policy and practice
The Quality Code replaces the previous framework of the Academic Infrastructure. The Quality Code is divided into three parts:
The UK Quality Code is being developed between December 2011 and October 2013.
In tandem with the QAA's development of the UK Quality Code an interactive mapping is being carried out of the University’s Quality Assurance Framework and University policies, procedures and codes of practice to the individual chapters of the Code. The development schedule runs from December 2011 to October 2013.
The QAA has worked closely with the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, Universities Scotland and the National Union of Students Scotland to develop the approach to quality in the Scottish higher education sector.
This strategy is called the Scottish Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF). Within the QEF, quality assurance is carried out with an emphasis on enhancement and sharing good practice.
The QEF has five main elements. These are all carried forward by the University.
Comprehensive programme of subject reviews are run by institutions themselves.
This involves all Scottish higher education institutions over a four-year cycle.
Improved forms of public information about quality are based on addressing the different needs of a range of stakeholders, including students and employers.
These are carried forward by the University through:
Further details about public information in Scotland are available from the Scottish Information Commissioner.
A greater voice for student representatives in institutional quality systems, supported by a new national development service.
The national programme of Enhancement Themes is aimed at encouraging academic and support staff, and students to share current good practice. It also encourages them to collectively generate ideas and models for innovation in learning and teaching.
More information about Enhancement Themes is available from the Quality Assurance Agency.
This article was published on Oct 22, 2010