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One of the outcomes of the a€?quality movementa€™ has been the development of a specialised bureaucracy to ensure smooth operation of (often complex) quality systems including apparatuses for audit and accountability.
Regardless of the agency or the object of scrutiny, there is a reasonably common approach to reviews, be they audit, approval or accreditation. Benchmarking a€“periodic reviews by the agency across the sector to identify common themes and issues.
Ask any City & Guilds Qualification Consultant what the current issues are in quality assurance in centres and they will respond with a resounding response of – new staff! Although the new staff may in previous roles, have been involved in the delivery of the qualifications, they are often unfamiliar with the systems and processes for monitoring and ensuring quality learning.
Typically it is in the field of internal quality assurance that the new post holders seem to struggle most as they try to fulfil the requirements of their new role. Unfortunately the importance of internal quality assurance is seriously underestimated in centres. Internal quality assurance is far more wide reaching and fundamental to ensuring good quality learning. The AVU developed a quality assurance framework that borrowed from the international best practices as well as existing practice within the African Institutions This framework was adopted by the participating institutions in 2007.
The Quality Assurance Framework seeks to be responsive to the inputs and needs of all the partner institutions and the AVU. For the purpose of the Teacher Education Programme, only the dimensions referring to quality education and training are applicable. Determine the level at which provision and the depth of learning is acceptable with regard to open, distance and e-learning higher education environments.
Determine the fitness for purpose and the progress in moving towards national, institutional and programme goals and mission.
Fitness of purpose based on national goals, priorities and targets, thereby ensuring national relevance for a particular African country. Value for money judged in relation to the full range of higher education purposes set out in higher education policies.
Transformation, in the sense of developing the capabilities of individual members of staff and students for personal enrichment, as well as the requirements of social development, economic and employment growth. Each partner institution needs to do a self-evaluation of their existing quality assurance measures based on the criteria and minimum standards.
The University is committed to the review and evaluation of its activities as an integral part of its quality assurance processes. Reviews are primarily directed towards addressing University priorities established in the context of its strategic direction.
The review process requires critical self-evaluation and should encourage local participation.
Reviews will be conducted in a clear and orderly manner, with public and transparent processes.
Overall responsibility for the review process rests with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic).
Centrally-managed reviews include Program Reviews (which focus on coursework programs) and Organisational Unit Reviews.
School (performance, management, structure, resources, facilities and plans of Academic Units). Organisational unit reviews are focused on their contribution to and alignment with the University's Strategic Plan and, as with Program Reviews, form an integral part of the University's quality assurance processes.
There are two types of centrally-managed organisation unit reviews - those relating to academic units (usually schools) and those relating to administrative and para-academic units (i.e. Reviews of academic units are coordinated by staff from the Learning and Quality Support unit, who work with Faculty and School staff throughout the process, providing assistance and advice as required. The choice of academic units for review in any particular year will be negotiated between Executive Deans and the PVC(SL), taking into account the performance of the unit, the prevailing strategic imperatives of the University and the intention that all units be reviewed at least once over the duration of the cycle. Reviews of academic units focus on performance of the unit, its organisational structure, the allocation and management of resources and facilities, and the management of strategic plans and priorities of the University, the Faculty and the School itself. While the value and usefulness of standard terms of reference for reviews of academic units or reviews of academic units and programs are recognised, the Executive Dean has the flexibility to provide modified or alternative terms of reference subject to approval by the PVC(SL). The academic unit reviews are conducted by a Review Panel, which are established with the aim of facilitating independent peer-review, and must include an external reviewer. The Faculty will prepare a submission for the Review prior to the Review Panel meeting using the Organisational Unit Review: Faculty Submission to Review Panel template. A limited number of targeted invitations to provide submissions to the Review Panel will be made to internal and external stakeholders. Learning and Quality Support staff, in consultation with the Convenor, will commence drafting of the report during the final session of the Review Panel's visit, with a particular focus on developing the recommendations.
On receipt of the Unit Report, the PVC(SL) will seek the relevant Executive Dean's advice on acceptance, rejection or modification of the recommendations. The Vice-Chancellor's Executive (VCE) is responsible for endorsing the final recommendations (to the extent that they fall within its Terms of Reference), and recommending their approval to the Vice-Chancellor and President.
The Faculty, in consultation with staff from Learning and Quality Support, will develop an Implementation Plan addressing the approved recommendations of the Review Report.
The PVC(SL) has the responsibility of ensuring that an Implementation Plan is developed, and for ensuring the monitoring of progress of the actions described in the Plan.
Reviews of these units are overseen and managed by the relevant Division Head who has the responsibility for determining the frequency, process and panel structure for such reviews within their Division.
Each administrative or para-academic unit is to be reviewed at least once every seven years. Reviews of administrative units consider the quality of services and core activities, the preparedness of the area under review to deal with new challenges or priorities and the ways in which the activities support the academic activities and the aims of the University's Strategic Plan.
On receipt of the Unit Report, the PVC(SL) will seek the relevant Senior Manager's advice on acceptance, rejection or modification of the recommendations. The Faculty is required to submit updates on the progress of the actions described in the Implementation Plan to Learning and Quality Support. Program Reviews are co-ordinated by staff from the Learning and Quality Support unit, who work with Faculty staff throughout the process, providing assistance and advice as required. A five-year Program Review Schedule is developed by Learning and Quality Support in consultation with Executive Deans, and approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) (PVC(SL)).
To avoid unnecessary duplication, cognate programs are often grouped for the purpose of review, and the schedule is developed with due consideration to the timing of external accreditation processes for programs with professional accreditation requirements.



The Terms of Reference for a particular review should address any particular issues specific to the program(s) concerned, while also being cognisant of priorities determined by the University's strategic direction. Program Reviews are conducted by a Review Panel which is established with the aim of facilitating independent peer-review, and must include an external reviewer.
International panel members can only be included if travel and accommodation costs are met by the Faculty. The Faculty will prepare a submission for the Review prior to the Review Panel meeting using the Academic Program Review: Faculty Submission to Review Panel template. Learning and Quality Support staff will develop a schedule for the Review Panel visit in consultation with the relevant Faculty. On receipt of the Review Report, the PVC(SL) will seek the relevant Executive Dean's advice on acceptance, rejection or modification of the recommendations.
Academic Board is responsible for endorsing the final recommendations (to the extent that they fall within its Terms of Reference), and recommending their approval to the Vice-Chancellor and President.
The responsibility for ensuring the quality and standards of individual courses lies with the faculties. Ensure that course reviews are conducted and that the recommendations from these reviews are implemented. Develop a schedule for course reviews, determining which courses require an in-depth review.
Ensure that courses are reviewed every three to five years and that consideration is given to course performance, assessment outcomes, topics taught and quality of materials.
Provide an annual report of course reviews conducted and the key outcomes of these reviews to the DVC&VP(A). An annual schedule of course reviews as well as the review approach to be used for each course will be determined at faculty level. Individual course titles appear in the table of contents and link to the relevant course page. Executive Deans are responsible for providing an annual report to the DVC&VP(A) of course reviews conducted, and for ensuring that identified recommendations are implemented. A Course Review Faculty Summary Template is provided for the annual report, although existing faculty documentation may be used. If not using the template provided, the report should contain the same information as for the school overview above. This feedback should be incorporated in the course outline or other general course information so it is available to current and future students.
Feedback can identify the key actions identified in a review and the implementation plan for these.
The program and organisational unit reviews, overseen by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning), that are currently active at the University of Adelaide are listed below. As approved by the PVC(SL) and noted by the Quality Enhancement Committee at its November 2015 meeting. As approved by the PVC(SE) and noted by the Quality Enhancement Committee at its November 2014 meeting. Please note that review reports, recommendations and implementation plans are only available to staff at the University of Adelaide. If you are preparing a Course Review you can access the Course Review Book and Course Summary & Results (Staff-only) from the website also.
The HE learning and teaching landscape is continually shaped by priorities that emerge both from within and outside the sector.
This places education themes in an important position in relation to the Higher Education quality system, as certain themes take on strategic importance for institutions and are prioritised in the strategic directives and funding incentives of the key sector agencies. The Scottish Higher Education sector has a unique approach to quality, through its Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR) scheme and setting periodic sector-wide Enhancement Themes.
This approach enables all institutions to share practice and focus attention on strategic education concerns, as shown in the Graduates for the 21st Century theme (2008-2011). Recognising the increasing presence of education themes and their role in shaping learning and teaching agendas, the UK Quality Code for Higher Education identifies the place and role of such themes.
Education for Sustainability has become identifiable as a prominent education theme, with its importance reflected by the key agencies responsible for learning and teaching quality, across both aspects of QA and QE. Attention to EfS at this strategic level underlines the level of sector recognition for the contribution EfS can make to educational practice. Within the Higher Education sector, dialogue about how to progress EfS as a strategic concern for educational quality will need to take place at both institutional and sector levels, bringing perspective from all aspects of the system.
Tim Burton (Assistant Director, QAA) comments on how the project provided an opportunity to locate EfS in the development of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education and to consider its strategic role in learning and teaching. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Faculty Development website.
Few centres have managed to avoid mergers, takeovers and consortia arrangements as a response to the economic climate.
Many have been trainers or assessors previously but they will now have to learn about the mechanics of IQA and undertake a Level 4 qualification. When roles have to be filled quickly managers may appoint anyone who has worked with a particular qualification to become the IQA. Inexperienced staff carrying out poor or incomplete IQA could result in sanctions and seriously damage a centre’s reputation. Since the contexts, needs and circumstances are not identical or homogenous at the different partner institutions, the QAF is to be viewed and implemented as a descriptive document that is not at all prescriptive in nature. Quality assurance rooted in minimum thresholds of educational quality is seen as a necessary measure to instill public confidence in the quality of higher education provision and provide the foundations for the development and support of excellence at all levels of higher education and training (Founding Document, 2001, p 8).
Quality can have very different meanings and interpretations to both the providers of "quality" as well as the consumers of "quality".
The review process follows the University's Quality Assurance Planning and Budgeting, Implementation, Review and Improvement (PIRI) cycle.
Administrative and Para-academic unit reviews are overseen and managed by the relevant Divisional Head.
For academic units with accreditation requirements or that have undergone or will undergo any other form of external review, these will be taken into account, with the aim of minimising duplication of effort. An initial seven year schedule of reviews will be developed in consultation with the Executive Dean. External points of reference provide valuable perspective for further reflection and implementation of improvements; therefore an element to be considered when undertaking academic unit reviews is benchmarking against comparable units in other Go8 universities.


Note that Faculties are permitted to provide additional information considered relevant to the review. A draft set of recommendations will be finalised with the Convenor in the week following the Panel's visit. Following this consultation, the PVC(SL) will present the Report to the Vice-Chancellor's Executive. Approved recommendations are available from the Review Reports, Recommendations & Implementation Plans page (Staff only).
A finalised Implementation Plan is to be provided to the PVC(SL) within three months of the VCE's consideration of the Review Report. Implementation Plans and progress reports are available from the Review Reports, Recommendations & Implementation Plans page (Staff only). An initial seven year cycle will be developed by the relevant Division Head and then updated each year for the following seven years.
Given the difficulties of such an undertaking, administrative reviews might focus on a small and relatively homogenous area. These updates are required 6 and then a further 12 months after VCE has considered the recommendations in the Review Report. All coursework programs offered by the University are subject to review as part of a five year cycle.
In particular, the Terms of Reference should address the quality of the program(s) offered. While Review Panels for program reviews are usually restricted to two members, in certain circumstances, the PVC(SL) may approve an increased panel size.
Executive Deans will submit a list of prospective panel members for consideration and approval by the PVC(SL). Approved recommendations are available from the Review Reports, Recommendations & Implementation Plans page. A finalised Implementation Plan is to be provided to the PVC(SL) within three months of Academic Board's consideration of the Review Report.
These updates are required after another 6 months and then a further 12 months following the initial implementation plan.
Implementation Plans and progress reports are available from the Review Reports, Recommendations & Implementation Plans page. On 9 March 2011, the University Learning and Teaching Committee, in consultation with the Executive Deans, endorsed a common approach with some flexibility for all course reviews across all faculties to maximise the benefits derived from such reviews.
In planning a schedule of course reviews the Grade Monitoring Exception Recommendations should be taken into account. This can be on an ad hoc basis, be added to the work of an existing standing committee or a new standing committee may be established. These themes can be strongly geared to responding to societal changes or to meet specific industry and economic demands.
Consultations with the Expert Advisory Board for this project confirmed the need to address this as educational imperative, in tandem with the pressure from industry and government concerns around sustainability. As part of this process, the project team joined the QAA Annual Conference in 2012 to hear initial perspectives on some of the issues at stake. This turbulence has left a high proportion of centres with new staff teams who are grappling with changed and increased responsibilities. This sometimes happens because in the past the role of internal verification was quite limited – basically sampling portfolios - and in many cases managers think that internal quality assurance is simply a new name for it. It therefore acknowledges the reality of a "one-size-fits-all" approach that cannot promote the sought after quality in the multi-country Teacher Education Programme. The aim with the QAF is to describe quality criteria as a necessary measure to instill confidence in the quality of higher education provision and to facilitate articulation between the different quality elements across the consortium of the AVU and its partner institutions. Although a discussion on quality cannot ignore the interplay of power positions and educational relevance (relevant for whom?), it is not the purpose of this document to pursue that line of discussion here. Learning and Quality Support staff will contact the stakeholders to invite written submissions, and may also invite some of the stakeholders to an interview with the Review Panel. A first draft of the complete Report will be provided to the Convenor of the Review Panel no later than the end of the third week after the Review Panel visit. Oversight of these reviews is the responsibility of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning). The updated schedule for a given calendar year is reported to Academic Board at the end of the preceding calendar year. This two-tiered approach enables faculties to use an in-depth approach or a light-touch approach when reviewing courses. Consideration will also need to be given to the timing of external accreditation processes.
Often they emerge in tandem with shifts in education theory or changing teaching practices, with educational repercussions for all institutions and subject areas. A podcast about the seminar, titled Public Expectations, Teaching Quality and Sustainability, can be accessed here. Each partner institution has to translate the QAF into a local document that is useful, relevant and acceptable to all role players and most importantly, feasible for execution. Quality criteria are statements regarding the minimum standards or requirements for programmes that are necessary to support and enhance quality programmes. Where appropriate a School, Faculty or Executive Management may request a review outside the cycle. The QAF should not be viewed or treated as a cosmetic exercise that adds more work to the already heavy workload of academic and administrative staff.
Where possible the QAF should articulate, borrow from and integrate with an institution's existing quality assurance measures. These in-depth reviews could include: SELT data, curriculum reviews, program and accreditation reviews, poor enrolments, high attrition and outcomes of previous course reviews.
The quality spirit of the QAF should transcend from an external measure to an internal measure present in individual staff members' habits of mind and in an organisation's culture. The main objective of the QAF is to serve as a value-adding tool that each institution can use as part of internal quality assurance to do self-evaluation as a point of departure for implementing the Teacher Education Programme and for continued development of future similar programmes.In summary, funders, sceptics, supporters, managers and implementers of ODeL environments are aware of the challenges and await measures of accountability and quality assurance to take teacher education to the next level in Africa.



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