QAA Higher Education Review 2015

March 2014
QAA Higher Education Review 2015
University of Greenwich, Higher Education Review Group Newsletter
Issue 01 of 03
What is Higher Education Review?
Higher Education Review
 The University will be
visited by the QAA in
April 2015
 This newsletter, the
first of three over the
next calendar year, will
explain the review
process, identify key
dates and outline what
will happen next
Higher Education Review (or HER) is the QAA’s (the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) new method of auditing and
reviewing universities and higher education institutions in England
and Northern Ireland. The review will cover all of the University’s
HE provision — undergraduate, postgraduate and research — as
well as the provision we provide with our collaborative partners.
A team of QAA reviewers will visit the University in order to undertake a thorough evaluation of the provision. Following the review,
they will then make judgements on the University’s academic
standards, provision of learning opportunities, quality of information provided, and the enhancement of the quality of students’
learning opportunities.
Key Dates
The QAA HER will take place in two phases. Phase 1 consists of a
desk-based analysis of the University’s key performance indicators and quality and standards-related documentation. Phase 2
consists of a visit to the University, during which time the review
panel will meet a cross-section of University staff and students.
Inside this issue:
What is HER?
Phase 1: 26 January 2015
Phase 2: week commencing 20 April 2015
Key Dates
What will happen
during HER?
What will happen during the HER?
HER in more detail
What you can do
now to help
The QAA will have already begun to access the University’s publicly available information; however
the real work of the review team will begin on 26 January 2015, the date by which the University must
submit its Self-Evaluation Document (SED) and all supporting evidence. The review team will consider
the SED and the associated evidence and they will begin to form their initial lines of enquiry. Before
the actual visit in April 2015, a representative from the QAA will visit the University to inform senior
managers of those initial lines of enquiry, areas of further investigation and the length of the review
visit (this can vary from 3-5 days).
The review team will then visit the University in April 2015 and they will meet a cross-section of
students and staff. We will not know exactly whom the review team would like to meet until closer to
the time of the visit.
What happens
QAA Higher Education Review 2015
Page 2
HER in more detail
HER is a peer-review process, in other words, the review is carried out by staff and students from
other higher education institutions. It is the means by which higher education providers are held
accountable, but also a way of encouraging them to improve on a continuous basis.
The review culminates in a formal report which describes the findings of the review team and
includes a series of judgements. The University will be required to respond to the report and to
produce an action plan which details how it will respond to the findings of the review.
There are four areas on which the review team pass judgement:
1) The threshold academic standards of the University
For this area, there are three possible outcomes:
Meets UK expectations; requires improvement to meet UK expectations; or does not meet
UK expectations.
2) The quality of students’ learning opportunities
3) Information about higher education provision
4) The enhancement of students’ learning opportunities
For these areas, there are four possible outcomes:
“...The quality of
what we do; the
achieved by our
students, and the
Commended; meets UK expectations; requires improvement to meet UK expectations; does
not meet UK expectations.
The expectations are defined by the UK Quality Code for Higher Education and the University’s SelfEvaluation Document (SED) will outline how we are meeting those expectations. The SED will also
identify the evidence to support this.
Students will be able to provide their own view as well via the Student Submission. Both the SED
and the Student Submission are given equal importance during the review. All Review teams now
also incorporate a Student Reviewer.
efforts we make
to improve
matters are things
for which we are
all responsible...”
What you can do now to help prepare for HER
The Quality Code for Higher Education has been described, very usefully, as akin to the basis of
our license to run a higher education institution. The quality of what we do; the standards
achieved by our students, and the efforts we make to improve matters are things for which we are
all responsible. The QAA’s review of what we do is a very useful means for us to become more
self-aware than usual of how well we discharge these responsibilities. This is the most important
contribution you can make to the process of preparing for HER.
You might not want to read through the Quality Code, of course, but if you do, you will find in it
quite an enlightening portrait of what the best sort of higher education institution might look like.
It outlines our responsibilities in respect of our students and the ways in which we might set about
meeting these.
In practical terms, though, one of the things you can do is to help the University with its identification and gathering of the evidence base. Since we will need to provide evidence of how all of
us are meeting the expectations of the Quality Code in the SED, one of the ways in which you can
help is to ensure that any quality-related documentation you work on is thorough, accurate and
accessible. This includes:
approval and review documentation;
programme handbooks and programme specifications;
course and programme monitoring reports;
external examiner information;
assessment briefs and feedback forms;
committee and PAB minutes;
documentation about collaborations.
QAA Higher Education Review 2015
Page 3
What happens next?
Leading up to the review in April 2015, the University will keep you informed as to progress to date.
Please be sure you read the remaining two issues of this newsletter and also that you attend any briefing
sessions that might be appropriate, especially as we may be asking you to meet the Review team when
they visit.
An HER steering group (HERG) has been convened by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Development)
with the purpose of preparing for the upcoming review. This group consists of members of staff from
across the University and Officers from the Students’ Union and it will meet regularly in the time leading
up to the review. Its next scheduled meetings are: 17 March 2014, 8 April 2014 and 12 May 2014.
A University-wide mapping exercise against the expectations of the Quality Code is also currently taking
place, the outcome of which will help to identify areas where immediate enhancements can be made and
further work we might wish to do to enhance the student experience. This exercise will also help to inform the drafting of the University’s SED. In the coming months, HERG will begin to work on drafting the
SED with the Faculties and Offices.
We anticipate holding a number of briefing meetings over the next few months with Faculties and Offices,
including meetings with senior managers, Heads of Department and Programme Leaders. The first of
these meetings will be on the 26th March with the senior management team in the Office of Student
If you have any questions about the review process, or our preparations, please contact: John Melton;
mj50; extension 9381.
You may also like to refer to the QAA guidance on HER, the QAA Quality Code and the University’s Quality
Assurance Handbook by accessing the following links:
“An HER steering
group has been
convened… with
the purpose of
preparing for the
upcoming review”