Staff Handbook: 3.7 Quality Assurance and Enhancement

Quality Assurance and Enhancement (QAE) is one of the main targets of all of the School's structures and processes, rather than a separate activity to be described in the Staff Handbook. It is a shared responsibility among all members of staff, overseen by the School's Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC) chaired by the School's Head of Quality Assurance and Enhancement (HQAE).

The key aspects of QAE within the School can be summarized as follows:

  • The quality of the School's Teaching and Learning is monitored by QAEC which meets at least once a term. It monitors all Module Review Procedures, in particular by receiving Module Preparation and Completion Reports. The module quality assurance procedures also include each module having a Module Reviewer, who undertakes Teaching Observation on a regular cycle. Further procedures exist for Programme Quality Assurance.
  • The quality of the School's Assessment Procedures is also monitored by the QAEC. In particular, all examination papers and major pieces of continuous assessment are considered by its Assessment Standards Monitoring Process.
  • Detailed Marking Guidelines and rigorous Checking and Moderation processes ensure the quality of assessment marking.
  • External Examiners are a vital component of overall quality assurance. The School takes care to appoint suitably qualified and experienced people. They check all examination papers before they are sat, monitor the marking of all assessment, and sit on the final Examination Boards. Their comments are considered and responded to by QAEC and acted on where appropriate.
  • The Academic Management Team is responsible for the overall management of all taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, overseen by QAEC and Teaching Committee. Each programme also has a Programme Director, with responsibility for monitoring quality aspects specific to that programme.
  • The quality of student support is managed by the Student Development and Support Team, in particular the Head of Student Development and Support, with oversight by QAEC.
  • Student feedback is considered to be very important in quality management. The Staff-Student Consultative Committee and the Staff-Research Student Consultative Committee meet regularly, and their comments and decisions are forwarded to officers and other committees for action as appropriate. Module questionnaires are administered twice per semester and the results considered by the Academic Management Team, with reports to QAEC. The Head of Quality Assurance and Enhancement (HQAE) and Head of School deal personally with lecturers where their module questionnaire results appear to require this.
  • Staff development plays an important role in the maintenance and development of quality in teaching and learning. New members of staff are assigned a mentor, in line with university practice. A Personal Development Plan is devised for each probationer which identifies training needs. In addition, an annual review is carried out regarding the probationer's progress towards their goals and any additional training needs arising from the past year's experience are identified. Training material is provided by APOD -- Academic Practice and Organisational Development (formerly the Staff Development Unit), but is also supplemented by events conducted by professional bodies, such as the Higher Education Academy.
  • Curriculum Review Meetings take place twice a year, under the joint aegis of Teaching Committee and QAEC.
  • All staff are expected to participate in the Curriculum Review Meetings and are encouraged to make full use of the School's and University's Learning Resources.
  • The University has procedures for internally auditing the School's teaching and learning.