The transformation of the quality management landscape continues with great rapidity and intensity. As the new regulator for English Higher Education, the OfS is adopting a bold, student-focused, risk-based approach, reflecting the significant changes to HE in the last 25 years and seeking to anticipate changes still to come. Familiar features – notably, the UK Quality Code – are also subject to fundamental review. The methodology for Year 3 provider-level TEF was tweaked and its results have been issued; and the first of the two sets of pilots of Subject-Level TEF is concluding, with the independent review of TEF due to commence around the time of our conference.
As part of the new regulatory framework for HE in England, QAA has been designated to carry out the quality and assessment functions set out in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 and we are eagerly awaiting the parameters within which QAA will operate in performing these functions. New and existing providers seeking registration on the ‘register’ must now demonstrate the new regulatory language of conditions and behaviours for quality and standards.
There is also the question: what are the implications of this very Anglo-driven agenda for the sector in the rest of the UK?
These changes continue to radically alter the quality world and our Conference will provide sessions that will support us in engaging with all of them. Additionally, our conference will also consider the question that the changes also beg of us, as senior quality professionals: in the midst of this, what can we do to help secure student success and academic standards in the emerging regulated quality world?
To help set the scene and spark discussions, we will be joined by Professor John W Sawkins of Heriot-Watt University and David Kernohan from WonkHE. We also welcome Becky Huxley-Binns, Vice-Provost (Academic Enhancement), University of Law; Ben Hunt, OfS Student Panel Member; Adrian Anderson, Chief Exec of UVAC; Liz Gorb, Director of Apprenticeships, Manchester University; Maureen McLaughlin, Head of Universities and Standards, QAA and William Hammonds, Policies Manager, UUK. We are delighted that our Keynote Address this year will be given by Professor Shân Wareing, whose expertise in sector development and leadership will be of great value to use with the changes we face.
As ever, this QSN event offers the opportunity for us to get together in a constructive and supportive environment and I look forward greatly to welcoming new and returning delegates to our 13th Annual Conference.
|10:00||Registration and refreshments|
|10:30||Welcome from QSN and Leeds Beckett University|
|10:40 – 11:40||Session 1: ‘Academic Quality [and Continuous Improvement] during Uncertain Times’
Presenter: Andrea Robertson-Begg, University Quality Enhancement Manager, University of Derby
In the Higher Education Sector, we are operating in a very different world compared to the regulatory environment that provided the backdrop for the Browne Review in 2010. We have witnessed increasing marketization of Higher Education, the introduction of student’s loans in 2012, the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), development of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, the introduction of a New Regulatory Framework by the Office for Students (OfS) and the launch of the revised QAA Quality Code.
Increasing the responsibility of governing bodies for the standards and quality of their academic portfolios, widening access to H.E. and ultimately to significantly reduce costs. The Sector is now mandated to demonstrate to government, the tax payer, students and employers the value and role it has in educating, training and nurturing the talent for tomorrow’s Britain.
These changes pose specific challenges (and opportunities) for Universities and other HE providers, who over the years, have developed tried and tested governance and deliberative structures, quality management processes, and procedures. These are now in the spot light, like never before, where their effectiveness and sustainability are being questioned.
In 2016 the University of Derby moved from annual to continual monitoring as a mechanism for assuring the standards and quality of its academic provision. In 2017 we introduced digitization of this quality management process. This provided us with tools to collate and make use of big data, and provide a platform designed to flex to changing demands during these uncertain times.
|11:40 – 12:00||Refreshments|
|12:00 – 13:00||Session 2: Quality and Metrics: a revised approach
Presenter: Sarah Plumeridge, Head of Quality and Standards, University of Brighton
As metrics and benchmarks have emerged as a principal measure of teaching quality in the Higher Education landscape over the past three or four years, the world of quality management has been adjusting its focus. In this session, the University of Brighton will share the changes we have made to our annual monitoring process in order to be better prepared for internal and external demands. Working across organisational boundaries has been key to this.
Over the last 3 years, teams from Quality and Standards, Evaluation and Policy, Business Intelligence and Information Services at the University have worked together extensively to develop and deliver refreshed and refocused annual monitoring dashboards and reporting tools. These changes have been aimed at focusing on core data, using a risk based approach for reporting, continuing to use qualitative evidence, and reducing the demands of the annual monitoring process. In addition, we have tried to better understand and align the relationship between evidence and action planning used in annual monitoring, the planning cycle, corporate performance indicators and of course TEF.
The story has not ended yet…but we’ll provide an overview of our experience to date including successes and challenges.
|13:00 – 13:45||Lunch|
|13:45 – 15:15||Session 3: Working with the Quality Code
Presenters: Maureen McLaughlin, Head of Universities & Standards, Quality Assurance Agency for HE
QSN members will have an opportunity to share views on and ask questions about working with the new Quality Code
|15:15||Feedback and final questions|
|No later than 15:30||Close and refreshments|
Cloth Hall Court, Leeds Beckett University
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