QAA review commends University on enhancement of student learning opportunities

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s (QAA) Institutional Review of Swansea University has found the University has met UK academic standards and quality expectations – and the University has also been commended for its enhancement of student learning opportunities.

The main purpose of the review, which took place in May this year, was to investigate the higher education provided by Swansea University and to make judgements as to whether or not its academic standards and quality meet UK expectations.

Judgements about the University’s standards and quality found:
-       Academic standards at the University meet UK expectations for threshold standards.
-       The quality of student learning opportunities at the University meets UK expectations.
-       The enhancement of student learning opportunities at the University is commended.
-       Information about learning opportunities produced by the University meets UK expectations.

Adrian NovisAdrian Novis (pictured), Swansea University’s Acting Director of Academic Services and institutional facilitator of the QAA Institutional Review process, said: “We welcome the QAA’s published report and we are of course delighted, but not surprised, to have received this outcome from our Institutional Review.  We sincerely thank all staff, students and the Students’ Union, who took part in the QAA’s robust process to measure our quality and standards.

“This is of course excellent news for Swansea as we begin a new academic year, welcoming a record number of students, and with our exciting new £450 million Bay Campus development on schedule to open for September 2015 – clearly a sign that the University is on course in our ambition to be a top-30 UK University by 2017.

“The outcome of this review also confirms what we have also been recognised externally for through a variety of independent surveys, guides and league tables – many of which are voted by our students – including this year’s National Student Survey (NSS) where students rated their overall satisfaction with their University at 89%, 4% higher than the average satisfaction in Welsh universities and 3% higher than the average of all UK institutions; The Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015; and the WhatUni 2014 awards, where we won University of the Year.

“But we are of course mindful of continually improving our quality and standards and we will be taking on board the QAA’s two recommendations that the University “should clearly articulate at module and programme level the models of moderation in operation” and “implement a system to enable it to have oversight of student achievement on its postgraduate research programmes” and we are already working on an action plan.”

The QAA review team also identified a number of examples of good practice at Swansea University, which included:
-       A wide range of feedback, including the National Student Survey (NSS), is used to enhance the student experience (paragraph 2.3.5).
-       The University has a coordinated approach to developing student employability through a wide range of initiatives (paragraph 2.7.4).
-       The Swansea Employability Academy, the Swansea Academy of Inclusivity and Learner Support, the Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching, and the Academi Hywel Teifi contribute to the development, evaluation and dissemination of projects that enhance students' wider learning experience (paragraph 4.13).
-       Undergraduate students are partners in the development of enhancement initiatives (paragraph 4.6).
-       The University employs a range of mobility and internationalisation initiatives which contribute to students' personal and career development (paragraph 4.14).

The review team also highlighted:
-       Student representation is well developed at Swansea University and student engagement contributes strongly to the ethos off students as partners. The University’s approach is dynamic and reflective (paragraph 2.3).
-       That not only does the University have a strategic approach to enhancement (of learning opportunities), but that this has momentum and its ethos was disseminated effectively to staff and students (paragraph 4.1).
-       Student feedback is used consistently as a driver of enhancement (paragraph 4.5).

A full copy of the Institutional Review of Swansea University by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education can be found here http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/ReviewsAndReports/Documents/Swansea%20University/Swansea-University-IR-Wales-14.pdf