Abertay University: Independent quality body QAA commends Abertay’s academic standards and student learning experience

Abertay University has ‘fully effective arrangements for managing academic standards and the student learning experience’, according to a new review conducted by QAA, the UK’s independent higher education quality body. The review commended the University’s achievements in several areas including student partnership and the creation of an inclusive and accessible learning environment.

The review was undertaken by a team of six independent reviewers, who were appointed by QAA. The review took place through a Planning Visit in October 2021, followed by a Review Visit in November and December 2021. Its commendations included:

The University has established a strong culture of partnership working with its student body which ensures effective student representation and engagement in the range of institutional enhancement projects currently underway.
The University takes a reflective approach to proactively supporting and embedding equality and diversity in its enhancement activities.
The University’s commitment to preparing students for employment, which has resulted in well-established links with employers, positively impacts on curriculum development and systematically integrated work-based and work-related learning across programmes.
The University, through the activities delivered by the Abertay Learning Enhancement (AbLE) Academy, the Technology Enhanced Learning Support team and the Graduate School, provides a comprehensive range of staff development and student opportunities, both formal and informal, to those involved in learning, teaching and research.


Professor Liz Bacon, Deputy Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Abertay University said:

“We are delighted to have achieved the QAA’s highest rating for effectiveness following this important ELIR process. This outstanding result is testament to the dedication, professionalism and commitment to excellence shown by the University’s talented colleagues, students, leadership team and partner institutions, and reflects our ethos of placing the student experience and strong academic standards at the heart of all we do. Treating students as our partners is the key element of our approach – particularly as an institution with a focus on widening access – and we will continue to work collaboratively across the University in this way as we seek to make further improvements in the years ahead.”
QAA’s approach is an Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR). ELIR focuses on the enhancement of the student learning experience and examines how institutions maintain academic standards. ELIR is an important component of the Quality Enhancement Framework for Scottish higher education. There are three categories of effectiveness for ELIR judgements: fully effective, limited effectiveness and not effective. Abertay has achieved the highest rating available through the ELIR process.

QAA’s report also makes a number of recommendations, including asking the University to:

undertake work to ensure clear understanding and ownership of institutional strategies among all staff
build on its emerging plans aimed at improving student retention, by developing an evidence-based institutional approach to identify, implement and regularly evaluate the impact and effectiveness of interventions on its retention performance
work with staff and students (across all modes of study), to address the improvements that students would like to see around consistency in the quality of the assessment feedback they receive, ensuring the impact of changes in feedback practice can be appropriately evaluated.

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