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Internal Quality Assurance at University College Cork. Dr. Norma Ryan University College Cork – National University of Ireland Cork. Dr. Norma Ryan. Biochemist Director, Quality Promotion Unit, UCC Irish Bologna Expert Past-Chair, Irish Higher Education Network

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internal quality assurance at university college cork

Internal Quality Assurance at University College Cork

Dr. Norma Ryan

University College Cork – National University of Ireland Cork

dr norma ryan
Dr. Norma Ryan
  • Biochemist
  • Director, Quality Promotion Unit, UCC
  • Irish Bologna Expert
  • Past-Chair, Irish Higher Education Network
  • Member, Governing Authority, UCC
  • Member, Senate of National University of Ireland
  • Member, Irish Universities Association Quality Committee
  • A University located in the South of Ireland, with 18,000+ students, and one of the highest annual research income of all the Irish Universities
  • Has a particular focus on delivering Fourth Level Ireland (graduate studies) and lifelong learning
  • To create, preserve, and communicate knowledge and to enhance cultural, social and economic life locally, regionally and globally.


  • To be a research-led university of international standing with impact in Munster, Ireland, Europe and the world
colleges of ucc
Colleges of UCC
  • Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences
  • Business & Law
  • Medicine & Health
  • Science, Engineering & Food Science
universities act 1997
Universities Act 1997
  • Legislation that established all Irish Universities as independent autonomous institutions
  • Requires all Irish Universities to put in place quality assurance procedures
section 35 quality assurance
Section 35: Quality Assurance
  • To promote the improvement of the quality of education of students and all related activities
  • Responsibility for process rests with the University
national agenda
National Agenda
  • In 2003 Irish Universities Association published:

A Framework for Quality in Irish Universities

  • In 2007 second edition published
  • Principles outlined in Framework compatible with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education
irish universities quality board
Irish Universities Quality Board
  • Independent body established by Irish Universities in 2003
  • Purpose: to assist the Universities in the quality agenda and to conduct reviews of the effectiveness of the Quality Improvement /Quality Assurance reviews on behalf of the Universities.
qi qa
  • QI: Quality Improvement
  • QA: Quality Assurance
what is quality
What is Quality?
  • ‘Fitness for Purpose’
  • ‘Fitness of Purpose’
  • ‘Making the best use of resources available’
  • ‘added value’
quality assurance
Quality Assurance
  • Ensuring we do what we say we are doing
  • Ensuring what we do is a ‘quality’ job
examples of qa
Examples of QA
  • Peer review of research
  • External Examiner system
  • Accreditation of degrees
  • Employability of graduates
qi qa procedures
QI/QA Procedures
  • Focussed on quality improvement with rigour of quality assurance as a starting position
  • Well-established and documented
  • Reviewed internally and amended as deemed appropriate, e.g.
    • Implementation of detailed procedures for development and approval of Quality Improvement Plans following quality reviews.
  • Developed and amended using a collegial approach
quality reviews
Quality Reviews
  • Focus on ownership of review by unit under review
  • Focus on all activities of unit
  • All types of unit (academic, administrative, support service) reviewed under same principles and guidelines
strategy in ucc
Strategy in UCC
  • Quality Promotion Committee of Governing Body
  • Reviews scheduled over 6 year period by Quality Promotion Committee
quality promotion committee
Quality Promotion Committee
  • Committee of Governing Body with executive authority
  • Chaired by President of UCC
  • Has representatives of
    • Academic Staff
    • Administrative and Support Staff
    • Governing Body external members
    • Students
quality promotion unit
Quality Promotion Unit
  • Facilitates the implementation of Quality Improvement/Quality Assurance (QI/QA) procedures in UCC
  • Assists in the Follow-Up procedures following a QI/QA review of a unit
  • Self-Assessment
  • Peer Review
    • Institutional/National/International
  • Follow-Up
    • On-going Quality Improvement
reviews must involve
Reviews must involve
  • Students
  • Staff of institution
  • Employers
  • Past graduates/Alumni
  • Other stakeholders
  • Used to obtain views of staff, students and others
  • Available on web sites
  • Some are linked specifically to guidelines for preparation of Self-Assessment Report
evaluation process 1
Evaluation Process 1
  • Appointment of unit co-ordinating committee
    • Guidelines on web site
  • Conduct of surveys of opinions of stakeholders
    • Questionnaires
    • Focus meetings
    • ????
  • Assistance can be provided by QPU upon request
evaluation process 2
Evaluation Process 2
  • Nomination of members of Peer Review Group
    • External advisor to nominate a panel of external experts.
    • Unit to nominate a panel of external stakeholders
    • QPC to appoint internal members
    • Unit to be offered an opportunity to identify any conflict of interest prior to letters of invitation
evaluation process 3
Evaluation Process 3
  • Appointment of internal and external peer reviewers by Quality Promotion Committee
  • Production of Self-Assessment Report
  • Agreement of timetable for conduct of visit
evaluation process 5
Evaluation Process 5
  • Peer Review Visit & Report
  • Follow-up action
  • On-going quality improvement
self assessment report
Self-Assessment Report
  • Includes assessment by students
  • All staff of department must be involved
  • Includes views of past graduates
  • Incorporates views from
    • accrediting bodies
    • External Examiners
    • internal stakeholders
    • external stakeholders
self assessment report1
Self-Assessment Report
  • Includes analysis of
    • Teaching
    • Learning
    • Research
    • Scholarly activity
  • Includes commentary on actions taken for improvement since last Quality Review and Research Quality Review
self assessment
Self Assessment
  • Às appropriate, must include assessment of
    • Staff profile
    • Teaching
    • Research
    • Services provided
    • standards
    • Support services, including facilities
    • Contribution to society
structure of sar
Structure of SAR
  • Core: ‘Overall Analysis & Recommendations’
  • Appendices: contain factual details
overall analysis recommendations
Overall Analysis & Recommendations
  • Succinct and comprehensive
  • Details Mission of Department
  • Details Aims & Objectives
  • Summary of Unit activities
  • Relates all activities to Mission and Strategic Plan of UCC
overall analysis recommendations contd
Overall Analysis & Recommendations (contd)
  • Benchmarking
  • Details of how you plan to show you have achieved your Aims & Objectives
  • How is quality measured?
overall analysis recommendations contd1
Overall Analysis & Recommendations (contd.)

How is success measured?

Emphasis on strategies for improvement of quality

summary of department
Summary of Department
  • 1 page executive summary on each of following:
    • Department Structure and Organisation
    • Teaching
    • Research
    • Consultancy Activities
    • Public Profile
swot analysis
SWOT Analysis
  • S - Strengths
  • W - Weaknesses
  • O - Opportunities
  • T - Threats
  • All staff involved
  • Leads to recommendations for improvement
  • Support for facilitator available from QPU upon request
evaluation of teaching
Evaluation of Teaching
  • Evaluation by students
  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Views of external stakeholders
  • Teaching portfolios
  • Peer review
evaluation of research
Evaluation of Research
  • Peer reviewed publications
  • Books/chapters in books
  • Supervision of graduate students
  • Research grant income
  • Other scholarly activity
appendices academic units
Appendices - Academic Units
  • Unit Details
  • Profiles of all staff - academic, administrative and support
  • Unit Planning and Organisation
  • Teaching and Learning
    • strategy
    • Reports of extern examiners
    • Reports from accrediting bodies. E.g. Medical Council
appendices contd
Appendices (contd.)
  • Research & Scholarly Activity
    • Metrics from Research Quality Review
    • Strategy
  • Staff Development Objectives
  • External Relations
  • Support Services
  • Methodology used in preparing Report
  • Additional documentation that Unit may wish to submit
appendices admin central service units
Appendices - Admin & Central Service Units
  • Unit Details
  • Profiles of all staff
  • Unit Planning and Organisation
  • List of Client Groups for Unit
  • Service Standards for the Unit
  • Staff Development Objectives
  • Unit Budget
  • Methodology used in preparing Report
  • Provided to review group by QPU:
    • Strategic Plans
      • UCC
      • College/Operational Area
      • Teaching & Learning
      • Research
      • Student Experience
    • Student statistics
    • Research profiles
    • Financial details
    • Previous Quality Review Report and Follow-Up report
documentation contd
Documentation (contd)
  • Research Quality Review Report
  • Actions taken by Unit/University following Research Quality Review
examples of other documents
Examples of other Documents
  • Policy documents produced by Unit
  • Procedural Manuals
  • Guidelines/Manuals/Handbooks
  • Audit reports produced by external bodies
peer review
Peer Review
  • Evaluation of Self-Assessment Report
  • Site Visit to meet with staff and students
  • Report on findings
  • Recommendations for improvement
    • To Unit
    • To University
peer review report
Peer Review Report
  • Comments on findings
  • Recommendations
    • Acted upon by unit
    • Acted upon by institution
follow up 1
Follow-up - 1
  • Discussion
  • Draw up Quality Improvement Plan based on recommendations
  • Implementation
follow up 2
Follow-up - 2
  • On-going quality improvement
  • Re-visit one to 2 years later to discuss developments
  • Re-visit six years later in a formal review
what happens report
What happens report?
  • Review Report is considered by
    • Staff of Department
    • Quality Promotion Committee of Governing Body
    • Budget decision makers in UCC
    • Governing Body
recommendations in report
Recommendations in report
  • Discussed with Head of Unit and Head of College/Vice-President and the Director of Quality Promotion Unit
  • A Quality Improvement Plan is agreed upon and acted upon by unit in first instance
publication of report
Publication of Report
  • Review Report is published on University web site.
  • Annual Report of Quality Promotion Committee to Governing Body also published. Report provides a synthesis of findings and issues as well as full details on each review
follow up
  • Unit submits a report on actions taken and outcomes within 18 months of completion of the review to the Quality Promotion Committee
  • Report on progress is considered by Governing Body and published.
review of qi qa process
Review of QI/QA process
  • A major review of the process and its effectiveness in UCC and the other Irish Universities was conducted in 2005 by the EUA.
  • The review was commissioned by the IUQB and the HEA on behalf of the Universities.
  • The Report endorsed and commended the quality processes in place.
major successes
Major Successes
  • Acceptance of quality review process
  • Appreciation of need for self-reflection
  • Embedding of a quality culture in all areas of the university initiated
  • Ownership by unit being reviewed seen as a benefit to unit
  • Follow-up procedures ensuring actions taken on recommendations for improvement
  • To reduce the workload for departments/programme boards of study/units in gathering data
  • To ensure University acts on recommendations requiring resources
  • Development of thematic reviews, e.g. of quality of total research activity of University
  • Complete second cycle of quality reviews
  • Development of improved University Information Systems providing accurate data
embedding a quality culture
Embedding a Quality Culture
  • Role of Director of Quality Promotion
  • Emphasis on quality enhancement
  • Remit wider than management of internal quality reviews
  • Link to strategic planning
  • Performance indicators
  • Institutional data and research
  • Funding of Quality Improvement Projects
web sites
Web sites