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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

Internal quality assurance at university college cork

  • 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