The University’s quality assurance system is based around three main processes: Approval; Annual Monitoring; Periodic Review. These processes are used as a mechanism for assuring and maintaining the standard of the University's awards as well as the quality of the student learning experience.
The responsibility for monitoring and reviewing academic quality and standards resides mainly with the Senate, though there are also management responsibilities to ensure that adequate resources are allocated. The Senate has delegated the operational aspects of approval, monitoring and review to three key committees: Undergraduate Studies Committee; Postgraduate Studies Committee; Quality and Standards Committee.
In conjunction with the Deputy Principal (Learning and Teaching), the Academic Registry has responsibility for policy development and operational matters associated with the quality and standards of the University's research, learning and teaching, awards and student learning experience. The Quality and Standards Committee has responsibility for approving proposed policies, on behalf of Senate.
At a national level, the University's processes for quality (both assurance and enhancement) and standards are overseen by the Quality Assurance Agency (delegated to QAA Scotland) and the Scottish Funding Council. The QAA defines quality and standards as:
- Threshold academic standards are the minimum acceptable level of achievement that a student has to demonstrate to be eligible for the award of academic credit or a qualification. For equivalent qualifications, the threshold level of achievement is agreed across the UK.
- Academic standards are the standards that individual degree-awarding bodies set and maintain for the award of their academic credit or qualifications. These may exceed the threshold academic standards. They include the standards of performance that a student needs to demonstrate to achieve a particular classification of a qualification, such as a first-class honours degree classification in a certain subject or the award of merit or distinction in a master’s degree.
- Academic quality refers to how and how well the higher education provider supports students to enable them to achieve their award. It covers learning, teaching and assessment, and all the different resources and processes a provider puts in place to help students progress and fulfil their potential.
Quality assurance is the process for checking that the academic standards and quality of higher education provision meet agreed expectations.
The Quality Assurance Agency’s UK Quality Code for Higher Education sets out the ‘Expectations’ that all providers of UK higher education are required to meet. The University has undertaken a mapping of its regulations, policies and procedures to the UK Quality Code. QAA reviewers use the Quality Code as a benchmark for judging whether a higher education provider meets UK expectations for academic standards, the quality of learning opportunities, improvement or ‘enhancement’, and information