Quality monitoring and review: Much more than a paper exercise

Part of CAPOD’s remit involves academic quality monitoring and review. Annual Academic Monitoring (AAM) is a crucial element of the University’s procedures for quality assuring and enhancing learning and teaching. Schools reflect on and evaluate their learning and teaching experiences via:

  1. A short report at the end of the academic year outlining what is a) going well,
    b) new/innovative and c) a potential problem area. As of AY 2012/13, Schools also note actions taken forward as a result of the previous year’s AAM process.
  2. A discussion with the Academic Monitoring Group (AMG) in September on a 3-year cycle, which is attended by the Head of School, Director of Teaching (DoT) and School President. The meetings provide an opportunity to explore areas of good (and potentially transferrable) practice, and any problem areas and possible actions to address these.
  3. A dissemination event held each October, which showcases a selection of positive and interesting themes/initiatives emerging from the reports.

In the past, outcomes from the AAM process were shared via an overview report circulated to Schools by email. In AY 2012/13, the dissemination event was introduced to provide a much more interactive opportunity for DoTs and a colleague to network, share ideas, learn about good practice across the University, and to consider areas for further development within their own School and possible approaches through discussion with other participants.

Feedback from the Learning and Teaching Committee was very positive. DoTs found the event beneficial and were in agreement that it should become a regular fixture within the AAM process. Specific examples of the impact generated from last year’s event include:

  • The appointment of an individual to oversee Alumni relations and exploration of opportunities for bringing alumni back into the School to contribute to teaching and employability opportunities
  • Assessment of the external placement year was modified in light of discussions within the group, addressing concerns regarding the confidentiality of work conducted by students
  • Issues regarding student visas for placements overseas were discussed and the difficulties identified were raised with Collaborations and Study Abroad to minimise potential problems
  • Information about staff research interests will feature in talks and presentations during Orientation Week in September 2013 to help spread the word from the outset regarding the research-led nature of our teaching and the fact that we are a leading research institution.
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