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Quality and standards

Quality management describes the processes by which we assure that our standards are maintained and the quality of education experienced by our students is maintained and enhanced.

Our framework

We make decisions and monitor our processes through committees. The supreme academic authority of the University is Senate, which is the body responsible for regulating and directing the academic work of the University.

Under delegated authority from Senate, a number of committees have responsibility for aspects of quality management and the student learning experience. These institutional committees inform business at College and School level.

The Quality and Standards Team provides support and guidance on all quality management processes. There are College Quality Officers based in each of our three Colleges to ensure support and guidance is provided with the key features of subsidiarity and proportionality at the forefront of all decision making processes.

Our approach to quality management

Our processes for managing quality and standards are set out in our Academic Regulations and supporting Policies. These documents outline our expectations for baseline level of provision, but also encourage opportunities to develop and enhance practice.

Our approach to quality management is underpinned by core elements:

Reliance on sound academic principles in the design and delivery of inclusive learning and teaching.

This can mean drawing upon general educational research to make the case for a particular approach to learning and teaching, or it can be about drawing upon the research within a discipline. The University sets out the institutional frameworks for quality management, but it also respects disciplinary difference where a well-underpinned case is made.

We have a Student Charter that sets out the mutual commitment of staff and students and our collective expectations, one of which is the recognition of the role of students as active partners in the academic community.

Student representatives are members of all University Committees. Students also provide feedback via module evaluation questionnaires and a range of institutional and national surveys and participate in a number of quality management processes such as periodic reviews, annual review and enhancement, programme approval and collaborative provision academic approval processes.

The emphasis is on the informed student voice by engaging with students as academic partners to ensure they have opportunities to take an active part in shaping their own learning.

We place great importance on peer review from colleagues in other academic institutions, professional bodies, industry and commerce.

Peer review is key to our approach to research and, as a research-intensive institution, peer review also underpins our learning and teaching.

We use peer review in a number of ways, e.g. in external examining, external input into programme approval and periodic review and through professional accreditation. There are also internal peer review mechanisms that allow proactive discussion and engagement with colleagues via College/School/or institutional committees or panels.

The Way Forward 2018-2023 outlines the guiding principles for the way we put this vision into practice, and includes 11 performance indicators that will help us gauge our progress.

Our education strategy is predicated on the need for consistency and agility in the current fast moving context. It is underpinned by a clear vision of what a Cardiff University education and student experience offers and is focussed on key areas of activity, development and strength.

Major policy reviews, continuous and structured development of our quality assurance and enhancement policies and procedures.

The choice of these initiatives will often be informed by University strategic priorities, national developments and changing sectoral practice, but prospective themes may also emerge from the University’s ongoing dialogue with student representatives, the outcomes of the University’s routine quality management processes and good practice identified at College/School-level.

A commitment to the alignment of quality assurance and quality enhancement in the mechanisms for the management of the quality of our programmes.

As an institution with mature quality assurance mechanisms and a well-established reputation for the quality of its student experience, we focus on operating quality management structures that not only uphold academic standards, but also emphasise the process of self-evaluative reflection that supports ongoing enhancement and development.

What this means in practice is looking at the main processes for quality management alongside the elements that emphasise assurance of minimum standards. There is always an emphasis on ongoing improvement and development.

We are committed to quality management processes that are efficient as well as effective to ensure that maximum levels of resource are available for the continuing delivery of an excellent all round student learning experience. This is principally achieved through a proportionate and risk-based approach to quality management.