Quality Assurance in Higher Education
SCOTTISH HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING COUNCIL
"An Enhancement-Led Approach to Quality Assurance"
The UNISON Scotland Response
- UNISON Scotland is pleased to have the opportunity of commenting
SHEFC document "An Enhancement Led Approach to Quality Assurance".
- We welcome the introduction of institutional audits as a means
of assuring quality in the delivery of teaching in the Scottish
Higher Education Sector .
- We believe the proposals will ensure robust appraisal of standards
and quality, subject to the safeguards of adequate training and
development, equal opportunities awareness and any necessary privacy
- However we would wish to ensure that the staffing levels are
adequate to carry out the audits, and that staff development and
training will be built in to the process.
- We believe that such audits should involve all staff in institutions
and that only a well paid, motivated workforce will be able to
deliver the quality required.
UNISON Scotland represents nearly 5000 staff working
in both the old and new University sectors. Our membership includes
academic, professional, support, computer and manual staffs working
in Scottish Higher Education.
UNISON is pleased to have the opportunity to comment
on the proposals contained in "An Enhancement Led Approach
to Quality Assurance".
In general we welcome the ending of external subject
reviews and support the new proposals to introduce internal institutional
audits and the introduction of the safeguards contained in the proposals
to ensure the highest quality and standards of education.
Internal Quality Assurance Procedures
UNISON supports the proposed procedures for institutional
audit set out in the document, and its commitment to quality enhancement.
We would, however, wish there to be more emphasis on staff development
across all staff groups.
We would wish equal opportunities issues to be
included in the internal review processes and any training should
also emphasise the need to be aware of different techniques required
for groups of different gender or ethnicity.
Training must be provided for those members appointed
to the internal review teams, especially the new and inexperienced
It would seem sensible to include internal reviews
as part of the annual planning strategy, which is submitted to the
The Institutional Audit Process
UNISON supports the proposed process for carrying
out the institutional audits. We feel that commentary and recommendations
is a preferable method of assessment than graded outcomes.
We agree that a student representative should be
included as part of the review teams, but continuity issues would
need to be addressed.
Clearly standards must be consistent across all
institutions, but enough flexibility must be allowed so that the
audit teams can take account of the diversity of each institution.
Public Information on Quality
UNISON supports the proposals contained in the
document on relevant information being provided for different stakeholders
in the most appropriate way, without making the whole audit process
available to everyone.
Student Involvement in Quality Process
UNISON supports the involvement of student representatives
in the Quality Process, but would wish to ensure that adequate training
was given and that any privacy issues were addressed. We would give
qualified support to the introduction of student surveys, but would
be concerned, however, if we felt that studies would be used in
any way for staff assessments. We believe that a longitudinal study
of students and graduates would be a useful tool in assessing career
Quality Enhancement Engagements
The subject groupings and cross-curricular themes
For Further Information Please Contact:
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX
Tel 0141-332 0006 Fax 0141 342 2835