• UCD praised for its high-quality student experience and commitment to global engagement
• Report recommends university ensures career development opportunities for fixed-term contract staff
University College Dublin (UCD) has successfully completed a review as part of quality checks conducted by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the state agency responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training in Ireland.
A panel of national and international education experts conducted a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the university’s quality assurance procedures, highlighting examples of good practice which were seen to deliver positive benefits for students and staff, and making recommendations on areas for improvement in the coming years.
UCD was praised for:
• Its commitment to delivering a high-quality student experience through effective support structures;
• The opportunities available for students to engage with university processes;
• The university’s commitment to global engagement and rising to the challenges of internationalisation;
• Its staff performance management system and the parity of esteem between staff’s learning, teaching and research activities;
• Effective Quality Assurance processes which ensure the rigorous evaluation of learning and teaching.
The expert panel identified the following areas for improvement for the university:
• Review the implementation of the Researcher Career Framework to ensure equal implementation across the university so that fixed-term contract academics can undertake appropriate career development;
• Review quality processes to demonstrate quality of its research; and to ensure a better balance between learning, teaching and research;
• Reflect on expectations placed on faculty in key leadership roles and ensure that schools and professional service units are adequately resourced to deliver a high-quality learning and research experience;
• Make greater use of quantitative data and external benchmarking to inform decision-making;
• Review Quality Assurance processes to consolidate processes and ensure that schools are enabled to evaluate and implement quality improvements.
Professor Eva Åkesson, Vice-Chancellor, Uppsala University, chaired the expert review panel:
'I, as chair, and the team are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the review. We met engaged and committed staff, students and stakeholders dedicated to providing high-quality research and teaching, with a focus on contributing to UCD’s continued excellence as a large, research-intensive university with an extensive global profile. This passion for excellence was evident at all levels from the governing board, the president and through all staff and students. We hope UCD valued the review experience and find our report constructive and supportive as they embark upon their new university strategy.’
President of University College Dublin, Professor Andrew Deeks, welcomed the opportunity to engage with the QQI CINNTE Review Team and the Review Team’s report:
“We are pleased the Review Team confirmed that UCD has a robust and integrated quality assurance framework which supports effective and systematic quality assurance processes and ensures the rigorous evaluation of teaching, learning and research. This process has provided us with the opportunity to reflect on our current approach to quality review and enhancement. The Review Team has produced a report that is constructive and supportive, and we are particularly appreciative of their suggestions for improvement which will be beneficial in further enhancing UCD’s continued excellence. Over the coming months, UCD will develop an implementation plan to address the review report recommendations for enhancement. We would like to thank the members of the Higher Education Reviews Unit in QQI for their support and guidance throughout the institutional review process.”
Through its CINNTE cycle of reviews, QQI assesses and reports on how effectively all 19 publicly regulated higher education institutions (HEIs) are maintaining and enhancing quality in education. The reviews explore how institutions have improved their teaching, learning and research systems, and how well institutions have aligned with their own mission, quality indicators and benchmarks.
Padraig Walsh, CEO of QQI highlighted the value of the CINNTE review process to the entire higher education system:
‘QQI’s CINNTE institutional reviews rigorously assess the quality of education provision and research across an entire higher education institution. The resulting reports provide a valuable source of information for prospective students to help them evaluate the quality of the teaching and learning within an institution. It also helps the wider public to understand the impact and quality of an institution’s research and engagement activities. We are greatly encouraged by the commitment of Irish HEIs to the review process, the examples of good practice that can provide learnings for the entire sector, and the way in which the expert recommendations are adopted and implemented.’