QQI publishes National University of Ireland quality review


National University of Ireland has completed its inaugural institution-wide review as part of the quality checks conducted by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the state agency responsible for ensuring that further education and training and higher education providers maintain their internal quality assurance systems.

An independent team of national and international experts completed a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the QA system of the university, recognising instances of good practice which deliver impact in the recognised colleges and linked providers of the institution, and making recommendations on areas for improvement in the coming years. The resulting quality review report has now been published by Quality and Qualifications Ireland.

The university was commended in a number of areas including:

  • The achievement of effective impact through informal collaborations with the Constituent Universities and other key institutions
  • A leadership team that supports staff development and training and the implementation of a programme to improve internal administrative practices.
  • The responsiveness of the NUI matriculation team in meeting the needs of large numbers of university applicants attempting to navigate the complicated regulations and the high-quality help and support that is consistently provided.
  • Its initiative in beginning to extract valuable additional information from external examiner reports in the form of synthesis and thematic reports.

The expert panel also made a number of recommendations for improvements by the institution:

  • To put in place the appropriate means to ensure that it meets its responsibilities as an awarding body by assuring its oversight of those awards for which it is jointly responsible.
  • The production of further synthesis reports of external examiner reports including analysis of developments over time of all members of the federal university and formally share these with members.
  • The appointment of a student council, using the established pool of student leader resources.
  • The establishment of an official forum for the discussion of standards and quality assurance and enhancement in the Federation accompanied by appropriate documentation and monitoring.
  • The collection of longitudinal data on the impact of NUI matriculation exemptions on the longer-term progression and academic success of students.

Dr Padraig Walsh, QQI CEO, commended NUI on its engagement with the CINNTE review process,

‘The CINNTE review process allows QQI to assess and report on how effectively our publicly regulated higher education institutions are maintaining and enhancing quality in education. Our reviews explore how institutions have improved their systems to align with their own mission, quality indicators and benchmarks. It is encouraging to see that the National University of Ireland has successfully completed its first review process. The NUI occupies a unique role in Irish higher education as it does not directly deliver programmes or enroll students. However, it provides an important role in the quality assurance of programmes delivered by its recognised colleges and linked providers. There is much for the institution to be proud of and we look forward to working with its staff on implementing the recommendations of the independent panel.’

CINNTE reviews are one element of the broader quality framework for institutions which also includes Quality Assurance Guidelines; each institution’s Quality Assurance Procedures; Annual Quality Reports (AQR); and Dialogue Meetings. The CINNTE review cycle runs from 2017-2024. During this period, QQI has been organising and overseeing independent reviews of each of the universities, technological universities, and institutes of technology.