RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences successfully completes quality review


RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences (RCSI) has successfully completed an institution-wide review as part of quality checks conducted by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the state agency responsible for ensuring that the quality of further education and training, and higher education providers.  

An independent team of national and international experts completed a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the internal quality assurance system of the university, recognising instances of good practice which deliver impact for students and staff, 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 recognised for its activities in a number of areas including:  

  • the way in which RCSI leverages the benefits of the small size and flat structure to facilitate effective communications between stakeholders 
  • the successful implementation of Practique and Kaizen platforms for closing the assessment loop in dynamic fashion 
  • the value of the Professional Development Planning process and access to learning and development opportunities for staff 
  • the approach to curriculum design which places emphasis on enabling diverse teaching and learning approaches, incorporating students as co-creators and active stakeholders in the design process through the StEP (Student Engagement and Partnership) programme 
  • the range and accessibility of support provided for students across programmes and locations 

The review team also made recommendations for improvements by the institution: 

  • that it should make more effective and visible use of data to underpin decision-making 
  • that it should reassess the sequencing of clinical placements and simulation sessions, ensuring that students first benefit from the comprehensive preparation offered by simulation experiences prior to embarking on clinical rotations 
  • that it should ensure that postgraduate research students have accessed the induction processes in a timely manner 
  • that it strengthens its personal tutoring model, ensuring a consistent level of support at all levels for students throughout their academic journeys 
  • that it formalises training for all research supervisors to ensure they have full understanding of their role and responsibilities. 

Speaking on the publication of the report, Professor Ann Griffin, Deputy Director of University College London (UCL) Medical School, who chaired the RCSI review team said,  

Strategically driven and student focused: the review panel were enormously impressed by the strong sense of a shared institutional ambition and a student-centred ethos, which was articulated by all those we met on the visit. The review team observed approaches to quality assurance and enhancement that were engrained within the organisation and across its partners, both local and global. Accessible leadership, an ethos of valuing staff, and students as active agents in their own learning stood out as key ingredients in RCSI’s success. Like all critically minded and reflective organisations our report supports the developments RCSI has already embarked on and hopes that our assessment allows them to take these forwards with greater reassurance. The review panel would like to thank colleagues at RSCI for their constructive and wholehearted engagement with the review process.’ 

Responding to the publication of the report, Professor Cathal Kelly, RCSI Vice-Chancellor, CEO/Registrar said,   

“RCSI welcomes the publication of our Cinnte Review Report, which provides valuable external validation of the importance and prioritisation of quality at the university. We are pleased that the Review Team recognised our deep commitment to delivering high-quality education, and commended our commitment to fostering inclusivity and diversity, our student engagement and our facilities and student supports. We thank the Review Team for sharing their insights and expertise, and appreciate the alignment of many of the Review Team findings with the strategic direction charted for RCSI.” 

Dr Padraig Walsh, QQI CEO commended RCSI on its engagement with the Cinnte review process,  

“QQI's Cinnte review cycle plays a crucial role in ensuring and overseeing the quality of higher education in Ireland. We welcome the findings of the expert panel which highlights commendable achievements by RCSI in its innovative assessment practices and student engagement. Equally, the report outlines recommendations which will further help RCSI to further strengthen its education offerings and continue to deliver high-quality outcomes for all its students.” 

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, having been extended by a year to include four newly established technological universities. During this period, QQI has been organising and overseeing independent reviews of each of the universities, technological universities and institutes of technology.