Supporting the Educational Enhancement Process
Why this is important
The University needs to assure itself and others that the quality and standards of its educational provision are being maintained and enhanced. The Educational Enhancement Process (EEP) is part of an integrated internal quality enhancement and review process whereby modules are reviewed after they are taught, degree programmes are reviewed every year and subjects are reviewed every six years. EEP is concerned with objectively reviewing a School’s (or in some cases, a subject area’s) current educational offering and enhancing its future provision. EEP is managed by Academic Affairs in partnership with the School. The EEP Handbook explains the process.
The Centre for Educational Development (CED) works closely with Schools to support them through the review in an effort to identify issues of concern and to disseminate good practice highlighted by the process.
This page describes how CED supports Schools and subjects undergoing EEP.
The Preliminary Meeting
Schools are advised to start preparations four months in advance of the visit and are invited by Academic Affairs to hold a preliminary meeting to discuss their plans. CED offers help with the drafting of the School’s Reflective Statement, collation of School-related data etc.
Most of the documentation required for EEP is already held in Schools; the only document to be written specifically for the review is the Reflective Statement, in which the School reflects on achievements and current practice and sets out its plans for the future. The School is encouraged to highlight any areas of concern and issues that it would like the panel to consider. CED is available to review and comment on a School’s Reflective Statement at any stage of the drafting process and can help with the provision of data related to the student experience and participation in staff development activities that have been organised by CED.
Annual themes for EEP are approved by the University’s Education Committee and the School is advised of these at the Preliminary Meeting. They provide a focus for the review and reflect institutional priorities. Recent examples include transition, assessment and feedback. CED helps Schools to collate evidence of how they have engaged with themes and to embed this information in their Reflective Statements.
The EEP Visit
The visit lasts two days, starting with an initial private meeting to consider documentation and lines of enquiry and ends with a final meeting to agree feedback to the School and plan the Panel’s report. The Panel also has a number of meetings with students, staff and other stakeholders such as alumni, graduate employers and representatives of professional and statutory regulatory bodies in the case of vocational, accredited degrees. The Panel does not review student work, nor does it consider detailed information on every module offered by the School.
Each Panel is chaired by an academic of at least Senior Lecturer level. Panels also include the School Manager, two academics from other Schools in Queen’s, one external member from a comparable academic department in another UK university who is nominated by the Head of School (the external member may be a representative from a professional body that accredits the School’s programmes – such input avoids duplication of effort and adds value to the process) and at least one student from the School’s Staff Student Consultative Committee(s) (SSCC). All Panel members are briefed by Academic Affairs. The external member receives information on the University and EEP.
The EEP Report
The Panel’s report summarises any issues or themes raised by the University during EEP and presents findings relating to the overall operation of quality procedures, the student experience and quality enhancement. It may identify gaps in current practice and recommend that enhancement should be considered, but it will also commend good practice that merits wider dissemination.
After the EEP Visit
The Report is considered by the appropriate School Committee and an Action Plan agreed with the School. The Report and Action Plan are reviewed by a Sub-Group of the University’s Education Committee. CED helps Schools to implement actions required to address recommendations relating to both staff and students – this may be the provision of bespoke staff development events, help to implement initiatives related to learning and teaching, advice on models of good practice in other Schools, or signposting support for student development from the Learning Development Service and other sources of specialist help.
CED offers dissemination opportunities for good practice that has been highlighted – a range of mechanisms is available: the Education Committee, Directors of Education meetings, lunchtime forums, or the production of an article for ‘Reflections’. A Milestone Meeting takes place one year after the visit to discuss follow up actions taken in response to the Panel’s Report when the School, the University and CED clarify how they have implemented the Action Plan.
University definition of quality enhancement: ‘Quality enhancement is the successful outcome of systematic consideration of the quality of the student educational experience which identifies opportunities for improvement and acts upon them’.
QAA web pages on Subject Benchmark Statements
Higher Education Academy web pages on enhancement
Linda Ryles, Centre for Educational Development: email@example.com or extension 1343