Teaching & Learning


UCL performs well in Quality Assurance Agency review

13 July 2016

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Higher Education Review of UCL took place between 9-12 May 2016.

University street

The QAA review team makes judgments on our academic standards, the information we give our students and the quality and enhancement of our students’ learning opportunities. The team also makes recommendations, identifies areas of good practice and affirms actions being taken or planned.

The outcome was a positive one for UCL. We were given a clean bill of health, passing all judgments with room to spare. There were only two recommendations. These were that by December 2016, we should:

  • ensure consistent implementation of the policy for Student Staff Consultative Committees
  • promote greater awareness of, and signposting to, the complaints policy

The review team identified the following features of good practice:

  • The clearly articulated approach to embedding research-based learning in all programmes through the Connected Curriculum initiative
  • The engagement of students as partners in UCL ChangeMakers investigative projects to develop innovative approaches that enhance the quality of their learning opportunities
  • The single, institution-wide framework provided by the Doctoral School for facilitating and promoting the quality of the postgraduate research environment

The QAA review team affirmed the following actions that UCL is already taking to make academic standards secure and/or improve the educational provision offered to its students.

  • The steps being taken to develop and implement positively defined learning outcomes for interim/exit awards
  • The steps being taken to develop, implement and monitor a more responsive and integrated model for personal tutoring
  • The steps being taken to develop a teaching estate that is fit for purpose
  • The steps being taken to identify and address persistent assessment and feedback issues through the Annual Student Experience Review

Two Task and Finish Groups – the HER Strategy Group and HER Operations Group played a key role in supporting the Director of Academic Services, Derfel Owen, with his preparations for the Review, particularly in assisting the drafting of the Self-Evaluation Document which went to the QAA, and in identifying areas for action. I would like to take this opportunity to express sincere thanks to him, to his team in Academic Services and to these two Groups for their contribution to the HER.

I would finally like to thank everyone who gave up their time to participate in the review process itself and whose comprehensive and knowledgeable responses to the Review Team’s questions have produced this positive outcome.

We received the full draft QAA report on 23 June 2016 and we have been invited to make corrections to any matters of factual error by 14 July 2016.

The final report will be published on 4 August 2016 on the QAA website. We will then have until 13 October 2016 to produce and publish an action plan responding to the recommendations, affirmations and good practice outlined in the report.

Professor Anthony Smith

Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs)