May 31, 2017 | Newbold College of Higher Education recently underwent its quadrennial Higher Education Review by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), the body appointed by the government to assure the quality of higher education provision throughout the UK.
A new framework put into place by the QAA since the College's last full review in 2012 meant that Newbold was measured against the same criteria that apply to large state-funded providers – and the results were gratifying. The College was found to meet every Expectation of the Quality Code for Higher Education, receiving, with only one minor exception, the lowest possible category of risk for each.
A reading of the QAA reports of state-funded universities shows that Newbold has outperformed some much larger institutions, many with teams dedicated to ensuring that QAA requirements are met – a huge accolade for the College.
Because the College does not receive government funding, Newbold was additionally subject to a Financial Sustainability, Management and Governance check. The College again received positive affirmation.
The full report, which was formulated following a three-day visit in February by four QAA reviewers, was made public in May and reflects intensive discussions with staff and students and a detailed exploration of the College’s robust self-evaluation document including over 300 annexes.
The QAA noted that the College met UK standards in the four key areas, namely:
- the maintenance of the academic standards of the awards offered on behalf of its degree-awarding bodies
- the quality of student learning opportunities
- the quality of its information about learning opportunities; and
- the enhancement of student learning opportunities.
In particular, the QAA review team affirmed the following actions which the College is currently taking towards making academic standards even more secure and improving the educational provision offered to its students:
- the steps being taken to ensure that the development of new programs follows a robust and systematic approval process
- the steps being taken to develop an enhancement policy, and to explicitly embed enhancement in the strategic framework of the College; and
- the establishment of a new strategy group with a focus on enhancement that includes staff and governors.
The College was also commended for its comprehensive approach to identifying, analyzing and meeting the learning resource needs of students.
The manager of the review team was particularly complimentary about Newbold's overall support of the review process and the willing cooperation of the staff and students who participated in discussions with the panel.
In these days of intense regulation and accountability, the result of this review is particularly pleasing for the College and for the many alumni, church members and friends who support Newbold’s vision and values. The full report can be accessed at www.qaa.ac.uk.
The QAA evaluation stands alongside an equally vigorous process organized by the Adventist Accrediting Association. This fully ensures that as well as high academic excellence, students also discover solid spiritual values within an Adventist ethos and can transfer credits to and from other Adventist colleges and universities.
This story was written by John Baildam and originally published by the TED News Network.
Image Credit: adventist.org.uk.
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