Our final meeting of 2021-22 took place on 16 June. Kathryn O’Loan from the Scottish Funding Council provided an update on progress and next steps relating to future quality arrangements in Scotland.
The Quality Forum (TQF) is a sector-led group with a flexible remit and membership. Its purpose is to provide support to members on policy and practice in areas of mutual interest broadly relating to quality in learning and teaching, allowing expertise to be shared and developed. TQF also provides an important voice for Scottish higher education institutions in UK-wide discussions, with links to the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee (SHEEC), Quality Arrangements for Scottish Higher Education (QASHE), and the Quality Strategy Network.
TQF was originally established in the 1990s as a space in which quality professionals from Scottish higher education institutions could share practice relating to the Teaching Quality Assessment process in place at that time. Its remit quickly broadened to include wider matters of sector interest in quality assurance and enhancement. Established by the sector for the sector, administrative support for TQF has previously been provided by the University of Edinburgh, Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals (CoSHEP - the predecessor to Universities Scotland), and Universities Scotland, and is now provided by QAA Scotland.
The Convener chairs meetings and acts as the voice of TQF, having a number of ex officio positions on other bodies such as SHEEC and QASHE. The Vice Convener provides support for the Convener. Both are nominated and elected by TQF membership and serve a two-year term of office, with the possibility of this being extended for one further two-year term.
Erica is currently Director of Quality & Academic Standards at the University of Dundee and is passionate about supporting staff and students to enhance the student experience. Erica’s career began when she became a student representative at Queen Margaret University, where she also spent a year as President of the Students’ Union. Having been firmly bitten by the higher education bug Erica worked with sparqs developing and delivering training in both FE and HE contexts before moving to London and taking up a new challenge in programme management. Erica worked with a variety of post-graduate business programmes over nearly ten years in London before she returned to Scotland, joining the University of Stirling’s Academic Registry team as Head of Academic Quality & Governance.
TQF usually holds three meetings each academic year, usually in October, March and June. Where these meetings take place in person, they are hosted by member institutions.
Meetings are divided into two parts. The first part, open to senior quality professionals, includes updates on sector-wide developments, and short updates from sector agencies including the Scottish Funding Council, sparqs (Student Partnerships in Quality Scotland), and QAA Scotland.
The second part of each meeting is open to all staff in centralised quality units at Scottish institutions, and includes discussions of institutional practice and ‘hot topics’, using breakout groups where appropriate. Agenda items are suggested and led by members. On occasion, colleagues from outside the Scottish sector are invited to present to TQF, providing members with fresh perspectives.
We welcome suggestions for agenda items, particularly relating to institutional practice. If you have a topic that you think would benefit from discussion at TQF, please join our Yammer network or email ARCadmin@qaa.ac.uk.
As of academic session 2019-20, we produce a short bulletin after each meeting. This is in place of a formal minute, reflecting the informal nature of the group and the openness of discussion.
We have also established a Yammer network to help identify agenda items and facilitate discussion in between meetings. This network is open to anyone with an interest in teaching quality at Scottish institutions. If you would like to join, please visit the TQF Yammer network and send us a request.