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Effective arrangements in place at the University of Edinburgh, according to independent quality experts

Date: July 16 - 2021

The University of Edinburgh has ‘effective arrangements for managing academic standards and the student learning experience’, according to a review conducted by QAA, the UK’s independent higher education quality body. The review commended the University’s achievements in several areas including student partnership and the support provided by its Institute for Academic Development in support of teaching, learning and researcher development.

The review was undertaken by a team of six independent reviewers, who were appointed by QAA. The review took place through a Planning Visit in February 2021, followed by a Review Visit in March 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the review was postponed from Autumn 2020. Its commendations included the following areas:

  • The University’s commitment to working in close partnership with the student body is exemplified by student involvement across all decision-making structures and university initiatives.
  • The University’s Institute for Academic Development (IAD) provides responsive, reflective and proactive university-level support for teaching, learning and researcher development and is valued by staff and students.
  • The promotion and expansion of the Student Association-led and University supported Peer Assisted Learning Schemes (PALS) have contributed to the integration of students as they join the University.
  • The University operates a highly professionalised approach to supporting the recruitment, selection and training of students to effectively contribute to the University’s Institutional Periodic Review (IPR) process.

The University of Edinburgh was founded in 1583 and is one of Scotland’s four ancient universities, occupying an estate of more than 250 buildings organised in five main campuses spread across Edinburgh. The University describes itself as a large and diverse research-intensive University, and has collaborative agreements leading to a joint University of Edinburgh qualification with 55 international institutions and seven UK institutions.

Professor Tina Harrison, Assistant Principal, Academic Standards and Quality Assurance, said:

‘I’m delighted with the outcome of the ELIR, that re-confirms our effectiveness in maintaining academic standards, commends our positive partnership with our students, and highlights the outstanding work of our Institute for Academic Development.

‘The review process provided an important opportunity for University-wide reflection and, with the expert input from the review team, we have a clear plan for further development and enhancement of the learning experience for our students.’

QAA’s report also makes a number of recommendations, asking the University of Edinburgh to:

  • establish a systematic approach to enable effective institutional oversight and evaluation of the implementation of policy and practice
  • develop an effective approach to the strategic leadership and management of change that will ensure more immediate and timely implementation of identified solutions in order to support staff and enhance the student experience
  • prioritise the development of a holistic and strategic approach to the design and management of assessment and feedback.

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